Serena hit the ground again, pounding it with her fist in frustration. She had never failed anything in training before, but Stephen's power disk was kicking her butt up and down the Shiba House's grounds.
"Serena focus!" Terry beckoned her. She just wanted to run across, grab him by the throat and strangle him until he stopped kicking. What the hell did he think she was doing? Did he think she wanted this? Did he think she was slacking off? Did he think she was just taking it easy?
Serena hated failing, she hated feeling like a failure, but it was quickly becoming a familiar feeling. She had barely graduated high school before she fell ill. She had never attended college. She had never even passed a driver's test. Hell, she hadn't even really found the power disk, Stephen had made it. With the exception of finding Kasamune, she had never accomplished anything in her life.
"Get UP!" He screamed at her. "Come on Serena, you're tougher than this, get UP!"
She threw Kasamune aside, shaking her head. She hated feeling so weak, so worthless, but there was no other way to look at it. She was a failure in everything she had ever done. She was a nothing, a nobody. Terry had apparently hitched his pony to the wrong cart.
She had figured that he liked her. Hell, she had figured that out some time ago, but she was actively trying to get him to turn away. Terry was just one of those guys that everything worked out for. She could never remember seeing him reading a medical journal...hell, she couldn't remember seeing him read full stop, and yet he just seemed to know things chapter and verse that she could never fathom. He had quoted entire chapters from text books that baffled even Ji, but she could never for one moment understand how he knew such things.
He was barely older than Emily. There was a year in it, maybe two. What business did she have feeling this way about someone who had a real future? One that didn't involve swinging swords or punching faces. He knelt down next to her, putting an arm around her.
"Don't touch me!" She snapped, shoving him away. She knew what Mia meant when she told her that she was worried about Terry's interest in her. He didn't know what was best for him. He had no idea how much he was risking thinking about her. So far, she had thrown her baby sister into a war, gotten her first boyfriend murdered at the hands of Serrator...pretty much everyone in her life had suffered just through knowing her. She didn't want that for Terry. She wanted him to find some cute girl, probably some nursing student or suchlike, have a bunch of kids, and forget all about her.
"Serena, you own this!" He told her. "Kasamune is YOUR SWORD! You own it! Get the hell up!"
She picked up Kasamune, glaring at him hatefully. It was the only thing she could do. She didn't have the brains to do anything else, all she could do was get back on her feet and try again. It was the story of her life, get knocked down, get back up, keep fighting.
Despite the way he felt about her, Terry hated this side of Serena. He beckoned her back to her feet, knowing she would get up, she always did. She was easily the most resilient person he had ever met, something that had once very nearly ended up killing her. She was so desperate to ensure that her baby sister didn't have to take her place than when she had fallen ill, she didn't say anything to anyone, not even her parents. She had dragged herself to her feet every day for months. She had masked her symptoms behind pills, keeping her pain from everyone, even Emily, before one day it was too much for even her to hide. In the end, she collapsed, unable to stand in her back yard, and once the doctors examined her, they came to the conclusion that her condition was terminal. If she had only spoken up a few months earlier, they would have been able to do something to help, but by the time she finally did say something, it was hopeless.
Serena lunged at him, swinging for the fences, at which Terry just stepped aside, letting her face-plant straight into the lawn. He turned to her, glaring at her.
"God Damn it Serena, you're better than this!" He snapped. "On my best day, I should be about five hours behind you, but I'm barely breaking a sweat!"
"What do you want me to say Terry?" She asked him. "Do you want me to confirm the fact that I suck?"
"I know I suck!" She wailed as she started to sob uncontrollably. "I've never done anything of note in my life! I suck so much that for the first time in history, the second child has had to take up the Samuraizer because her sister..."
"Get away from me!" She screamed. "Anyone that has anything to do with me ends up either hurt or dead!"
"You're better off without me." She murmured. "Everyone is."
"Serena, that isn't true." Terry told her.
"Tell me one thing that I've done right." She told him. "Go ahead and try!"
"Dekker can slice a boulder weighing nearly a ton in half without breaking a sweat." He reminded her.
"I didn't ask about..."
"You blocked it without thinking." He reminded her. It had indeed happened. Instead, she could remember kneeling over him, throwing her arm up, only for an armoured sleeve to appear. She didn't know why it had happened, all she knew was that for once, the power disk had done something...anything at all.
"Serena, you have no idea how amazing you are do you?" He asked her.
"Amazing like a bearded lady?" She asked him. "Terry, I am..."
Terry didn't bother trying to argue with her. She was so stubborn that she would never discuss the matter anyway. She wasn't much of a talker, she dealt with things head on! She didn't think, she just reacted to the world around her.
As he ended up on his back, looking up at her, Serena was looking down on him. He just gave her that smirk she both loved and hated.
"You have found the secret to unlocking that power." He reminded her. "You just can't remember what you did."
"So, I'm as useless as always." She muttered, helping him up.
"I will never believe you're useless." He told her. "Now, let's try recreating what happened. Clearly something about that day was the X-factor."
In the country, Brenda was sitting in the bedroom, smiling contentedly. Ji had a lot more fun than she did on their little geology expedition, but she couldn't help finding it a little cute that he just lost himself in his hobby.
She looked to a map, smiling as she noticed that Ji had marked out places he wanted to go once the war was over, presuming it ever did end.
"So, you want to go back to Monalua?" She asked him.
"The volcano there has produced many, very interesting stones." He told her, running his hands through his hair in the shower.
"So, what about the Rykker Fields?" She asked him. "Surely there can't be too many interesting stones out there."
"Well, it IS an old field." He told her.
"Well, what about the Industrial Zone?" She asked.
"Brenda, what are you talking about?" Ji asked her.
"Well, on this map, you have a few places marked out." She told him. "You know, they mark a straight line. I guess you're already planning..."
Ji came out of the bathroom, looking to the map.
"Uh...honey, you forgot to put on a towel..."
"This...I...I can't..." He stammered. "I can't believe I never noticed this!"
She watched as he took a ruler, drawing a line through all the points marked on the map. They were indeed lined up perfectly in a straight line.
"Ji, what's happening?" She asked.
"Do you remember what I told you about geology?" He asked her. "You know, how you can break open rocks?"
"Uh...yeah." She said, a little confused. "First..."
"You create a stress line." He interrupted her. "Then, you hammer home a wedge."
"Alright?" She asked, wondering where he was going with this. He pointed to the map, indicating the line
"It's so clear now!" He stated. "I...I can't believe..."
"Ji, what are you talking about?" She asked him.
"It's a plan so dangerous, no Nighlock has ever attempted it." He told her. "It threatens both worlds..."
"Ji, what are you talking about?" She reiterated. He pulled a stone out of his luggage, placing it on the table.
"You create a stress line, then you only need one strike." He told her.
"To do what?" She asked him. He put a chisel to the stone, then struck it with a hammer, causing both halves of the stone to fly in different directions. Brenda just looked to him.
"You said with the same principle..."
"You can break any stone." Ji confirmed. "I think Serrator's plans are worse than we ever imagined."
"I think he's trying to split open the whole world!" Ji told her, looking back to the map. "Look at it, this map...all his attacks...they're not random, they're all focussed, there's a pattern, a design..."
"Ji, you're scaring me." Brenda told him.
"You should be scared." He answered, flipping out his Samuraizer. "If I'm right, everyone should be scared."