Hello once again, this is preceptormyth101. Well I've been thinking about how many chapters I should put in this story. Well I guess it will come to me. So I hope you enjoy this chapter and always R&R!
Also I forgot to mention. I've been redoing some of the chapters, not enough to make much of a difference to the story mind you, but it does changes some perspective. So please read it again. I've gotten to Ch.7 so far, but I plan to redo the rest later.
Chapter 18: To Free the Riders
"What do you mean that Oranos has been captured?" Jura inquired, surprised though he did not show it in his face.
"Warchief Oranos was visiting his tribe when the shinigami ambushed the whole village. They held his whole village hostage. Warchief Oranos is strong but he can't be everywhere at once. They were outnumbered and undermanned." Horus shook his head in amazement.
"So the rumors were true. The shinigami have no honor between their legs," Horus commented amazed at the gall of the shinigami to even try such a cowardly maneuver.
The messenger ignored the comment. "Please my lords, I beg of you to help get Warchief Oranos." The messenger got down to his knees and put his head on the ground as he groveled for help.
Jura sheathed his zanpakuto, thinking about what the man said. "Maybe, well." Jura looked at the groveling messenger with a glint of amusement in his eyes. "Sure why not." The messenger rose his face was lit with happiness. The messenger crawled on his hands and knees and kissed Jura's foot.
"Thank you my lord," the messenger said in between kisses. Jura grinned as he put his other foot out to be kissed. Someone coughed behind him.
"My lord, I believe that we should get going instead of being kissed on the foot," Thoth reminded him. Thoth and Joan stood side by side with knapsacks on their backs. Presumably it carried their supplies.
"Quite right, Thoth." Jura pulled the kissing messenger to his feet. "Now my dear lad, take us to Oranos."
The messenger had an apologetic look on his face. "I'm sorry my lord but we must take a detour before we can save Warchief Oranos." The messenger mounted his horse as he waited for Jura's answer.
Jura nodded. The four of them were about to leave when Horus asked behind them, "What about me?" They all turned to face him. Joan motioned for them to go on ahead. They complied though Jura imitated kissing at her which caused her to throw a rock at him. He deftly dodged it, only to fall in the hands of Thoth who carried him away.
Joan walked up to Horus. "You are the heir to Isis' faction. It is your duty and privilege to work with us to the best of your ability and right now your best ability is strategizing not combat." Joan turned; her hair flowed to her shoulders, and walked away. "So leave it to the professionals."
"Joan!" Joan turned around. Horus saluted her. Joan smiled sadly and copied the salute. "If I can hold this pass will you see me in a different light?" Horus inquired.
"When I finally thought he grew up he just went lower." "Yeah, maybe." Joan shunpoed to catch up with the other three.
Horus wiped the sweat off his brow. He turned to look at the audience. "Back to your posts," he ordered sharply. The audience scurried away like a bunch of mice running away from a large predator. Sekhmet brought a towel to Horus. He thanked her. Taking the towel, Horus wipped his sweat-ridden face and walked toward the newly won gate.
"Prince Horus!" a thrall cried as she ran toward them. She had blood painted on her face and arms.
"What is it?" Horus asked annoyed at the sudden disturbance of a thrall.
"The enemy," the thrall panted out. "The shinigami are back! They move to take the gate!"
Horus' face paled. "Get all the slaves moving! Summon the thralls! Get the Guardians of the Sun if you have to! Get the entire camp moving, we must not let this gate fall!"
Jura looked down from the cliff. There were hundreds of small villages scattered among the plains, though they all circled around a large one. Shinigami patrolled the village in a circle, leaving the other smaller villages alone.
"Warlord Jura," the messenger called from the ground. Jura looked down at the fifty-foot drop. "Please hurry. We have no time to dawdle."
"My lord, though the messenger is right, we can't take on all those shinigami in the village," Joan protested from behind him. "With a lack of reinforcement, I'm afraid that Warlord Oranos' life would be in peril as will the men and women who follow him."
"Thoth how many shinigami would you say there are in the village?" Jura asked as he ignored Joan's protest.
Behind Jura, Thoth whispered to a small sphinx. After a minute or so the sphinx flew into the air and circled over the village. Thoth's eyes glazed over as he went into a trance. Anytime a sphinx is moving he could take over its body with his mind. Unfortunately it leaves his regular body wide open to attack. It took Thoth about a minute to survey the village before returning to his own body.
"There are about three hundred pawns, maybe a bishop and knight here and there, but they have a rook or queen level around here," Thoth reported. "My guess, the former."
"Well, well, do you guys think we can take them on?" Jura asked as he jumped from the cliff. Joan and Thoth followed his example. They landed lightly on the ground.
"This isn't our fight my lord. We can help them, but to liberate Warlord Oranos completely is only done by his people," Thoth answered as he turned his zanpakuto into his book. He flipped it open and turned to a page where a there was a picture of riders. "You know their way. It has always been a group of Chiefs from each village. They decide what the course of action should be. But at times of warfare they chose a Warchief to lead them all into battle. Unfortunately if the Warchief gets captured or loses a serious conflict, they must select another one. So we can save Warlord Oranos but the people must also back him up on his position as Warchief." Thoth flipped to a different page, his part done, and began to review other facts unknown to Jura.
"Alright, alright, I get it Thoth." Jura put his hands on the sides of his head. His face showed that he was in much pain from the lesson. He didn't bother looking to the messenger when he asked, "So about that detour?"
The messenger perked up. "Yes of course right this way my lords." The messenger kicked his horse into a gallop. The three of them shunpoed after him. Jura watched amazed as the horse could keep up and hold its lead on them even when they shunpoed.
They soon came upon one of the smaller villages. The village held twenty longhouses. A longhouse was a house in general except that it was all one room and was generally much longer in length and width than a normal house. Villagers bustled about as they went on their daily lives. The men wore only pants. They didn't wear shirts for shirts were only for rich men or warriors who were on duty. The women wore cloth around their breasts and leather pants.
"This is quite odd. They don't seem to care that the Warchief is imprisoned in the nearby village or maybe there just ignorant," Joan noted. A villager woman passed them by. She turned to greet them with a warm smile but it suddenly faded. She screamed at the top of her lungs and ran away. Joan and Thoth looked at Jura who waved his hands in front of him.
"Don't look at me. I never met a woman who screamed at my face…well actually there was one in Soul Society, then at my house, then at the plains..." Jura went on, listing the girls who had screamed at him before. While he talked ten guards ran toward where the woman screamed, wondering what the commotion was about. They were all clad in leather breastplates and leather pants. Many of them carried javelins and sabers. Seeing Jura and his party they charged toward them. Each one of them had their saber unsheathe and pointed at the four travelers. The guide jumped off from his horse. He then unsheathed his saber and joined them.
"I'm sorry my lords, but you must die." The messenger lunged at Jura. Jura sidestepped the attack and kicked the messenger's sword away. The messenger jumped backwards and brought out a javelin.
"Thoth, take care of these traitors, Joan come with me." They both nodded. Jura shunpoed away from the battle followed by Joan. Thoth fixed his glasses as he opened up his book. The warriors charged at Thoth. Fools.
Jura and Joan shunpoed away from the battle. They could already here the dying screams of the warriors. "Thoth doesn't beat around the bush very much does he?" Jura asked, amused from the lack of mercy Thoth had for his opponents.
Joan nodded in response. They shunpoed in front a very large longhouse. It was basically a longhouse stacked on another longhouse. Two guards were in the front with javelins by their sides. They immediately raised them as they saw the two renegades. Joan dispatched them with two sword thrusts to the neck. They crumbled to the ground. "Almost too easy." Jura walked into the longhouse. He felt a sword press against his neck from the side. He looked at the room. Inside were about twenty men each armed with a saber. In the back was a man on a chair with a large table with food. The man was almost as tall as Theseus but not as broad. On his back was a large halberd with a blood red hilt. The halberd was almost as tall as Jura was.
"So the rabbit has come to the fox this time." The man got up and walked toward Jura. His own men followed his lead.
"My, my, a fox lair, I thought I was coming into a nursery," Jura countered, unconcerned with the blade against his neck. The fighter holding the sword against Jura's neck pulled back, about to give the finishing blow to Jura, but the leader stopped him by catching his hand.
"I'll admit that was rude of me and the welcoming party wasn't very warm, but come sit with us we are all friends." The leader let go of his subordinate's hand and motioned for Jura to sit around the rectangular table. Jura was about to go in when Joan shunpoed in front of him.
"I'm going first my lord. If anything happens you run for it," Joan whispered to Jura. Jura smiled and shrugged. Joan walked cautiously toward the table, once in a while checking for traps or hidden caches of poison. Jura followed close behind grinning at every rider he saw. They both sat down on small cushions. The leader of the riders sat across from them two of his men behind him. He brought out a flask from his cape and took a hearty drink from it.
The leader sighed contented. "I believe we haven't exchanged introductions yet." The leader got to his feet. "I am Atlas the leader of the Wind Riders!" The men around cheered the name of their tribe.
"My, my, the Wind Riders…who are the Wind Riders, Thoth?" The riders jumped as they saw Thoth appear next to Jura with his book in his hand. Thoth fixed his glasses and opened the book. He scanned a page.
"Wind Riders the arch-enemy to the Void Riders. The Void Riders is where Warlord Oranos comes from. Right after the Void Riders the Wind Riders are the strongest of all the other tribes. Their leader Atlas has been known for his deadly use of his halberd earned him the nickname The Hurricane."
"Alright that is well and all but I only need to know why you haven't help Oranos yet." Atlas bristled at the name. The other riders spitted on the ground in contempt.
"We are the Wind Riders. We look out for only those who are worth being called our allies. Chief Oranos can die in a ditch for all we care." The warriors around Atlas cheered him on.
"My lord, this isn't good." Thoth turned a page in his book. "If a tribe is at war with another even when the Warchief comes from it, they will not heed the Warchief's call. As long as that chief is in command, I'm afraid that we may have to look for allies elsewhere."
"My, my, I guess I'll have to take matters into my own hands." Jura stood up abruptly. The warriors next to him pulled out their sabers. Atlas shot him a curious look.
Jura drew his sword and stabbed it into the table. "I demand the right of the title of Chieftain of the Wind Riders! I challenge Chief Atlas to a duel to the death!" The room fell silent as they waited for Atlas' answer. Atlas closed his eyes in thought.
He opened them up suddenly. "By what grounds?" Atlas asked thinking he got the better of Jura.
Jura took out his other blade. He slammed it into tapestry behind him. It went through a rider that seemed to be made of the wind. All the Wind Riders grunted in surprise of the declaration. When a tribe's symbol was attacked it meant a declaration of war.
"That was a foolish mistake Warlord Jura." Atlas brought out his halberd from his back. "We'll do fight outside." Atlas calmly walked out of the longhouse his men trailing behind him. Thoth beckoned for Jura's ear.
"Watch out for his halberd my lord. There is something odd about how he holds it." Jura nodded, but suddenly he started to cough loudly and quite painfully. He took out his tea cup from his kimono and drank some. He sighed as his coughing went away. Joan snatched the cup away from Jura.
"No Lord Jura you will need your strength," Joan told him as she fended off the pitiful attempts by Jura to get the cup back.
"I want my cup back Joan!" Jura whined childishly, grabbing Joan's arm and reaching for the cup. Joan pushed his head back with her leg. Jura finally calmed down after five minutes. Joan let her guard down for a second, but at that moment Jura jumped on top of her and wrestled for the cup.
"Hello, are you guys taking a dump in there or something?" Atlas hollered from outside, getting impatient from the waiting. Joan finally kicked Jura off and tucked the cup into her kimono.
"No!" Jura wailed pitifully. Thoth watched as the only man he respected turn into a whining spoiled brat. "This is going to be a long day." Thoth sighed as he decided to go out of the tent before the other two.
Joan pulled a sitting Jura to his feet. "I'll give you your cup back after we're done with this match ok?" Jura nodded sadly. Joan, saw him reluctant to go out, dragged him behind her. Tossing a ball of clay, while pouting, he suddenly grinned evilly as the ball of clay turned into a cup with liquid inside.
Atlas was stretching his legs as Joan dragged Jura out of the tent. Two warriors ran to block the entrance while the others created a circle around the combatants. Joan dropped Jura on the ground and placed herself in the circle of warriors. All eyes were on the two combatants.
"Let's get this over with," Jura said as he sipped his cup. Joan's eyes widen as she found the cup she took was missing. Jura unsteadily got to his feet. He hiccupped in a fashion that was anything but somber.
"This is bad," Joan thought as she saw Jura's tea cup fall to the ground. "Theseus forgot to put Lord Jura's regular tea in and instead put in a mixture of sake and gin when we left to help Horus." The one thing Jura couldn't handle was alcohol. Jura smiled goofily as he swayed back and forth.
"Dah, dah, dum, dah, dah, dum," Jura sang off-pitch. Atlas shrugged his shoulders thinking it was some kind of ritual. Atlas rolled his shoulders and took out his halberd.
"Arm, Heka Gigantes!" Atlas sprouted two arms from behind his back, giving him a total of four arms. He smashed the pommel of the halberd to the ground. The halberd bounced back up and produced two halberds of the same size. He grabbed one in both sets of the arms and waited for Jura to attack.
Jura smiled and nodded stupidly. "M-m-old, Prometheus." Jura copied Atlas exact movement. Unfortunately the arms that Jura created couldn't hold the weight of the copy-cat halberd. The two halberds fell to the ground as did the two clay arms holding them.
"Yeah…is this some kind of joke or something?" Atlas asked Joan. Joan slapped her forehead with her hand.
"Hold on a second." Joan walked up to Jura. He smiled dumbly at her. Joan punched him in the gut a few times. Atlas eyes widen as he saw flakes of dullish colors fall to the ground. Joan brought back her arm once more and punched Jura in the gut causing him to fly into two riders. Joan pulled out her zanpakuto as Jura was placed on the ground.
"I'll be your opponent."
Atlas sighed. "I don't care who my opponent is! I just want to go back inside already!" Jura snored loudly as he fell asleep.
"Fly, Valkyrie!" Joan twirled her spear above her head as a warm-up. She then pointed the tip at Atlas as the spear's pommel dropped to her mid-section. "Let us begin then." Joan lunged at Atlas' stomach.
"Boring." Atlas deflected the attack with a twist of his halberd and chopped at Joan's shoulder with the other. Joan spun around the halberd and smashed the pommel of her spear onto Atlas's chest. Atlas grunted and stumbled backwards.
"Damn that was a good shot," Atlas complimented as he coughed out blood. "But let's see how many more of those you can get in." Atlas charged at Joan barraging her with blows from his halberds.
Joan ducked under a halberd and used her spear to parry another. Atlas grinned as he lunged at Joan with the tip of his halberd. Joan jumped backwards in an attempt to dodge the attack, the halberd barely scraping her shoulder. Atlas stepped backwards wondering if he got her or not.
Joan placed a hand over her shoulder. She brought it to her face. Blood stained her hand. "Looks like I don't have to hold back anymore." Joan lifted her spear in front of her. "Bankai, Deliver the Dead, Valkyrie!" Atlas covered his face as light enveloped Joan. Many of the raiders mouthed compliments about Joan zanpakuto's beauty. In the raiders ranks the most beautiful zanpakuto was Oranos's because it couldn't be seen. The others were too grotesque or disturbing such as Atlas's.
"I heard of you from Chief Oranos! Joan the warrior with the most beautiful zanpakuto in the Renegade!" Atlas exclaimed as he stumbled backwards. He had already heard of some of Joan's powers and knew what to look out for.
Joan shrugged off the description and lunged at Atlas with one of her tridents. Atlas tried to grab the trident but Joan pulled it back causing him to stumble forward. Joan kicked him in the chin which caused Atlas to land on his back. "Yield." Atlas felt a trident against his neck. He sighed.
"I yield but that battle was sad. I lost quicker than a bug to an eagle, but I can't just fight against a bankai." Atlas wiped the dust off his leggings as he got up from the ground. Joan sheathed her zanpakuto and took her place beside a still sleeping Jura. "I rather lose than to die though." Atlas's put his halberd behind him and bowed. Instead of bowing in the direction of Jura he bowed towards Joan. Both knees were on the ground as well as his fists. He didn't look at her, but only at the dirt under him.
"We of the Wind Riders now pledge our allegiance to Chief Joan." The raiders bowed to Joan in the same manner. Joan blushed slightly at the attention from all of the people. Thoth gave her an appraising look.
"I forgot to mention about the trial of leadership didn't I," Thoth commented. Joan was about to slap Thoth, but he calmly hid behind Jura. Joan pulled back her hand and growled in frustration.
"So what do I do with these guys then?" Joan pointed at the raiders still bowing their heads. Thoth shrugged helplessly behind Jura.
"Our goal here is complete. We have the men we need to free Warlord Oranos."
"Atlas!" The said head sprang up to face Joan. "How many men do you have?"
"If I summon my allies we can have five-hundred spears here in an hour, maybe more if we had enough time to get everyone."
"Make it fifteen minutes." Atlas paled but nodded. He whispered something to a rider behind him. The rider nodded and ran into a longhouse. He came out with a bull's horn. He blew into it five times in rapid succession. Another horn answered its call. The whole plain was filled with the sound of the horn as they were blown.
"What, what! Did I miss lunch again?" Jura shot up to an upright position.
"At this rate you'll miss the war," Thoth said out loud. Jura pretended to ignore him and went in search for his lunch.
Joan grabbed him by the collar of his kimono as he tried to walk away. "You helped in this mess and you have to help us get out of Lord Jura. Whether you like it or not."
Jura sighed but nodded. Joan sighed in frustration at the immaturity of her leader. If Leto was here, she could have easily looked after Jura, but because she isn't, Joan was starting to get a headache. Atlas tired of bowing walked toward Joan. Atlas looked toward Oranos's village. "We can take it by sunset, but you will still need to have Chief Oranos to be reelected for the Warchief position." Atlas turned toward Joan for a sign of notice. Joan nodded but ignored him as she tried to hold an exploring Jura.
Jura turned around when Thoth tapped his shoulder. Jura could see a small sphinx flying away from them. "I've received a report from Knight Leto. The three-hundred mercenaries you have ordered are on their way to Castle Exile. There have been rumors about a couple of strong squad leaders among them." Jura nodded. Jura was about to say something when all of the sudden five-hundred riders of panting horses appeared in front of them.
The riders were geared with their leather armor and javelins or bows. They sat on their horses in an easy yet trained manner that screamed out born riders. All of them saluted Atlas by raising their javelins and banging it against their breastplates. Atlas shook his head and pointed in Joan's direction. The riders shrugged and saluted in Joan's direction.
"Warlord Jura we are yours to command!" they declared in ragged unison. Atlas slapped his forehead.
"No bumbling morons; Knight Joan is your leader now." The riders fell down in shock. Trying to compose themselves, they milled about from the yelling and quickly if clumsily saluted Joan.
The riders hesitantly and even quietly said, "Knight Joan we are yours to command…" Atlas slapped his head in frustration muttering about putting his men through hellish training. Jura laughed, still slightly buzzed. Joan unnerved by the riders looked toward Thoth.
Thoth opened his book. "Apparently they accept women as leaders unlike the other factions, besides Warlord Isis' obviously. The reason dates back to the early stages of the riders. When a husband came back home he wouldn't argue with his wife who provided a meal and bed. They figured if they kept their women happy they would be happy. So women actually can hold high ranking places such as Chief, but I believe it is forbidden for a woman to be the Warchief, thanks to our Lord's mother, the traitor of the Renegade."
Joan saluted them with the alliance style. "Now what my lord?" Jura smiled.
"Go on be a leader. I will join you guys after you freed Oranos." Jura laid on the floor. The riders gasped as Jura's whole body melted into the ground. "Wake me up when you're finished."
Joan stomped the ground where Jura disappeared in frustration. "Thoth can you get some reinforcements?"
"Already done," Jura grumbled from the ground. Joan felt a large wind current behind her. She turned around to see Kronos walking off from a brown-colored turtle.
"Great him," Atlas muttered as he spat onto the ground in contempt. The other riders did the same. It was not widely known, in fact only Jura and Thoth knew about, that Kronos was a chieftain long ago in the tribes. He later joined the Renegade for a better environment for his child and wife who both died in a fire. Now he owns an orphanage for homeless kids, opened to all children no matter what faction. It was even noted that Kronos would take his own life than take a child's.
"Hello Atlas." Kronos saluted him. "It has been a long time." Atlas charged at Kronos with his halberd. Kronos ducked under Atlas's chop to his head. Atlas growled in frustration and took out his second halberd.
"Traitor! You dare come back to us!" Atlas sent a barrage of halberd chops at Kronos. Kronos smiled warmly as he blocked all of the attacks with ease using his daggers. Atlas jumped backwards and threw his halberd at Kronos. Kronos's eyes darkened.
"Whelp, do you think you can use my own technique against me!" Kronos caught the halberd in midair and wretched it. Atlas fell forward. His other halberd fell to the ground and slowly was dragged by Kronos using Atlas's wire. Kronos took the halberd and planted both of them into the ground. "Nice try though." Kronos reverting back to his usual self.
The riders lifted their javelins. "Don't you even think about it. I fought alongside half of you before and the other half I knew your parents!" The riders looked at one another in fear and even in awe. They lowered their javelins quickly. All of them had heard of Kronos's prowess or had seen it first-handed.
"I'm at a loss here Thoth. Who exactly is Kronos?" Joan looked at Thoth confused. Thoth flipped a page in his book.
"Kronos; long time ago he was a chieftain, but he controlled one-third of the tribes under his iron rule. Though for an unknown reason he left the tribes when war came upon them from another tribe. Later the tribes learned that Kronos had joined the Renegade because of his new-founded child and wife. They have never completely forgiven him for his betrayal." Thoth turned the page to a different topic in boredom.
Atlas pulled a dagger from his animal-skin shoe. He was about charge at Kronos but he started to sink. "What the hell!" Atlas slashed at the ground but the dagger's point broke off.
"I'm trying to sleep here!" Jura's face popped out of the ground. "Follow Joan and save Oranos for Renegade's sake and no fighting with Kronos!" Atlas's legs resurfaced from the ground while Jura disappeared again.
"Your will be done Lord Jura." Kronos threw Atlas's halberds toward their wielder. Atlas caught them easily and strapped it to his back though he scowled at Kronos who merely smiled in return.
"I, Kronos, ex-chieftain of the Wind Riders call you to battle! Follow Chieftain Joan to save War chief Oranos!" The riders shrugged their shoulders. "THAT IS AN ORDER RIDERS!" The riders straighten their backs and saluted Kronos. Apparently, Kronos still had the chieftain touch in him.
Atlas ran behind his longhouse and came back with four horses. "As chieftain you must set a good example." Atlas shoved the reins at Joan. Joan caught them in her hand.
"Lord Jura please get up." Joan slammed her other fist into the ground. Instead of making a hole like the riders expected the fist sank into the ground. Joan groped inside the ground until she felt something soft in her hands. "Wake up now lord." Joan yanked Jura out of the ground. Joan held him up with arm. Pretty amazing feat, since he weighted much more than she did. She turned red for Jura's butt was only two centimeters away from her face. Unfortunately for her, she had grabbed Jura's butt instead of his arm.
"My, my, I didn't think you were so energetic Joan," Jura said as Joan gulped and placed him lightly on the ground. Jura yawned and wiped the sleep from his eyes though he didn't expect the kick from Joan in his butt.
Jura asked lying on the ground, "Where's my tea?" Thoth produced a cup from his kimono and gave it to Jura. Jura drank deeply still lying there finding the dirt much more comfortable than standing up.. Jura smacked his lips together. "That is some good… woah." Jura's head hit the ground.
Joan sighed as she threw Jura on his brown horse. She expertly mounted her own as did Kronos and Thoth. They rode out from the village with the riders behind them.
"Let's move." Joan whipped the reins and her horse shunpoed away. The others followed her lead except for Jura who was finally waking up.
"Giddy up horsy!" Jura laid on the horse with his face lying on its butt. He took the reins and lightly slapped the butt. "Giddy up!" Kronos reappeared next to Jura and took the reins.
"It is a wonder how you get drunk just by a sip of alcohol." They both shunpoed away to the village.
"You think they'll ever attack?" the bored shinigami asked as he looked at his partner. They both stood in front of the only entrance with a road. His partner shrugged and brought out a knife and a piece of wood.
"Attack or not I still got to make a souvenir for my boy." The shinigami scrapped off a wood piece.
The shinigami laying on his sword perked up. "Really…how old is your little boy."
"He's going to be twenty-two months this May."
"So what do you plan on carving then." The shinigami with the knife stopped carving.
"A small horse. We don't have many of those and he always was fascinated with them well at least he always looks for books with pictures of horses in them." He resumed carving. He cursed softly from scratching himself with the knife.
His partner watched a wood curl fall to the ground. "Well there are a ton of real ones just around the corner. We could just bring him one."
The shinigami shook his head. "I won't resort to stealing. I'll get the money for the horse eventually. Then after this is all over…well, I plan to give it to him when he is five at least." The shinigami whistled a tune while he carved the block of wood.
His partner sighed. "I wish I had a son though, but I don't have the ti…" The shinigami looked up in puzzlement waiting for his partner to finish his sentence.
"What's up?" His partner fell down with a javelin sticking out. "Hell! What's happening?" The shinigami pulled out his sword and went over to check his companion. "Answer me man. You can't die now. What about your wife?" The shinigami on the floor didn't have any life left in his eyes.
"Dammit!" The shinigami looked around to see five riders. All of them had their javelins pointed at the shinigami. The shinigami looked at the rough, wooden horse he held in his hand. "Sorry son. Looks like I won't be coming back any time soon." The shinigami sighed as he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Jura stopped the riders as they were about to throw their javelins. "Hold on." Jura walked toward the shinigami with his eyes closed. Jura had a good feeling. It couldn't really be described, but he found the courage and acceptance to face death more than just amusing. Maybe he was one of them. Yeah, he had to be. Placing his hand over the shinigami's head, Jura slowed down his breathing to match the shinigami's. The riders watched as Jura fell into a trance with the shinigami.
Jura found himself in a green pasture with horses galloping or munching on grass. The sky was clear and the air smelled of summer trees. There was a slight breeze that made the heat from the sun bearable and quite enjoyable. "Wow and I thought my place was cool. This place sure takes the cake." Jura looked around for the man.
"Well I don't get many visitors here." Jura turned around to find two men next to a tree. One of them was the shinigami who was asleep. He was sitting against the tree, his expression in serene peace. The other was a man on a large black warhorse with multiple crowns on his head. He carried a bow on his back along with a quiver of arrows. He wore chainmail and leather armor leggings. "I am called the Emperor of Emperors, Supreme Ruler Khan. Who dares trespasses?"
Jura grinned. "I am Warlord Jura of the Renegade. I have come to see the shinigami."
"Warlord Jura?... Ooh! I know you. Hephaestus and Prometheus talk about all the time when we go drinking." "Stupid loud mouths." Jura sighed at his zanpakutos' drinking habits. Jura=low tolerance of alcohol, Hephaestus and Prometheus=gets so drunk that they don't get hangovers anymore. "They haven't invited me for a while now. I hope they didn't forget about me."
"Right… so I'll complete my business and I'll get out of here." Jura smiled and walked toward the sleeping shinigami. Khan drew his bow, his horse barred Jura's path.
"I'm sorry but I can't allow that. Temuchin is having a breakdown right now and I can't let anyone stop him from concentrating. He needs to gather his thoughts." Jura sighed.
Jura took out a small ticket that made Khan's eyes bulge. Jura waved it around, "Well it is a shame. I was hoping to talk to Temuchin, but if I can't I might as well throw this 'All you can Drink' Ticket for Zanpakuto's Heaven away." Khan's licked his lips as he eyed the ticket eagerly.
Khan shook his head. "I won't be swayed by bribery!" Khan closed his eyes reluctantly and shook his head even harder.
"I'll throw in a horse cleaner ticket to."
"Deal!" Jura threw the tickets at Khan who caught them in mid-air.
"Make it quick though." Khan stepped to the side. So much for guarding your master. Jura walked calmly towards Temuchin.
Jura whispered into Temuchin's ear, "Stay alive, don't look back, and keep moving forward." Jura placed his gloved hand onto Temuchin's head. "I give you my power, freely, willingly, and for the future. When you awake you shall be no man, but a Titan among mortals. Wait for my arrival and take your place among me and my comrades."
Khan looked back wondering what Jura was doing. He faced them and suddenly felt a huge tremor go through his body. He then felt a large amount of energy coursing through his veins. "What's going on?" Khan saw Jura wobble back from Temuchin who glowed with energy.
"Live on Temuchin..." Jura disappeared from the plain leaving Khan wondering about the new energy. He checked his partner and noticed a faint sign on Temuchin's head. It was the sign of a rider.
"What the hell did he do?"
Jura held onto the body as Temuchin fell down. "My, my, fainting after such a small spark of power." Jura handed him to the raiders. "Don't kill him. Just escort him back to Soul Society."
The lead rider shrugged as he was handed the body. He threw Temuchin on the back of his horse and shunpoed away from the village. The other riders followed his lead.
"Now where to get lunch." Jura walked into the village in an attempt to find a lunch.
A shinigami cut an arrow down in midair. He and five others were back-to-back, facing ten riders who rode circles around them. If the shinigami wasn't fighting for his life, he would have appreciated watching the horses' majestic movements.
"Where's Vice-Captain Tetsuzamon?" The shinigami asked as he blocked a thrown javelin.
"He's guarding Warlord Oranos right now. As long as we hold here they won't get to him," an informed shinigami answered as he was shot in the leg with an arrow. "Shit!" The shinigami pulled the arrow out and wobbled. A trickle of blood went down his leg.
"He's down! Fire!" The riders stopped galloping and each pulled out two javelins. The fallen shinigami hanged his head as he waited for the javelins. None came. He looked up to see the five riders fallen to the ground with their horses gone from them. A man with black glasses squatted next to a corpse.
"Vice-Captain Tetsuzamon!" The shinigami saluted the best they could from their injuries. Iba saluted them back.
"Fall back for now. We're gathering in the middle of the village." The shinigami nodded. One of the shinigami helped the fallen up and limped toward the middle.
Atlas watched Iba and his group leave. "Well this is going to get interesting."
"You think Atlas?" Atlas turned around to see Jura fiddling with his sword. "Then let's make this more interesting." Jura gave him a mischievous smile.
Atlas grinned. "You sly fox. So what's the game?"
Jura thrust his sword into the ground. "Let them fight against each other. Whoever wins can leave here alive."
Atlas thought about the idea. He smiled wickedly. "Evil, Warlord Jura very evil, and I like it." Jura grinned and twisted his sword.
Iba surveyed the survivors of his squad. There were only two-hundred of them left. The fourth seat was killed at the start and the third seat sustain many injuries, but none were life-threatening. Most of them were bloodied while some were lying on the ground with fatal wounds.
"Vice-Captain!" Iba turned toward the third-seat behind him. "The village is entirely surrounded by riders. We can't get out!"
"Gather our forces and—!" Before Iba could finish three hundred riders appeared in midair. They surrounded the wounded shinigami force. A brown-haired man walked calmly toward them.
"I can give you an exit, but there is a price." Iba shook his head. He had a very bad feeling about this guy.
"Anything! Anything I'll do anything to save my comrades," the third-seat answered desperately as he looked back at some of his dying comrades.
"Then let's play." Iba suddenly remembered the man's face.
The third-seat however did not. "We'll play your game!" Jura nodded.
"Don't! He'll kill us all!" Iba tried warn his men but Jura already smiled. Three stories walls appeared around the shinigami in a circle. A shinigami slashed the wall. The zanpakuto, instead of cutting the wall, bounced back toward the user who barely got out of the way.
"What the hell!" The shinigami backed up. Jura clapped his hands.
"Welcome, welcome, my dear riders to the Shinigami Death Bowl!" Iba looked up to see the riders all sitting on the walls. Most of them had alcohol in hand or food such as mutton or lamb. "I'm your host Jura! Today we have an exciting attraction! We have two hundred shinigami warriors! Ready to fight to the death for your entertainment!" The riders cheered. "And our special guest judge today Oranos!" The riders cheered louder as Oranos waved to the nearby riders on the wall. "Oranos is going to be our ref. If you don't follow the rules you don't play!"
The shinigami looked at one another in confusion. Iba looked at his men in fear. He had no idea what Jura planned but he knew that it wasn't going to be an exit without a price. Before he could warn his men Jura took out a brown gong. "Round One, Kronos come on out!"
Iba saw a man with blue eyes jump stood up on the wall. "Bankai! Convert the Heart, Rheia!" Kronos's zanpakuto transformed into wires wrapped around his legs and arms. The wires started to move on their own in the air, surrounding Kronos in a storm of wires. Iba could still make out Kronos's body, but he had a hard time trying to see past the wires.
"Let the round begin!" Jura hit the gong loudly. Kronos pointed his hand at a shinigami.
"Convert!" A wire pointed at the shinigami. The shinigami straightened up from his fighting stance and looked at Kronos. "Who do you serve?" Kronos asked.
"I serve Knight Kronos!" the shinigami roared as he saluted Kronos with his sword. The shinigami then slashed at a nearby companion. The companion fell to the ground with a surprised look on his face.
Kronos's wires pointed at three more shinigami. "Who do you serve?"
"Knight Kronos!" they yelled as they slashed at nearby shinigami. The other shinigami ran about, too confused to defend themselves. The four possessed shinigami kept slashing the ranks of their old companions. They killed anyone wounded or not, pleading or begging, friend or comrade. Iba grimaced as he hit one of the shinigami with the back of his blade. The shinigami stumbled backwards. The possessed made a desperate swing at Iba who dodged it easily. Iba pushed his advantage forward as the other shinigami stumbled, making wild swings. Iba saw his chance and knocked the shinigami's sword out of his hand. The unarmed shinigami stumbled to the ground.
Jura applauded as he gave a nod to Kronos. Kronos pointed his hand at the fallen shinigami. The wires wrapped around him. "For Knight Kronos!" Kronos closed his hand into a fist. The shinigami screamed loudly as he was chopped/straggled to pieces.
"What the hell!" a shinigami screamed as he looked at what was left of the corpse. Iba closed his eyes. There were blood stains all over the ground. Piles of dust and bone marrow were around it. The other three shinigami took no notice to their comrade's demise and kept killing the wounded shinigami.
The shinigami finally calmed down and used restraining kido spells on the three possessed ones. Kronos shrugged as he withdrew his wires. The three possessed shinigami went unconscious. Iba sighed in relief thinking that his men were safe. They had only been fighting for a couple of minutes, but already they had lost a half of their force. It was incredible and sickening at the same time.
Jura hit the gong. "Round 1 is over. The surviving hundred shinigami now face against the 2nd Round, but before that let's have an intermission." The riders of the walls jumped down to the outside. Most of them took a leak or got some food from the other longhouses, but they were still human. Some of the younger riders tried to hide the fact that they had barfed form the carnage.
Iba looked at his men worried. If it they kept taking losses like that they wouldn't be able to get out the deathtrap. Some of the shinigami able to stand went to get the bodies of their fallen comrades. What they found was only the earth under their feet.
"You won't find the bodies." The shinigami looked up to see Jura and his three Knights eating lunch on the wall. Kronos brought Jura's tea with him from the Renegade. Joan poured some into Jura's cup as he ate some fish. "I have already disposed of them," Jura told them off-handily as he took the cup from Joan's hands.
"This isn't a game! You can't control lives like a toy!" a shinigami yelled at Jura. The other shinigami joined the first one. The shinigami were about to make a stand but the one who yelled first fell to the ground with a javelin sticking out of his back.
"Who do you think you are talking to?" The shinigami looked up to see Oranos with another javelin in his hand. "We of the Five Warlords hold thousands of lives in our hands. We are gods compare to you lowly mortals! So you would never understand our methods." Jura sighed loudly.
"There he goes again, Oranos and his theatrics." Jura sipped his tea as he watched Oranos go into lavishing detail about the life and duties of a Warlord. Jura got to his feet. Oranos stopped talking.
"Look there is only one winner in the game and we are looking for him/her. So it is a game of survival and if you don't play." Oranos hefted his javelin. "You die!" Jura grinned.
Iba and the other shinigami gulped.
Well, well, looks like the Jura is very ruthless. Besides the point I hope you enjoyed this chapter and as always this is preceptormyth101 saying good-bye folks! R&R!