All right, we're finally going to see an attempt at Soul Calibur fanfiction from me. Here's hoping it turns out well; if I like the first couple chapters enough, I'll make it a longterm project.
You'll have to forgive me if people seem a bit OOC. I decided to call this "Slightly Alternate-Universe" due to the fact that if everybody stays completely in character, it's not nearly as easy to satire. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own Soul Calibur. Namco does. I wish I did, because then I'd be rich.
Chapter One: The Cypress Tree In The Courtyard
The Adrian was many things, but a passenger ship was most certainly not one of them, Cervantes de Leon knew. It was a warship of the highest caliber, built to take on navies all over the world head-on and come out smelling like a rose, albeit a rose that smelt of rot and sepulchers. People all around the world quaked at the thought of the ghost ship and its equally terrifying captain, for they knew what the Adrian's passage would mean: cities ravaged, homes burned, fortunes looted, women rustled, and cattle raped. Yes, Captain Cervantes was a pirate through and through, one who always enjoyed a good tankard of rum, a lusty barwench, and a rousing song, despite his minor handicap of being a walking corpse. That, and the lusty barwenches were in short order these days; the last time he'd really gotten some was with a sword, and that hadn't turned out well at all…that eye kept watching him the whole time…
"But best not to think of that," he said to himself, repressing the traumatic memories as he turned away from the mizzenmast and looked at the port city they were fast closing in on. Ah, another day, another slew of victims, and he'd come just a little closer to getting his sword back…but Cervantes wasn't really thinking about that right now. After all, it was three in the morning (he'd been taught by his father, the legendary Captain Chalupa de Leon, to always attack in the dead of night, so that you could catch the city off guard, and also laugh when the militia came rushing out in their pajamas), and they'd been sailing all day. His eyes felt strained from looking through his telescope, and his knees were absolutely killing him, probably because they were starting to decay. He'd have to get some fresh souls to re-form himself soon.
A ghostly deck mate approached him from behind, probably bringing some kind of news or requesting orders. Cervantes considered "aaaahhhrrr"-ing at him and telling him to go and keelhaul himself, but he couldn't let his stress get in the way of his job. There was work to be done on this little town, and he was just the salty dog for the task.
Yoshimitsu of the Manji Clan was many things: enigmatic, chivalrous, valiant, and wise amongst them. But predominantly, he was pretty embarrassed right now. He was currently sitting out on the docks of Venice, Italy, musing on how the hell he was going to get out of the city now that he'd done what he came there to do. A sigh escaped his lips as he stroked his chin with his wooden arm and mused on what had gone wrong.
The heist had gone off well enough; that much was a certainty. The Money Pit had been left strangely unguarded besides the usual assortment of traps, and those were nothing a technical wizard like Yoshimitsu couldn't handle. While he couldn't quite shake the feeling of uneasiness that the pit's legendary guardian had been simply hiding in the shadows and waiting for a chance to strike, he hadn't been accosted even when he left with four well-stuffed bags of gold (marked with a large, green dollar sign) over his shoulder. And so it was that Yoshimitsu had headed back to his ship here at the docks of Venice, thoroughly prepared to head back to his home base at Mt. Fuji and distribute the wealth to the poor…
….until he'd met Olcadan.
God damn that Olcadan straight to Hell. When he'd met the old man on the docks a couple hours ago, he'd seemed innocuous enough. How was Yoshimitsu to know he was a celebrity? Granted, the whole "large, snowy white owl head" thing should've tipped him off that at least a couple people might know who the guy was, but in a world where azure-armored mutants rampaged through entire cities with nothing but a sword and Olympian statues regularly came to life and attacked people, having the head of an owl wasn't THAT special. And so he hadn't exactly taken Olcadan seriously.
Seventeen "O RLY?" jokes later, the infuriated owl-man had sunk Yoshimitsu's yacht with a well-placed swipe from his axe, dove off the pier, and swum off into the sunset with triumph in his eye and a curse on his lips. Or beak, rather. And now the leader of the Manji clan was, to his utter chagrin, stranded in Venice with no way back to Mt. Fuji, four heavy sacks of loot to drag around, and no ships at the docks that he could buy passage on. At least there weren't any worries about the authorities coming after him, seeing as how he'd stolen property that technically didn't belong to anybody anymore, and besides, the theft had been undetected by the Venetians. Therefore, with a little while in which to create an itinerary, and no strict time limit (although he'd prefer to get back to the base soon), Yoshimitsu had made a critical decision.
He was going to have to hitchhike.
As the Adrian sailed into the Venetian port, crashing headlong into the side of the pier, a whole horde of ghastly undead leapt from the deck onto the docks, bristling with weapons and dripping protoplasmic saliva from their jaws. Cervantes himself stood at the bow of the ship, and waved Nirvana and the Soul Edge about in the air in the heat of the moment. "Ahhhhrrrrr!" he roared in that certain twang only a pirate can accomplish. "Let Venice know true terror this eve! Plunder, my minions, and if anybody gets in your way…"
The Soul Edge glowed fiercely as Cervantes thrust it in front of him, stabbing at an invisible adversary.
"Then put them to the sword!"
A cheer went up from the revenants and ghouls, and they charged forth into the city, forcing their way into houses and places of business; several fires were already starting to burn in the city. The captain grinned, pleased with himself, and sheathed Soul Edge and Nirvana as he strode down the gangplank to the pier to watch the chaos his men were wreaking on Venice. Yes, truly, this was a good day, and after they'd gotten done carrying the loot and the prisoners back to the Adrian, he'd head down to the bar, absorb a couple souls into the sword, and down as much ale and rum as he could hold before his back teeth became afloat. With a little luck, the crew would leave behind a couple of the saucy tavern lasses for him to ogle and make generically sexist comments at; he'd ordered them to leave a couple behind, but mindless undead could never be trusted. Some said that mindless undead owed that quality to being mindless, but Cervantes subscribed to the notion that it was their inner method of expressing their rebellion towards the necromantic society that had not only made them ghouls in a social, outcast sense, but in a literal one as well, a corporeal prison from which their tortured souls could never escaped.
Or so the Madrid Journal Of Undeath said. And Cervantes was inclined to believe the experts on scientific matters.
He looked to the other end of the pier and noticed something most curious. There was an armored man quietly sitting in the lotus position against a railing. He looked like an oni, or some kind of undead, at first glance, but he was assuredly not one of the crew; Cervantes's men were wholly Spanish. The captain approached this stranger, and Soul Edge thrummed on his back with a warm glow. It'd seem this was no undead or demon, but a living man, albeit a most curious one. And logically, if every living man was terrified of Cervantes de Leon…then why was this one not running? Clearly, he was so ensconced in his meditations that he didn't realize what was going on around him. Well, the Terror of the High Seas would soon fix that. He stepped forward and addressed the bizarre Japanese man. "Ho, there, stranger! Cease your meditations and gaze upon greatness!"
There was no answer. Cervantes fumed.
"I said HO THERE! Respond, you scurvy cur, or feel the bittersweet taste of steel and despair, with a dash of paprika!"
His shouting apparently roused the man, whose head suddenly jerked upright. "Eh? Wha-huh? Sorry, I must've fallen asleep; what'd you say?"
This only served to further infuriate the captain. Who was this fool, who would DARE to deliberately doze during the descent of his death-dealing doom-dwellers? "Who are you, stranger?"
"Who am I?" responded the strange man…or WAS he, in fact, a man? Cervantes now noticed that his right arm seemed to be made entirely out of wood, and it appeared that his mask had been affixed completely to his skull, perhaps in a tragic carpentry accident. His voice, too, was bizarre; it sounded like he had the wisdom of many years while maintaining the vigor of youth. "Who are we all, indeed? Who are we other than souls in the wind?"
"What? What is this fallacy?" demanded Cervantes, his eyes wide with bewilderment.
"Fallacy? All is fallacy. Namu-amida-butsu." What? This stranger's mind was on a completely different level from his! How could this be? Cervantes drew Nirvana and gestured with it threateningly. "Come now, you!" he demanded. "Why do you speak the way you do?"
The response he got absolutely blew his mind: "The cypress tree in the courtyard."
Having never heard of Buddhist koans, Cervantes was astonished. He had never been face to face with anything like this before. This man was strange…he was unnaturally calm in the face of terror such as the great Cervantes de Leon…he was clearly old and wise, but still as vigorous and powerful as a young man…he spoke in riddles that it would clearly take an intelligence beyond Cervantes's to comprehend…and he had been involved in a tragic carpentry accident.
Cervantes de Leon, who had been raised as devout a Catholic as any Spaniard was in his childhood, could come to only one jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring conclusion.
Clearly, this man was Jesus.
Under his mask-face-thing, Yoshimitsu smiled to himself. As one schooled in the ways of the Buddha, he had produced the proper koan for the proper question. Soon, yes, very soon, he would be on his way to Zen Master if he kept this up.
His train of thought was interrupted by a source of great amazement, though: the pirate captain in front of him had taken off his stylish hat, and was currently making a bow of obeisance and respect. Yoshimitsu was even more pleased now. His answer had been so good, he had actually enlightened this pirate! The Manji's resident Zen Master would be thrilled with him for this. He stood and placed a hand on his pupil's shoulder, intending to continue his ministrations. "Ahh, no need for such obeisances, Captain. I exist only to spread the knowledge of—"
"Say no more, Jesus!" interrupted his new acquaintance. "You need not justify your actions to humans such as us."
Yoshimitsu scratched his head, puzzled. What the hell was a Jesus? It took several seconds for his mind to process all the different possibilities, but finally, he hit on it. The Manji leader concluded, from the reverent manner in which the man was conducting himself, that it must be some form of high honorific title. His semi-clockwork heart was warmed at the unwarranted gratitude of the pirate, and he thrust a hand forward on the spur of the moment. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Captain…?"
"Cervantes de Leon!" boomed the menacing revenant as he heartily shook Yoshimitsu's hand. "Terror of the Seven Seas! As you can see, my crew and I are in the process of raiding this port town. I'm glad they passed you over in their haste to pillage the city; I can only guess at my embarrassment if I'd had to answer for my men attacking Jesus."
It certainly was an odd title.
"It is quite all right," assured the mechanized shogun. "I can take care of myself." He diverted the topic at hand, though, as he had his own interests to take care of. "So, Captain Cervantes…you have a ship, do you not?"
In response, Cervantes turned and gestured at the Adrian, semi-beached on the wreckage of the other end of the pier. "My ship, the Adrian. Fastest ship in all the seven seas, and powered by the winds of Hell itself! She's the pride and joy of my ghostly fleet."
"Well, it just so happens…" Yoshimitsu indicated the four sacks of gold next to his resting place on the pier, "…that I need some transportation across the sea. My ship was sunk a couple hours ago, to my great dismay, and I notice you've got a very nice ship…"
The captain caught the hint easily enough. "Ahhh," he said with a knowing glint in his sea-leathered eyes, "so you're in need of a ride, eh? Well, never fear, Jesus. I was raised a good Catholic before I turned to piracy, and I'd be glad to help you get to wherever it is you're going. I wouldn't even accept passengers otherwise, and if I did I'd charge them, but for you, I'll make an exception."
Yoshimitsu wasn't sure what Cervantes's religion had to do with anything, but hey, the man was offering a free ride. Who was he to refuse? "Well met, then!" he exclaimed, clapping the pirate on the shoulder again. "I thank you for your generosity, sir. Let us leave this place when your men are done, and sail for Mount Fuji, in the snowy mountains of Japan."
Wherever Japan was, Cervantes figured he could get there easily enough. "All right then! Let me help you with your things, and we'll set sail in the morning."
Indeed, the sails of the Adrian billowed out at dawn the very next morning, and the ship sailed out of the harbor into the Atlantic Ocean. The directions Yoshimitsu had given Cervantes were a bit…unusual, he thought as he stood on the poop deck and looked over his map of the world…and they certain did go through a lot of places marked HEAR YE, HEAR YE, HERE THERE BE MONSTERS, but hey…he was Cervantes de Leon. The dread captain of the Adrian, wielder of the Soul Edge, and commander of the cursed legion.
And with Jesus on his side, nothing would stop him.
Well, that's all for Chapter One. Chapter Two will be up hopefully within a couple weeks. Hope you like it so far.