Word count for the whole chapter: 6.511
Fade stood above him, his arms crossed. He longed for the moment he’s going to work alone. This man was giving him enough creeps. Sitting crouched, he slightly removed the paper.
Damn me. This is not what I’d expected.Even though he knew they breached the outer defenses, he didn’t think they had reached their end yet. He completely removed the paper, for Fade to see too.
“Great Fort Mountain is before us”, he declared. The giant city filling even larger hole inside the mountain was down under. If Hashi ran through the paper, he would have fell down the cliff more than hundred meters high. There were steel ladders inserted into the cliff though, leading down.
The city itself was supported by four stone columns. They were not built, the city was simply dug around them. At the ceiling of this enormous cave, there was blinding light, shining like a tiny, human-made sun. There were also dozens of lights shining from the columns themselves, to the places where they would shadow its main source.
From here, Hashi could easily see the four main districts of the town. The one just under them was the military district, crowded with barracks. On the opposite end, there was a something like a usual town, where civilians have lived. Third district was the place with the magnificent buildings, so he guessed that’s where the leaders and important people were. The last one was only few buildings, one being gigantic prison. Even from this distance, he could discern that it was a prison because of the large scale of the building. He could also see the train station, rails disappearing into the depths of the mountain. The rest of that district was incorporated into the mountain itself. That’s where all the shady deals must be happening. That’s where I’m heading to.
Hashi was almost certain that only few people knew about what was going on inside here. The others could suspect; that was the reason for The State to forbid leaving the fort. This place was the center of its military power. Only the most skilled people would be assigned to work here. Military researches were the central thing going on in here. All the soldiers who would come here have already finished the best state universities, but inexperience was what they could never achieve, be it outside or here. That’s why running through four platoons could have been that easy. They all hesitated; not for long, but a blink of an eye was enough for him to slip their throats.
Medical research was also the thing. For the few hundred years past, not a single man had died of illness inside The State. Yet his friends and comrades had all been eradicated due to carrying deadly disease. He called it bullshit, and that’s what it is. Shael had long ago told him the true reasoning behind that attack.
But it’s not only the revenge that made him do this. That man’s goal… Shael’s goal, it was righteous. It was what had to be done, and the men of sword all felt when something had to be done. They could feel it in their bones. Last but not least, hehadto do it, because he had a debt to pay.
Master, I can feel the fire of this world is slowly turning pale. I can feel the wood that’sburning became rotten so long ago, and the fire will soon perish. My bones tremble at the very thought of helping change this world. My sword stands still in my hand as it never stood before. Even it is certain of what we have to do. Didn’t you tell me that thousands of years had passed since the man of sword had been one with their weapons? I feel the sword became my brother, and what is there closer to the man? You were all my brethren. That’s why we will enjoy every drop of blood we spill in this path of salvation. Forgive me master, I can’t fulfill my promise, I won’t meet you when I’m buried. I’m going to a different place, somewhere down below. Forgive me, my brothers.
The red dot flashed across his shoulder. They were aiming for Fade. He moved his sword just in time to see the bullet split in two.
“Lay down.” he ordered. As soon as Fade listened, Hashi leaped.
After falling more than ten meters, he grabbed the ladder with his left arm stopping him in place. The small army of soldiers gathered down, about hundred meters under.
As soon as he noticed the red dots have found him, he let go. The bullets hissed above his head, maybe even scratching his bun. This time he was falling much longer.
“This is what you made!” he yelled mid-air, even though there was no way for him to be heard. After falling more than thirty meters, he caught the ladder again. The pain was there, but his hand had served him well. Two more leaps had to be made. The sword seemed to have disappeared when he was forced to reflect more bullets. Again, he leaped.
Even while falling, Hashi managed to reflect all the bullets that would otherwise hit him.
Master had never taught me this. This is the revenge itself!His blood was racing inside him. Trembling had taken him and, not thinking, he never caught the ladder again.
Strong as eternal stone.He crashed into the group of soldiers after more than sixty meters of freefall.
Dust rose when his body crashed into the ground, splashing the solder he fell into. Men started screaming, and the blood flew from more than one place at a time. Amongst those inexperienced soldiers, grew chaos. No, it was not the toll for the lack of experience. No man would ever be ready to fight this monster.
* * *
A soldier stood in disbelief next to a small crater where his friend’s twisted remains were, but there was no one else there with him. He dropped his gun, while he watched the dust and the sprays of blood appearing at random places. It was only a second of pain when something flashed next to him. He rose his left arm only to see that his hand wasn't there anymore. He didn’t even cry. His eyes were shutting slowly, him losing consciousness in front of the unexplainable massacre that unfolded. He could do nothing but die.
* * *
His legs were broken. He had awoken in the middle of slaughtered mass of soldiers, and it was done by his sword. In fact, he couldn’t move at all. His right arm was mercilessly clenching the bloodied sword. Left arm, he didn't even feel at all. Like through the mist, he remembered leaping down the cliff, and catching onto the ladders. Every single bone inside his left hand was shattered.
He shut his eyes, and memories broke in.
“Never surrender to the rage Hashi, the man of a sword must remember it."
“Why are you telling me that, master?” the boy said with innocence in his voice.
“Because everyone born into this world is born with the rage inside. It threatens to take over every day of your life. There will be no true peace in this world until all the people overcome their rage.”
The boy was amazed, yearning to learn everything his master told him.
“But you can never beat the rage within. You can only keep it shut; it is like a beast threatening to tear you apart if released.”
“Why are we learning to fight then, master?” the boy seemed confused.
“Fight?” his master smiled. “Sometimes man must fight, but fight is not the essence of rage. I’m not teaching you how to fight. I’m teaching you how to become one with the world around. When there is someone you have to fight, you must never forget that he is your brother, made of the same flesh and blood you are. You respect him, and you love him.”
“But what if you kill someone?”
“In this world we live in, these bodies we have, everything dies sometimes. When you die, you will hold hands with those you had killed as well as every other human left this painful world. You become one. That’s the world we truly live in. But if you surrender to your rage, you can never reach that world my Hashi. That is because, rage makes you kill the human just because you want it. Rage has no love for the humans, no respect.”
Swords clashed. He looked Reyel into the eyes, with respect. But he was stronger, and overcome his opponent soon enough.
“You beat me”, Reyel desperately said, on his knees, the sword lying on his shoulder, ready to cut the neck.
Hashi moved the sword, and bowed. “You are foolish to challenge me to a fight, brother”, he said jokingly.
“Go to train”, master ordered. He seemed satisfied. Reyel ran away, but the master approached Hashi. “You are truly the best student I’ve ever had.”
Hashi thankfully bowed to his master.
“I want you to one day replace me, and that day is coming soon, my young Hashi.”
He stood in disbelief. Him? Becoming master? He knew he was the best with the sword, but that thought never came to his mind. He never imagined master would ever die.
Sword fell to the ground, and he hugged his old teacher. It surprised even him, how he reacted, but he couldn’t hold his feelings. Tears ran down his cheeks.
“I will go train harder!” Hashi enthusiastically said, wiping the tears of joy away.
“You no longer need to learn the way of the sword”, master held him for the arm. “From now on you will fight your inner enemy, the only enemy you will ever encounter. I’m certain you can beat it.”
Hashi blinked the tears away.
“What is happening?” Hashi woke up to the sound of rifles. Reyel’s voice was heard from somewhere outside:”State soldiers are attacking!”
Confused and scared, he jumped to his feet, pulling some clothes on. He opened the door, sword already in his hands.
Bloodbath. Bullets were piercing through his friends. Reyel charged towards one, but he was shot down.
“No!” he screamed. The blood in his veins became hot, and his eyes were swollen from tears.
“Run Hashi!” master appeared with the sword in his hands. “Preserve the way of man of the sword! You are the master now! Run!”
He wanted to stay. He wanted to kill the enemy attacking their peaceful home. He wanted to taste their blood. But one thing he could not do was disobey his master.
He managed to run away to the north, and found shelter within the last great wilderness, the Nation’s Forest. They tried to follow him inside, and he killed them all.
He opened his eyes. Voices were all around him.
“We caught the intruder!”
“Hundred and fifty eight dead, sir.”
“Let me shoot him! Let me shoot him!” someone screamed in pain. So many souls he can never hold hands with.I’m sorry master, I have failed you.
Everything hurt when they lifted his body.
I wish I could finish my task.Being carried away, his body almost lifeless, he realized he hadn’t only failed his master; he had failed everyone.