This is mainly just a prototype; a testing of the waters, so to speak, cuz I'm sorta, kinda, definitely new to the fandom of SC.
Also, heavily disappointed in the lack of Talim, Maxi, or both fics. Just sayin.
Soul Calibur II
A/N: Personal touches and elements have been made/changed
Talim woke up abruptly, body shooting to attention the moment her ears detected a loud, strange noise. Heart racing, she snatched up her tonfa blades from her side to protect herself from the man in front of her-only to find they weren't her blades at all! The object in her hand was… a bone!
She shrieked and dropped it, curling up away from the foreign, morbid, scary object that most definitely wasn't her beloved weapons! "Syi Salika! Loka Luha!" she cried, looking around the room, trying to find them. Where were they?
"Easy, easy! What are you lookin' for, sweetheart?" asked the man, the pet name catching her attention. Hadn't she heard it before? Talim looked towards him, expecting a gruff, big guy like the ones at the tavern, due to the deep baritone in his voice… and finding the exact opposite of a big, tough bar customer.
He was tall, much taller than herself, as most men turned out to be. He had some impressive muscle build on his body, despite the obvious bandages of wounds on his arms and abdomen, with a loose white sleeveless jacket on his shoulders. Equally white pants were on his legs, which she had no doubt were as muscled and strong as his upper body, as must be the rest of his body. He had, what she decided was an interesting style of hair- most of his black and blonde mane slicked back, save for a long, rebellious bang that arched high and fell down the side of his face, all the way to his clean-shaven chin.
For however long she had taken to examine the man, it was long enough for him to notice her eyes going up and down his body.
"Sheesh, I've been told I'm good on the eyes, but I didn't know I was still that good." He teased, stepping forward, a silly grin on his face.
"B-begging your pardon?" Talim asked, incredulous at his smug words.
He laughed, full and loud making her jump, "Yeah, try and play innocent on me, but it won't change that I caught you staring."
"Oh, well-I-I apologize if I have offended you, s-"
He snorts, "Offend? Me? Trust me sweetheart, I consider it a compliment."
Talim was unsure of how to reply to that. She bit her lip, to keep anything silly or nonsensical from flying out. "O-ok…uhm, you wouldn't happen to know where my Syi Salika and Loka Luha are, would you sir?"
"Drop the 'sir' thing, if you'd please." He said the instant she finished, crossing his arms (that under the right circumstances look like they can crush apples with a flex… she thought) and leaning against a large, thick post that supported the ceiling over her room. "Name's Maxi. And your's?"
"Talim. You are…" Talim started, trying to go through the hazy cloud of images, sounds, and sensations in her memory and figure out how this guy looked familiar. He wasn't super-important, not a majorly iconic person, but his presence in her mind was still fresh and familiar… "…you are the man who saved me from that corrupt lion!" she exclaimed once the metaphorical lantern inside her mind was lit, feeling as if the entire world had been illuminated, "You saved me from it… and I didn't even thank you for it before everything went black!"
Well that sure was rude of me!
Maxi nodded, though he made a funny "tch" noise with his tongue, "Please; if anybody should be thanking anyone, it should be me thanking you, sweetheart."
"Yeah, you." He laughed, amused by her modesty, "You're the one who went and nearly killed yourself saving a handful of people you didn't even know, not to mention took down a gigantic monster along the ride!"
Talim averted her eyes, embarrassed as a fresh red flush began to form on her cheeks, "Still. I did not thank you for saving me…"
"Don't worry about it. I'd just like to know what's a girl like you doing here in this old shamble of a village; not to say I'm not grateful. " Maxi said with a smile, one that glowed and sent a warm happiness through Talim, "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't exactly be having a village to come home to."
Nodding, Talim settled herself on her bed, careful to avoid agitating her wounds that she hadn't looked at yet, but could definitely feel exist, and patted a place on the bed for Maxi to sit; just because she was the "big hero" didn't mean she should sit and him stand; in fact, she felt like she should be the one standing and letting him do the resting.
"It is a long story, and all stories are best told resting." She said with the wisdom that came from being the officially declared storyteller of her village's children. A light chuckle came from the black-blonde haired man and he obediently walked over and sat on the space she had made room for him.
"It all started back home, many years ago when I was a child…" she started, and from there Maxi lapsed into a content silence as he listened to her tell him her first encounter with an evil wind, how she had been so overwhelmed by its power she had fainted and stayed unconscious for days. Talim told him of how many in her village had forgotten the wind that had brought them a years' worth of disease and death, and an uncontrollable and raging hostility between her village's people and the Spaniard settlers. She told him of how years later, the same wind came, this time with a disturbing stranger carrying a metal shard that radiated evil and corruption.
Then Talim illustrated how after so much chaos in her home caused by it, the lives that were taken by its evil and the corrupted men and women and children that got infected with it, how she had finally managed to subdue it, and that the wind-god priestess had decided to go find the source of this wind. She had rightfully suspected her island to be just one of many victims of the metal fragment, and bravely how she left her home with only one change of clothes and her beloved and sacred blades Syi Salika and Loka Luha. Talim told how along the way she had come across a particularly bad case of the corruption, and by her personal oath to help anyone and everyone she could that was hurt or infected with the evil power how she had tried day and night for what must have been a month or two to purify and cure a sick child with the metal shard inside him.
She could remember that time, too clearly, the pale skin of the boy, his bloodshot, tear-ridden eyes, the multiple scars and blotches of bloody, rotting and mutating flesh, the boys pathetic cries as she did everything and anything, day and night, hour by hour, to find and destroy each piece of evil inside him. Yet like some sort of disease, the evil aura just kept on regenerating, kept on coming back in a heartbeat, kept on zapping the child and Talim's diminishing strength while it got stronger. The screams… oh god, the screams he made at night… how truly powerless she was, how weak and unworthy she had felt trying to save him when he obviously needed much more than just some Filipino wind priestess.
A hand laid itself on her shoulder, and Talim wiped her tears away, taking comfort in Maxi's gesture. Once she calmed, she continued her story, of how it had been around that time that she had met Yun-Seong, a Korean soldier and patriot, who had heard of the source of her evil wind to be an incredible power… incredible enough to help him win the war for his country. He had helped her to regain enough confidence and inspiration in herself to continue to try to help the ailing child. It wasn't enough, never enough, as the boy finally died with a choked scream, and a loud, sickening gurgle. His body was taken away to be buried, and there it was; the metal fragment, the source of his suffering, and Talim's, bloodied and covered in some kind of nasty pus, no doubt from the boy's body.
And not a day later, Yun-Seong was gone, and so was the shard. Thus had begun Talim's painstakingly long and hard journey to catch up with the Korean fighter and try to knock some sense into him. How she had been tracking him for what seemed and probably was months, getting mixed up into so many other cases of pain, how she kept finding herself getting thrown into some other trouble that put her three steps back and Yun-Seong two steps ahead.
And then came the events of the past month…
Maxi, who during the entire story had been solemnly and sympathetically silent, was now clutching his stomach as he howled with laughter. All the while Talim, with cheeks aflame, had to tell him about her having to save an old lady's cat, a very unfortunately timed acrobatic race across an Arabian city against some guy who kept calling himself the prince of Persia, her attempts at bargaining with a really tall and buff guy that looked like he had been hunting his entire life, the deer herd sledding, the escape from the tavern, her almost running straight into a tree trying to run from an angry bear…
Pathetically, with an unintentionally adorable pout, Talim tried to growl though it came out more like a whimper, "It's not funny…"
"It's hilarious!" he gasped, "Have you any idea of how god-damn funny that is?"
"Not really...it's more like embarrassing…"
His laughter was starting to die down at this point, "Just you wait, girly; a couple more years from now, when you're all grown up and got that Yun-Seong boy to get his idiocy knocked out of him, you'll look back on all this and find it just as hilarious as I do."
Her pout got bigger, and she was too focused on the funny way his eyebrows trailed upward and at the same time made an extra flowing trail that bounced like a normal strand of hair, to notice how his amused gaze faltered, even softened at it. "I doubt it."
"You will… so you really did race with the esteemed Prince of Persia? And won?"
"I wouldn't have Syi Salika and Lokua Luha, otherwise. "
"Which reminds me…" Talim began, taking another quick sweep of the sturdy wood-framed room with her eyes, "Do you know where they are? My blades?"
He nodded, "I do. But your little heroic act- inspiring and sweet as it was-is going to cost you."
Talim was a bit surprised, but she shrugged. She had never heard of paying people for saving them, but if that was the way this village ran, than who was she to say no? "Okay, how much?"
One eyebrow quirked high, and Maxi gave her a funny look, "Money isn't the issue."
"…oh. Then what do you mean by cost me?"
"Sweetheart… not for nothing, but you're act almost got you killed; it's going to take a lot longer than one night's rest to recover from that." He said, serious and all humor gone. His tone was sharp, cold, but she could see the sympathy behind it in his eyes.
"Oh…OH. That kind of a cost…" his affirmative nod confirmed her epiphany of the 'cost', and Talim felt something bad settle into her stomach. "So…how long? Days?"
She tried again, biting her lip, "Weeks?"
He held up four digits. "Four weeks?"
"Four months." Was his brisk, curt reply.
Talim's jaw dropped, "Four months?"
"No! that isn't-that's-" but when she thought about, it was sort of reasonable a period for some injuries, and she felt pretty banged up…
"…UGH." It still didn't stop her from vigorously hating it, she told herself as Talim slumped into the bed, groaning.
"'Could be worse, kiddo." Maxi noted offhandedly, leaning against the wall that the bed was right next to.
A heavy sigh escaped her lungs, and she partially didn't want to answer to the underlying question. "How could it be worse?"
"'Could be dead, obviously. Or, the one that would really piss you off…"
"Which is?" she lifted her head up, and as he spoke she noticed the peculiar way he was looking at his own wounds, the bandages on his upper body.
"Permanent damage." The very phrase made her flinch.
"Good point. I guess I should count my blessings first before I count my curses…" Talim thought aloud, looking to Maxi who met her gaze evenly. For a long moment they kept it like that, her gaze in contact with his own, the priestess noting offhandedly how dark his eyes looked from there, before finally she tore hers away and averted it to the end railing of the bed. "I seem to be forgetting to do that a lot lately…"
Maybe that was why she hadn't been in favor of the wind as she usually was…
"We all do. Now," he started in a louder, solid voice, and he got himself off the bed and to his feet, "fun and entertaining as this was, I do believe, little miss hero, that you need to rest. From what you've told me, you've had one helluva week, and decent rest will definitely help with your recovery."
Talim jumped as he suddenly announced it, and pouted at his words, "But I don't want to sleep! You make good company, unorthodox as you seem to be."
He laughed, "You have no idea. And don't worry, girlie; my place is hollering distance from your room. You wake up and find yourself lonely, all you gotta do is bust that window open" he briefly paused to point at a particular window that was arm's distance from Talim, "and start calling. Got it?"
She nodded, disappointed that her company was going, but she would be willing to understand why for the moment. "Yeah, I got it." She growled, crossing her arms and huffing as Talim slumped right back into the pillows underneath her.
In return he gave her a satisfied grin, which Talim quickly decided she would accept as his apology for leaving, and he gave her a salute before turning towards the door, "Later, then, priestess."
Maxi was one second away from the door, one second away from grabbing the knob and leaving, when she called, "Maxi."
He turned to her, a curious, expectant, patient expression on his face as he brought his attention on her, "Yeah?"
Talim waited a few seconds, thinking about her wording. A grin soon painted itself onto her lips, and she folded one arm into the other while at the same time held out her hand, palm up, expectantly, "Give me back my bandana."
Maxi's eyes widened, eyebrows furrowed, and he offered her a deeply incredulous, shocked really, look as one of his hands dug into the insides of his jacket. It changed as he brought out a long, blue silken cloth from the navy-colored inside of the jacket, turning from shocked to curiously suspicious, "Now how in the world did you notice that?"
Her grin got bigger as he handed it to her, finding his large, rough hands a pleasant touch against her own. With an uncharacteristically smug tone that she tried to keep hidden from the world, Talim replied, "You can't live with a thief named the Prince, and honestly expect a girl to not have to pick up a few things from it."
He was quiet for a moment, before returning her smile to her, crossing his arms at her with some sort of light in his eyes; something akin to respect maybe? Oh how helpful that would be, she told herself.
In which our favorite wind priestess wakes up (in her blue alternate costume from SC2) and meets a new friend. Also, if any of you catch the Prince of Persia reference (and it shouldn't be hard. I wasn't exactly subtle with it...) then kudos to you. Also also, i know Talim's story on the games say the boy she was trying to save survived, but I kinda pulled a creative twist and made him die. Leave me alone!
Flames will be used to cook marshmallows; critiques will be used to advance mah skillz, and reviews will be used to warm my heart and encourage more writing.
It's mostly just a testing of the waters; however, if you guys would like it to continue, then by all means review to your hearts content about it.
And before any of you ask; NO, this is NOT TalimYunseong.
-KO13, signing out!