Mulengu screamed in pain as once more as his right arm had not produced a magical creature as it had done in the Nexus, but rather a violent burst of red chaotic energy that launched him upon his back again.
He had crashed into the earth so many times that an outline of his body had formed in the dirt. He sighed as he pulled out piece's of dirt that had slipped into his clothing and some into areas he wished that they hadn't.
He silently thanked Deus for the forest areas outside the Anjin city being so deep and remote. He could hide this shame here, and the others would not be able to laugh at him.
Though the two crows high in the trees had not failed to hide their amusement, since they started the creatures had been cawing in a manner all too similar to laughter.
"Again!, really?" Tomoe had grown just as frustrated as he was.
He groaned as he picked himself up from the dirt once more. He really wished that he could be in the arena watching the fights instead of being here, but escaping Tomoe Ashikage Anjin had proved difficult.
She had spent a good hour teaching him the basics of being a proper animus, and she had spent another two hours doing nothing but watching him fail miserably again and again. He could understand her frustration, but he never wanted to do this in the first place.
"This isn't as easy as it looks okay!" He snapped at her as he looked at his right arm, his tattoo was burning hot, in fact there was some smoke and steam leaving it. The worst of it was a off and on pain in his arm that felt like it was being crushed by some invisible rope.
They reminded him of a overused machine getting over heated. He felt just the same and he absolutely hated it. The constant attempts to try and summon any thing were proving to be more of a pain than he had expected it to be.
"You said you did this before right?" She asked him with her arms folded in a manner that reminded him too much of Ursa when she was trying to teach you something and you refused to listen.
"In the Nexus yes. It was just a tug in my gut and i pulled the thing, but now all it feels like is that my arm is being crashed and burned and it also hurts my head very badly" what he would have given just to have a ice box besides him to cool down his arm.
"This doesn't make any sense. One moment you can draw light beings from the realm of light and then in a second you accesses the plane of Norghad in order to draw an easy to summon beast. How is this even possible!?" She face palmed a little too hard that she had a mark left upon her forehead.
"I don't know, you are the expert in summoning. Also what is a Norghad?".
" weren't you paying any attention to anything i said when we started this whole training session! " she sounded outraged and she stomped her feet into the ground, hard enough to leave a dent in the earth.
Mulengu still remained on the ground trying to remember anything but what Tomoe said. He brought his right hand to his chin and he plunged into the deep archives of his mind.
The only thing that he could find was Tomoe running her mouth without rest, but the memory was on mute.
"I am going to have to go with no" he would come to regret those choice of words as the enraged Ashikage woman picked up a pebble that met his skull.
"Watch it, are you mad!?" Mulengu demanded as he rubbed the swelling red bruising spot upon his dark brown flesh.
"Yes, i am mad, you inconsiderate jerk" Tomoe picked up more rocks and she managed to prove her skills as a markswoman as she furiously pelted him with more rocks. Mulengu tried his best to protect himself but too many of them reached their mark.
"Stop it!" Mulengu managed to get away from Tomoe's rocks that would have added more bruising's to his body.
The much shorter Ashikage woman sighed in disappointment. She blew away whatever anger had grown within her with several deep breaths that tempered her.
" Its genetic alright. Her and Ursa are too alike when it comes to their tempers and being sticks in the mud " he thought as he glanced at her in this cooling down meditative state of hers.
"Now listen closely, because i won't say this again. Nor will i be as merciful as i am being to you" she made a fist as she spoke, a clearly visible threat " The Norghad is a higher dimensional realm existing in the multiverse. Just like the realm of light and dark, though far lesser than the other two. In the past on earth, animus sorcerers would tap into this realm to make contracts with magical beings existing within it. But since magic is everywhere on Jord and the amount of magical creatures is large in number, you could easily get animus contracts here as long as you have an aptitude in such. But since there aren't any worth while creatures in this area, the Norghad is our only choice for now and it is your best to get something good" she explained as methodically and clearly as she could.
"What a mouth full".
" That is not what matters! " Tomoe kept stomping the ground " Look, just focus only on the magical energy building up in your arm. Then you will be able to reach past the doors of existence and into the Norghad".
" Its not that easy. Every single time i try your style, it feels like something is coiled around my arm and it is being crashed, while it feels like my arm is being burned alive on top of it. Nothing about reaching past doors of existence is happening, if anything it feels like trying to punch passed a reinforced wall" he showed her his arms and the glowing markings had the distinct purple lining of bruised flesh around them.
Tomoe recoiled in disgust and shame from the sight of his arm, she couldn't even look him in the eyes "Maybe we should rest up until you heal. We are going nowhere with this anyway, maybe some of my old books have something to help you there".
" Thank heaven's " Mulengu said before falling upon his back as his fatigue returned in full force.
Just then, a sharp giggling sound cut through the trees like a blade would. Tomoe turned to them with her great spear ripped out from the earth besides her and Mulengu leaped back onto his feet and drew Harbinger as he also readied himself for battle.
He winced as he tried to tighten his right grip across the handle of the blade. The damage caused by his attempts to summon a magical creature had left him with a right arm that was almost useless from the pain.
" Why so jumpy guys?" Out of the darkness caused by the thick amount of trees around them stepped two young women.
The first was short with scruffy honey brown hair and light freckles and if Mulengu was being honest it was easy to mistake her for a skinny young man. She even looked the part in her black and green pirates clothing with a single cutlass sheathed by her side and her pants were shorts that gave a eyeful of her toned leg's.
Mulengu forced himself to not look beneath her waist area, least he be caught starring at her legs.
The second was dressed in indigo dress that like the other girl had short's, but was overlaid with armor which was covered in dry leopard skin. Upon her head was resting a bronze metal band with horns upon it that made her appear to be like a two horned oni.
"Hojos" Tomoe said the name with all the disgust in the world.
The second girl glared back at Tomoe for her insult, while the other seemed to beam with happiness. She was behaving as if she hadn't even heard what Tomoe had said or rather like she had misinterpreted it for some kind of compliment.
"Toto, is that any way to speak amongst friends" the first one playfully wagged her finger at Tomoe who snarled like dog.
Mulengu tried to hide his snickers at the name ToTo, but his ribs could only withhold so much and that sound escaped his lips. Tomoe sharply turned her head towards him with a glare that made him try a little better to hold back his laugh but alas he failed again.
" What do you want here Penelope?. Shouldn't you and your horned friend over here be readying yourselves for any future fights you might be in, or has the Hojo house truly fallen" Tomoe said as she turned from him and to the young women.
"That sounds boring" Penelope groaned in a manner a child would if their parent ordered them to do any chores "Its more fun to hang out with you guys".
Penelope sat upon the ground with a giant grin and Mulengu could see blood vessels becoming increasingly visible upon Tomoe's forehead as her face became as red as tomato.
"Then go have your fun some place else, we are busy" Tomoe was clearly losing her temperament with Penelope who had just popped a bubblegum into her mouth.
"But you seem to be having much more fun than we could, its just gonna be don't touch that Penelope, don't run across the roofs, don't talk to the guests and all that jazz. Besides, we are friends right Toto" the way she spoke to Tomoe was so innocent and childish that Mulengu couldn't imagine himself being mad at her, too bad then that Tomoe wasn't him.
"Stop calling me with that stupid nickname, you know how much i loath it. It was a childhood thing that must be left in the past dead and buried!" She blew a fuse as she ranted at Penelope with omnidirectional hand gestures and a lot of dirt stomping.
"Oh, come on Tomoe, don't be a stick in the mud. We all had nicknames, it's okay to call me Penny and you can call Fuujin here ujin. Hey you, what's your name?".
Said Fuujin just sighed in a disappointed manner, like this was something that happened often with this Penelope. Though looking at this Fuujin girl, Mulengu couldn't help but think that she reminded him of someone or something.
It was on the tip of his tongue but he just couldn't tell what it was.
Mulengu was startled as he realized that all three eyes were resting upon his person " Mulengu Mulengu " he answered in a hasty voice.
" Cool, we can call him M two. Cool name right" Mulengu could come up with a thousand nicknames from his own, that were far better than M two.
Unfortunately he could not have any room to protest as Tomoe went back to yelling at Penelope, who was treating this with little to no care. The other girl Fuujin was giving him a long look as if she was contemplating some deep thoughts.
"Is something wrong?" He asked her and she diverted her eyes from him.
"Its...you don't recognize me, do you?" She looked at him with a deeper expression as if trying to fish some truth from within him.
"I...i don't, sorry" he tried squinting his eyes but he just couldn't tell who she was.
The girl seemed to be genuinely upset as she crossed her arms with a huff. She took a few steps closer as if trying to get him to closer inspect her face to see if there was anything that he had missed.
Something about how the leopard clang on to her. Then it hit like a lightning bolt called down by Thor "Winder?".
A brief smile answered his question and the others turned to him and the girl who he had known before planet earth was cosmic dust. Tomoe seemed to get what the name winder meant, Penelope seemed rather oblivious and confused.
" Hey Fufu, what does winder mean?" Mulengu might have forgotten the face but even he couldn't forget that name.
"How could you forget the vigilante of the skies, Winder. The daughter of the hero Breakfront, a member of the Guardians, that Winder" he tried to explain but nothing seemed to light up behind Penelope's eyes.
Fuujin or Winder just sighed " Forgive her. She is too much like this".
"You two know each other" Tomoe finally decided to chip in.
"Well yeah we were part of the vigilante system, didn't Mr Falcon tell you guys?".
" wait, you and Ursa were capes?" Tomoe seemed even more confused.
"We all were, i mean you must have heard of red lightning and sharpshooter right" they hadn't been anything significant back then, but their little group had carried their weight.
"Never heard of them" Penelope answered as she rise up again.
"Where were you when earth was being terrorized by city wide kaijus?" Even Tomoe couldn't believe this level of willful ignorance.
"Look guys it's okay" Winder decided to end whatever argument was going to break out " It's strange meeting you like this though, can't believe that old Tundra turned out to be a prince, its like something out of a fantasy story ".
" Yeah it is" it had taken Mulengu months just to come to terms with it when he first found out " Tell me, how have the others been coping, i haven't heard any news from the other vigilantes? ".
" Well some retired and others like you and me became knight's, i last heard that Bright had skyrocketed to the Arumu rank".
"Who's Bright?" Penelope asked again and Mulengu felt like dumping a bucket of ice water upon her.
"No one special, just the number ranked vigilante on earth. You know that guy who was constantly on tv, toys and every billboard that could manage to find an excuse to cram him upon it" the sarcasm was plain to bare and either Penelope was mocking him or she was just that naive answered with.
"Sounds like a cool dude, i wouldn't mind fighting him to see how good he actually is".
Winder just sighed, Tomoe face palmed so hard that the red mark remained upon her forehead and Mulengu just couldn't form any coherent thoughts after listening to her speak.
" Anyway, enough of all that. Why are you guys trying to do a summoning? " Penelope asked them as she stood up.
"I a..." Mulengu tried to say something but Tomoe's hand came down upon his mouth stopping him from speaking.
"Its nothing Penelope, please leave" she gave a forced smile to Penelope who looked skeptical.
"You are training to be a Animus" as the words left Penelope's mouth her eyes went wide almost like she had just received some kind of divine revelation.
Tomoe on the other hand looked like the devil himself had appeared before her to deliver horrifying news to her. She raised her arms at Penelope who was vibrating from shear excitement as if she was talking down a child or a dog.
"Now Penny, you like that nickname right Penny?" Penelope nodded her head enthusiastically " Let's not do something stupid okay, you can leave now... as a matter of fact we can all leave right guy's... ".
Tomoe's eyes held a desperate plea for him and winder to nod in agreement. One look into wide diluted eyeballs of his Ashikage teammate told him all he needed to know. In fact, winder joined in the nodding and agreement over Tomoe's words.
" You are doing it wrong" a chill went down his spine as he realized how easy it was for anyone to see through Tomoe's ranting " You should be training to be a Animus by doing some good old fashioned fighting ".
" What!?" Tomoe's throat must have been bleeding because that shriek just made Mulengu's eardrums to tremble from the sound waves.
"Enough talk, come on Fufu, let's make a animus out of this boy!" Penelope reached to her side and drew out her basket hilted broadsword.
"Penelope n...!" Tomoe tried to say something but a swinging board sword was enough to silence her as she leaped out of the way.
"Stop talking like that, you have to get into the groove if you want to learn how to summon or control as an Animus" Penelope loudly declared as her sword clashed with Tomoe's spear.
"Penelope, don't do anything stupid!" Tomoe shouted.
" How are you and your student supposed to be Animus if he cant get into the groove " Penelope might have been a air head but she was good swordswoman as she had easily pushed Tomoe into the defensive.
"How the hell do you know?" Tomoe managed to use the spear to place a distance between her and Penelope.
Penelope smirked and raised right her arm for the skies "Come forth, Cridilion!".
From behind her the world began to twist and distort as if reality itself was being bent by some cosmic force. Within seconds a creature materialized with a green tint of energy running across it. The creature was a crocodile that toward over the woman who had summoned it.
" You are an Animus? " Tomoe sounded dumbstruck at the sight of this beast bound to the girl before her.
"Yes, now its time to learn!" rather than charging Tomoe like before, she came towards Mulengu.
She was a blur and he only managed to stop her blade because he was already on guard. Their two blades clang against each other and both combatants held as best as they could against their foe.
"Fufu, Toto, you two have fun" Penelope declared with a manic grin as she tried to overpower Mulengu, but he held his ground proving his greater strength.
"Hey look, i love a good fight here and there but...!" A flash of pain erupted through his body and his senses were jumbled from the girls headbutt that sent him stumbling for eight steps.
"Don't talk, get in the groove boy!" Penelope declared as faster than he could react, her heel collided into his gut and Mulengu hit the ground, after he flew through multiple trees.
The world was a blur and his body shook from the pain as he pushed himself from under the large hunks of trees that held him down.
"Damn it" he cursed as he took deep breaths to strengthen his wobbly legs.
A flash of sunlight off a steel surface alerted him to the incoming bartering ram that was Penelope Hojo, the girl would have caused him some serious injuries had his training with Morigan's projectiles not allowed him to knock her away.
"What the hell is wrong with you!?" his irritation had turned to full blown anger as he glared at her.
"That's not the way to get into the groove" she appeared to be dancing around as she tried to get in close to draw blood from him.
"I don't know what your damn groove is, and i don't care!" A bursts of red lightning arced around his body and Mulengu felt his strength double.
His roar was more akin to beast as hr got on the offensive. Each swing from his blade knocked Penelope back by tens of meters but it wasn't enough to slow her down.
"You don't care about the groove?, impossible" Penelope managed to dodge Harbinger almost taking off a lot of her hair" How else are you supposed to became an Animus if you aren't synchronized with the arcane flow".
"Maybe i don't...!" Blinding white hot pain and disorientation followed as something big and strong came from behind and collided into him.
Mulengu didn't know how long he was in the air or how many trees and rocks he crashed through before he came back down to the earth with a thud that shook his bones.
He groaned as he pulled himself out of the dirt, sticks and grass that had made itself to places that he would never want it to reach. He shook his pants a little and the dirt rolled out.
"I hope Cridilion hasn't hurt you too bad" Penelope atop her monstrous beast almost sounded concerned as the thing lumbered towards him.
"Oh, now you care" he pulled himself off the ground with a few groans.
"Of course i care, it sucks to see a fellow Animus who can't cross the last threshold after coming so far...SUCH A THING IS HERESY, NOW REACH INTO THE FLOW AND...!!" Her shouting was stopped when she accidentally swallowed something that made her begin to cough out as she punched her chest.
"You know if you think behaving like a quirky spazze makes you endearing then lady do i have another thing to say to you" he cooling said as he began to circle her great beast.
The creature might have been slow on its feet, but Mulengu was not foolish enough to forget it's strength and durability was greater than his. Standing atop it, Penelope was like an imposing figure, untouchable to him.
She gasped in offense and stuck out her tongue to him before saying "There is no need to be such a big jerk!".
" It doesn't mean that i am wrong! " he shouted back at her as he shook his fist at her.
She puffed up her cheeks and huffed in indignation "Where was i...I MEAN, SENSE THE FLOW WITHIN YOU, DRAW INTO THE CONNECTION GRIPING YOUR ARM AND DRAW IT OUT AS YOU'RE ETERNAL BUDDY!".
" What even is that? " Mulengu tried processing what she said when he felt it again, that bone crushing coiled around his arm.
He tried to speak but the pain increased even greater to the point that he brought to his knees screeching in pain as his right was broken into a thousand pieces.
"THAT'S IT, CALL UPON YOUR SOUL BUDDY!" She might have been shouting but Mulengu could hear her over the pain, his screaming and the large blinding explosion of magical energy that coiled around him like a serpent.
Somewhere else in the bottom of the Ashikage compounds lower levels, Ursa was having a lesson of her own.
Hanzo Ashikage her uncle had managed to find them an empty room for her to practice the art of the dark. The gauntlet was unbearably cold in her hand but she had now gotten used to it.
Upon her palm a dark purple flame hovered and Ursa would be a liar if she didn't find the forbidden flames to be one of the most memorizing things that she had ever seen.
"Ursa" she heard Hanzo sharply call, drawing her from the hypnotic trance that her admiring of the flame had drawn her into.
"Sorry uncle" she said to him, not failing to see the tense expressions on both he and Benkei.
Drawing more upon the cold, Ursa's flame increased in size and intensity before she hurled it at the test dummy that was instantly reduced to a dark purple sludge.
"Impressive, why don't you hit a bench for ten..." Hanzo began to say and Ursa couldn't help but feel a wave of anger explode within her.
"No!" She snapped at him, silencing her uncle who looked startled as well as Benkei and the two shared a look " WE HAVE JUST STARTED AND YOU WANT US TO STOP BECAUSE YOU ARE AFRAID, THERE IS NO WAY THAT I AM DOING THAT CHIEF! ".
" Ursa..." He tried once to talk her out of her choice but Ursa would not let him, too much was resting upon her shoulder's and she would throw away her resolve today.
"No" rather than a outburst she spoke in a calm seething voice that silenced him as a thin wave of dark energy pulsed from her body making her more akin to some dread thing from the darkest of tales " Either help him or i continue on my own".
What argument and fight that Hanzo Ashikage Anjin had died out as if snuffed out by the cold.
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I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos