The Rangers were all assembled in the Living Room later in the day. They would have likely been training still, but Mentor Ji had insisted that before they go any further, they get a doctor to examine Serena. While she was healthy now, he wanted to know exactly how healthy. If her illness wasn't cured, but just in remission, then they needed to do know so that they could ensure her treatment. For the first time since she had seen Serena on her feet, Emily wasn't smiling.
Mike just watched her pacing back and forwards, anxiously awaiting word from the doctor. Just one of Mentor Ji's many contacts was a doctor. He needed to have Serena checked out for everyone's peace of mind, most of all Emily's, but at the same time he had to be confident that the doctor he used would be discrete. Mike finally stood up and grabbed her by the shoulders.
"Emily, would you calm down?" He begged her. "You're just getting worked up."
"He's been in there for ages." Emily stated. "There's something wrong isn't there?"
"He's just being thorough to make sure Emily, I'm sure of it." Mentor said soothingly, looking to his youngest Ranger. "We're just being cautious."
Just then, the doctor came out of the bedroom, putting the last of his equipment away. He took off his glasses and looked to Emily as she ran over to him.
"She's over 18, so I can't discuss her case with you." He said to her with a little smile. "Of course, you could ask her yourself."
"I told you I was fine." Serena said with a bright grin as she came out, hugging her sister. "My bloodwork shows no sign of the virus at all."
"That Swordfish of yours really is a miracle." The doctor stated. "I really wish we could use it on more of our patients..."
"You know we cannot..."
"Yeah, I know. I get it, trust me." The doctor replied, picking up his bag. "Well, I think I'll leave you all to it. Something tells me this young lady has a lot of catching up to do."
As he left, Emily finally let Serena go, grinning and bouncing with excitement. Her sister really was free of the illness that was going to take her life. Her beloved older sister was back.
"I've received word from your parents." Mentor Ji told them. "They're going to be in the hospital for a while, but they have neighbours watching the farm. They are perfectly happy for you to remain while they recover."
"That's amazing!" Emily shrieked, bouncing on the balls of her feet as her excitement overtook her. "There's so much I want to tell you. There's so much to catch up on!"
"There'll be plenty of time for that." Serena assured her as she put an arm around her. "Right now though, I think Mentor Ji would appreciate it if we got back to training. I think I've taken up enough of your time."
"Well, it is a nice day." Mentor Ji said a little cheerfully. "And since Serena's spent the last year and a half confined to her house..."
"The last couple of months of which I have been unable to leave my bed." Serena added.
"I think the last thing you'd want is to spend the day training." Mentor Ji concluded. "I'm sure you would much rather catch up at...shall we say...The Amusement Park?"
"That's a great idea!" Emily shrieked. "Come on Serena, there's so much to see."
"Well, I guess we can get back to training tomorrow." She commented, before looking to the others. "I take it we're all going?"
"Try and stop us." Mike added, coming in with the jackets and tossing Jayden his. "Rainbow Corners, here we come!"
Meanwhile, there was someone who was not having such a great time. Lying at the foot of a cliff, buried under several tons of rock, Dekker was only just regaining consciousness after his battle with the Rangers. Every inch of his body ached, and he was pinned down by the rocks. It would take him quite a while to regain his strength after that. Even Urumasa's power would return him to health quickly after that.
He flexed his fingers as he fumbled for the hilt of his sword, clutching for the blade that had guided his life for so long. As he reached for it, his mind drifted back.
He had been gone almost four years by the time he arrived back at the threshold of his household. He had been gone so long, and yet it seemed that very little had changed. It seemed like while he had grown and changed, this place was stuck in time.
He approached the front gates and kicked them open harshly, announcing his triumphant return. His brothers were in the training yard, practicing their form, but at the interruption, they all turned and stared at the intruder.
His cloak was wrapped around him, and his hood was up, concealing his face. A large, white nodachi was strapped to his back. As he strode into the yard, Yarrick, the eldest brother, strode forward.
"Who dares enter our grounds so?" He roared. "Remove your hood!"
Dekker stopped in his tracks and pulled down his hood. Yarrick scoffed as he saw him. His hair was longer, and he had thick stubble now, but he could still recognise the brother he treated with such contempt.
"So, you finally returned." He said dismissively. "I never thought you'd have the nerve after the way you left..."
"I have done that which none of you ever could." He interrupted Yarrick. "I will speak with our father."
"You dare to interrupt me?" Yarrick snapped.
"I will speak only to father." Dekker stated, taking a step forward. "I am here to present him with proof of my worth."
"Father is reading, he is not to be disturbed." Yarrick responded sharply. "If you have something to say, then you may say it to me."
"I have defeated The Cursed Warrior." Dekker stated proudly, causing his four brothers to look among themselves. He took Urumasa from his back, and held it for them to see. "This is the blade Urumasa. I have come to present it to father."
"The Cursed Warrior?" Yarrick laughed. The other three didn't know what to think and stood back, staying out of this. Yarrick just continued to laugh at him. "You expect us to believe in fairy tales?"
"I tire of this conversation." Dekker stated, stepping face to face with him. "You are beneath me Yarrick; I will pay you no further mind. My business is with our father."
He shoved his eldest brother aside and made his way towards the house. Yarrick's face flashed red in rage as he was dismissed like a common child. He was the heir to the family estate. He was the bearer of the family crest. He would not be ignored, especially not by Dekker. He levelled a bokken over Dekker's shoulder, at which he stopped. Dekker just looked to the wooden practice blade and turned towards him.
"I am the head of this house!" He roared. "I will not be disrespected by the likes of you!"
Dekker heard the whisper in his mind, the voice in his head talking to him.
"This man would dare to challenge you." Urumasa whispered. "This man has disrespected you, humiliated you all of your life, you know you are better than him."
He turned to face his brother, just smirking at him.
"You still believe me to be the boy you used to beat and bully." Dekker sneered. "Be sure you want to challenge me. It may be the last thing you ever do."
Yarrick prepared to strike him with the Bokken, but Dekker responded in a manner that astounded his brothers, drawing Urumasa and slicing the sword in half before kicking him back onto the mats. He stared up at Dekker in shock as he approached the mat, stepping onto it wielding his sword.
"If he will not give you respect, then you must take it." Urumasa whispered to him. "He defeated you all those times. He is a challenge you must face. You know what you must do."
"Let us not play child's games." Dekker snapped. "If you believe you are better than me, then let us face the test properly. Let us use steel."
Yarrick's face twisted in rage as he got back to his feet. He gestured to one of the other three brothers.
"Fetch my sword!" He ordered him. He was handed a katana, and drew it, beginning to circle his brother. "Let us see how your 'Urumasa' stands up to Stone Cutter!"
He lunged forward, and the blades clashed once, only once. Dekker's journey had expanded his skills far beyond his family's style, and his experience had made him deadly. As the blades rebounded off one another, he swung around, slicing through Yarrick's abdomen. He collapsed to his knees, dropping his sword as his hands strayed to his stomach, holding in his innards. He looked up to Dekker in horror, unable to believe that this was the brother that he had beaten and humiliated his whole life. Dekker reached for an amulet around Yarrick's neck, bearing the family crest, and yanked it off.
"This is mine now." He announced, before swinging Urumasa one more time, striking his head from his shoulders. His three brothers watched on in shock.
"He was no challenge, the battle was too short." Urumasa said in disappointment. "His blood is as worthless as he is."
"Yarrick is dead!" One of the brothers shrieked, running over to the corpse and cradling it. He looked to Dekker in amazement. "You killed him!"
"I hunger." Urumasa told him. "I hunger for more."
Remembering the treatment he had received under his brothers, Dekker felt his rage building and he looked down on him.
"Pick it up." He told him, kicking Stone Cutter over to him. He looked to his other two brothers. "Fetch your weapons."
"You've gone mad!" One of them shrieked.
"You didn't seem to have the same trouble attacking me when you believed I was helpless." Dekker said bitterly. "Fetch your weapons. I will be waiting!"
Back in the present, he finally reached the hilt of Urumasa and snatched it into his hand. As the blade started to glow, he disappeared into one of the gaps in his rocky tomb.
Over at Rainbow Corners, the Rangers were taking Serena around the rides and attractions. Emily was having a great time, dragging Serena around by the arm, showing her everything that there was to see. Mike couldn't help smiling to see her so happy.
"Wait, you haven't seen..."
"Emily, calm down, I'm exhausted." Serena chuckled at her little sister as she gestured to some tables. "We've got all day, there's no need to see everything in an hour. Besides, I'm starting to get a little hungry."
"I could use something to eat." Jayden agreed. "You guys get a table. I'll check out the menu at the noodle shack."
They found a table, at which Emily sat between Mike and Serena, beaming brightly. She felt amazing to finally have her friends able to meet her and get to know the sister she cherished so dearly.
"Well I have to say, there's nothing like this in the country." Serena commented. "That Roller Coaster was a pretty wild ride."
"Yeah, personally I like the log flume." Kevin added. "It's a great way to cool off on a hot day. You get so wet; you basically stop caring about being wet.
"I figured you'd like getting wet." She giggled. Mia pulled in closer to him as she smiled at her.
"You know, Emily talks about home all the time." Mia told her. "I feel like I know you already.
"I'm sure we'll get plenty of time to get to know each other." She told her, before turning to Emily. "You know, spending all this time with all these cute guys, I just have to wonder..."
"Serena, you're embarrassing me." Emily whined. Mike just put his arm around her.
"So you're embarrassed now?" He asked her. "I would have thought..."
"Hey Mike, Kevin can you give me a hand?" Jayden called over. They got up and went over, leaving the girls alone. Kevin gave Mia a quick kiss on the cheek as he went.
"Mike seems pretty cute." Serena complimented Emily. "You've done well for yourself sis."
"She's been great." Mia added. "Sharing a room with her has been interesting to say the least."
"Let me guess, the early morning wake up calls?" Serena chuckled. "She always was a great alarm clock."
She looked around to where the guys were gathering up their food and smiled.
"So tell me, you're with Mike, and Kevin's with Mia right?" Serena asked.
"Yeah?" Emily asked her. "Why?"
"So does that mean Jayden's on the market?" She asked. "You've got to admit, he is pretty hot."
"Yeah, he is pretty good looking." Mia admitted, feeling a little embarrassed. While she was happy with Kevin, and loved him, it hadn't been that long ago she had embarrassed herself chasing after Jayden. "I'm pretty sure he's single."
"Hey Mia, we need a hand here!" Kevin yelled to his girlfriend. "These drink cups are huge!"
As Mia left, Serena couldn't keep her eyes off Jayden, who was busy gathering up containers of food.
"Maybe we should go on the log flume after lunch." Serena suggested with a little smirk. "I wouldn't mind getting to see him in a wet t-shirt. I suppose I'll have plenty of time to get to know him better."
"Are mom and dad going to be in the hospital for a while?" Emily asked her sister, noting her words. Serena looked to her with a smile.
"Hopefully not." Serena replied. "You might even want to start packing."
"Packing?" Emily asked, the smile slipping from her face as she heard this. She looked up to her sister completely stunned.
"Of course, you heard what Mentor said." Serena replied. "Once mom and dad get back from the hospital, you can go home."
Her shoulders slumped and her smile faded completely as the guys got back from the food stand. Mike sat next to her, putting a container down in front of her.
"I got you the prawn medley." He told his girlfriend, putting his arm around her. He noticed she wasn't listening. "Emily?"
"It's fine Mike." She responded quietly, forcing herself to smile. "Thanks."
Meanwhile, on the banks of the Sanzu River, Dekker appeared and submerged himself into the waters. Urumasa would heal him eventually, but he was keen to get back to health quickly, so keen, he was even willing to risk being discovered by Master Xandred to use the restorative properties of the river.
As he felt himself being healed, he closed his eyes and his mind drifted back to his youth.
His father was in his study, reading one of his many scrolls when the door was thrown open. He stood up, looking to the man standing in his doorway.
"Who are you?" He demanded angrily. "How dare you come into my home?"
"Do you not recognise your own son?" Dekker asked him as he stepped into the light, allowing his father to see him. "I have returned."
"You needn't have bothered." His father sneered. "There is nothing that can wipe away the shame..."
"I have the blade Urumasa." He told his father, showing him the sword. "I defeated The Cursed Warrior in a duel. I brought his sword as a trophy to honour..."
"You expect me to believe you could have defeated The Cursed Warrior?" His father scoffed at the assertion. "You were dead to me the day you fled this house with your tail between your legs!"
"He disrespects you even now." Urumasa whispered to him.
"I speak the truth. I have ALWAYS spoken the truth!" Dekker roared. "I am not a liar!"
"You are a mistake!" His father shot back. "Were it not for the Saki, I would never have bedded that serving maid and you would not be here to infest my house!"
"He blames you for your illegitimate birth?" Urumasa questioned him in his mind. "He looks down on you for his own lack of control?" Dekker shook his head, trying to clear its voice from his head.
"I am not to blame for your indiscretion." Dekker answered coldly. "Like it or not, I am your son, and as deserving of recognition as any of your blood."
Dekker's father looked to the sword and spat on it. Dekker could feel a rage building in him that was far greater than he could ever muster on his own. Urumasa had been disrespected, and it demanded vengeance.
"Take that counterfeit sword and get out. Never darken our door again." He ordered his son. "You are dead to me."
"Then I share something in common with your other sons after all." Dekker replied. He threw the amulet bearing the family crest onto his father's desk. It was covered in blood. His father looked up to his son in panic as he realised what this meant.
"You killed them!" He screamed. Dekker just smiled and nodded.
"You always said I was beneath them." He responded. "You value your blood so much, let us see it spilled."
He allowed his father to pick up his sword and prepare for the battle. He was now an old man, and Dekker knew he would be no match for him any longer. He no longer held any fear of his father. There was no reverence. There was only disdain. He was no longer the head of the household, only an old man who no longer had anything to lose.
Moments later, Dekker was alone in the house, the servants having long since fled. Looking around at the house, the shrine to decadence, he realised that none of it meant anything. He had no need of fine robes, no use for money or art. All that mattered was finding the strongest warriors and proving his worth against them. As he stood outside, at the end of a trail of pitch he had run throughout the grounds and over the house, he set a torch to it, burning the legacy of his family to the ground as he walked away. His family legacy ended that night. From then on, he was Dekker. No more, no less.
A/N: I know it SEEMS an odd place to end this story, but I wanted to bring Antonio into the continuity in his own dedicated story. Fear not though, the loose ends will continue into the next fic. Hope you enjoyed it.