Disclaimer: (for the 3rd time) I do not own Radiata Stories.

Author's Rantings: I am enjoying myself with writing these fan fictions. Since I have a day job, being at the office really helps get the creative juices flowing. I hope I can keep being inspired to work on my fics. :D

CHAPTER III : ringing sound of defeat

The ship lurched from side to side as it braved the waters of the vast ocean. Jack looked out towards the horizons excitedly, taking in all the scenery even though all he could see was the sun in the sky, seagulls that flew overhead, and the rolling clouds as well as the deep blue sea. There was really nothing much to marvel at. Well, maybe a newbie sailor would be excited his first time around, Jack was just feeling the same thing. Here he was, on a ship heading towards new lands.

"You've been excited since we left port." Jack heard a voice behind him and glanced over his shoulder to find Ellen, now garbed in a different set of clothes. She was wearing a red coat which trailed down all the way to her knees. Black boots which had heels, bringing her height even more above that of Jack's. A rapier dangled at her waist, attached to her belt. The blade was encased in a violet scabbard, the length of it encrusted with ruby gems.

"Hey there Ellen." greeted Jack. He then eyed her sword. "Wow. That thing looks pretty." Ellen put her palm on the hilt. "Oh, this thing?" she said. "Just a family heirloom." she removed the blade from scabbard and held it before Jack.

The blade glistened in the sun, but how it did was not in the way normal swords would. It seemed like the metal which the blade was composed of was of a different type.

"I've never seen a blade glow like that before." Jack stared at it curiously. "It's made of orihalcum." she answered Jack who she knew would ask what her blade was made of. "It's a rare metal from a far-off land. Some say that it's even legendary." she explained. "My father gave me this blade when I came of age. He said that it suited me... and my beauty." she slumped a bit, looking depressed and like a really have anvil fell on her back.

"What's wrong with you?" Jack wondered at her reaction to her own words. "Yeah, I know I'm pretty." she walked forward and leaned against the railings of the ship in the same way Jack did. "But who the hell in the right mind would want a woman who could beat the crap out of him?" her expression changed again, her eye twitching at her annoyance directed towards herself.

"Hahaha!" Jack chuckled a bit and smiled at her. "I knew this girl..." Jack looked down at the blue water. "I applied for the Radiata knight selection trials..." Jack's voice trailed off. "Go on." said Ellen, urging him to speak further. "She beat me. I got my ass handed to me by a woman." he chuckled again, and then went silent for a few moments.

Jack gazed up to the bright blue sky. "I loved her." he said straightly.

"I wonder if I'll get to have a duel with her." Ellen sounded enthusiastic. Jack went gloomy after her remark. "What is it, Jack? Something wrong?" Jack felt a pain in his chest, but he ignored it, hiding his emotions from Ellen. "Nah. Just... remembering a few things. You know, the past." he said and stretched his arms into the air.

"Mmmmmmmm~" Jack stretched his arms, then did a couple of squats to get the blood in his legs flowing. "Well, this is turning out to be a boring trip." he said. "I thought you said there were gonna be sea monsters. Where are they? I wanna get warmed up!" he began to do more stretching exercises, along with that weird little way he rolls his hands in front of him out of excitement.

"We've only been out of port for five hours. We gotten very far." Ellen crossed her arms. "Besides, why the hell are you itching for a fight?" she raised a brow and looked at him. "You'd be lucky to survive an encounter with one!" she chuckled a bit.

"Hah!" replied Jack. "Let's just say that I've had my fair share of dealing with difficult enemies." Jack recalled the time that he had to fight the Dragons. They in themselves were incredibly powerful foes and yet Jack stood up to them. But then again, he had his friends alongside him during those times. Who knows how the battles could have gone if he had been all alone.

"But you know," he said. "I've always had my friends with me during tough times. I know that I could rely on them to watch my back when I was in trouble."

"That's right." Ellen smiled. "Friends are important." she added and placed her hand on Jack's shoulder.

"Captain!" a voice yelled out. "What is it?" Ellen turned to face one of the sailors that had emerged from inside the ship. "It's lunch time." declared the sailor. "Most of the men are done having their fill." he said.

"Aye. We'll get below deck in a bit." she replied. "Thanks, Cap'n!" he answered back. "We wanted to start cleaning the deck and checking up on things up here anyway."

Ellen returned her attention to Jack. "Come on." she said and gestured for him to come along. "Let's have lunch."

Below deck, Jack and Ellen feasted upon an assortment of seafoods. There was a large lobster, an entire plate of shrimps, crabs, fried fishes, you name it! Jack gorged down enormous potions of what was on the table, stuffing himself full of anything that he could shove into his mouth. It's been a while since Jack had eaten like this. Then again, he didn't much get a chance to chow down all he wanted.

"Whoa!" Ellen evaded a large chunk that came flying off of a fish that Jack had been gnawing on. "You're a big eater." she stabbed a piece of fish-meat and placed it into her mouth. "So Jack." she raised a foot, planted it on the chair and rested her arm on it. "What made you want to go on an adventure all of a sudden?"

"Well," Jack chewed on another large piece of fish. "For the thrill of it." Jack gave his reply, obviously a lie. Although he was a bright and cheery boy, a quite open one at that, he didn't feel the need to tell Ellen about why he really was going in his trip. But then again, Elwen was the one who called him to the north, otherwise he would have just wandered around aimlessly. "So you're tellin' me that you just decided to pack up yer' stuff and go on an adventure, just like that, out of nowhere?" she sounded skeptical about his reply.

Jack just smiled and happily shoved more food into his mouth. "Yep!~" he said, swallowing another large chunk. "You're a strange one, Jack." she said, flailing her fork in front of him. "Strange, indeed." she added.

There was nothing much to do on the ship. The crew were all busy going about their tasks ever since they had eaten their lunch. Ellen told Jack that he was free to wander around but then again, where could Jack go? Sure, the ship was big but he had been almost everywhere already during the hours before the ship had left port. He'd wandered around the holds, went around the cabins and even looked around in Ellen's room, the captain's quarters. She even let him steer the ship for a few minutes, Ellen giving Jack directions.

Now there he was, Jack Rusell, the young man who had been on amazing adventure that none of the crew nor Ellen knew off. If they had known about Jack's exploits, they should be thanking him for vanquishing the dragons. Because if the dragons had stayed, maybe even the port town of Solaris would fall prey to the destruction that was to be issued by the Gold Dragon Quasar. There Jack leaned on the railings of the ship, staring out at the horizon which the setting sun had painted a bright and majestic orange. It was a beautiful sight, something he would have gladly enjoyed watching with Ridley beside him.

Getting bored at it all, Jack decided to head below deck and just spend the rest of the day in his room. Maybe he could lay down on his bed and drift off to sleep. But he still had so much energy. On his way to the door which led below, Ellen came out of it. "Oh." she smiled. "There you are Jack!" she seemed excited.

"What?" he asked, pointing at himself in that way he always does. "Is there something on my face?" Ellen smirked. "No, not really." Jack just laughed it off and decided to go to his room. "Hey Jack?" Jack stopped at the doorway and looked back at Ellen. "Hmmm?" he went. "I've been a bit rusty as of late." Ellen stretched her arms in the air. "You wanna duel?" her eyes turned into slits and she looked at Jack as if he was a lifelong rival to her. Jack tilted his head yet again, like a dog, and then brought on that determined look. "Hehe." he laughed arrogantly. "You're gonna get your ass handed to you, Ellen." said Jack quite cockily.

"Oh really?" she played along with his attitude. "What if I tell you that YOU'RE the one who's gonna have his ass handed to him?" she retorted quickly. "Let me go get my sword." said Jack.

A few minutes later, when Jack emerged after wearing some suitable clothing for the duel, he found that the crew had found themselves positioned all around the deck, drinks in hand and merrily cheering for their captain. Some were already drunk and just keeled over onto the floor of the ship, others were singing songs in delight. The place was really lively. He felt as if he was back in Radiata where there was excitement almost every day.

Sword in hand, he walked forward and met with Ellen who was standing there in anticipation. She was picking her teeth with a toothpick and upon seeing Jack flung it into the sea with just a flick of her wrist. She pulled out her sword and pointed it at Jack, inviting him to challenge her.

"No one can beat the captain!" yelled out one of the crew members. "The captain is the best!" another one of the crew followed. "Cap'n Ellen! Cap'n Ellen!" more of them cheered her on.

"Looks like a tough crowd." said Jack jokingly. "But I'm gonna have some fans by the end of the night." he readied himself, getting into his battle stance.

"We'll see, Jack. We'll see." Ellen dropped her arm, positioning her sword beside her. She raised her other hand and gestured at Jack to came at her.

Jack moved quickly. He swung his sword from up high. Ellen met his blade with her own. Jack tried to push down with all his might but Ellen did not budge, the edges of their blades now grinding against each other. Small sparks could be seen from the friction of the where their swords met. In Jack's eyes, the flame of determination burned brightly once again. In fact, he looked quite smug as he always did when fighting against a foe that he knew he could win over.

Ellen saw the look in his eyes. She met his gaze and gave a playful smile. And with that, she let her force go and let Jack's blade come plummeting down. But after she had given in, she did a quick-step backwards to evade Jack's blade. She had succeeded in unbalancing Jack. But Jack being the veteran warrior that he was also knew thing or two when it comes to keeping ones feet on the ground while in combat. He quickly placed his free hand on the ground, stopping his fall, and then doing a one-handed flip forward to regain his footing.

He soared through the air for a bit and as he did, time seemed to slow down for Jack. He focused on Ellen and planned out what to do next in his head. He could land on his feet and once again go at her with a powerful swing, or he could use her own tactic, what she just did, against her. For a moment, those two choices floated around Jack's mind... but he needed to act, and fast. Although there was no danger of him losing his life in this fight, he still did not want to lose. Jack was, after all, a very competitive guy.

With only a few more sends between him and the ground, he landed on his feet and held his sword beside him. He smirked and urged her to come at him with his free hand. Ellen did not budge for a few moments. She was quickly sifting through her thoughts on what course of action to take. Should she indulge him in making the next move? Or should she wait it out and see what Jack would do. The crew grew silent within that moment, all eyes were now on them. What would the other do? Who would fall during the fight? Who would make the mistake of a single wrong move that would change the tide of the duel?

No one knew the answer, but Jack and Ellen stood firmly in their spots. Jack still held his hand up, urging Ellen to charge at him with all his might. A sweat drop began to form on Ellen's forehead and slowly trickled down. She secretly gritted her teeth beneath her closed mouth, making sure to not let Jack see that she was perplexed with what she should do. But he was just taunting her now, him smiling like that at him with his hand making that gesture to come attack.

"What's wrong Ellen?" said Jack. "You-" he stopped short and swung his sword. "Chicken?"

She gave in. She lunged forward with amazing speed. Jack didn't know the real measure of her capabilities, her speed being one, but Jack dodged it perfectly by doing a back-flip. As he did, he kicked her hand which held her sword and put her out of balance as her sword-hand was flung into the air, Ellen nearly losing her grip on her blade.

Ellen was a bit confused, not anticipating that Jack would do such a move. In fact, neither did Jack. He had thought of something completely new, not going with his previous choices. And as Ellen was off balanced, Jack landed firmly on his feet again and closed the gap as quickly as he could. He held his blade just a few inches from her neck, his face now being quite close to hers.

The once silent crew broke their silence with their cheering as the winner of the fight had been decided. And instead of Captain, they now screamed a cheered on a name.

"JACK! JACK!" one of the crew yelled at the top of his lungs. "JACK!" the others followed suit.

"I guess I win this one." Jack told Ellen. She just smiled, closed her eyes and let go of her sword, letting it fall to the ground and emit the ringing sound of metal colliding with the surface of her ship. "Yep. You win."

Hope you guys liked the third chapter. I assure you, there will be more to come. Till then, cheerio~ LOL