Thirty days had gone by and the eleven warriors are much closer to their goal. Without Tianzai's interference, the journey had gone on quite smoothly that the warriors are in a good mood. But the horses they travel on seem skittish as they stop by an in a small town to rest for the night.
It was nearing sunset,
warm peach colour clouds fading from the cool purplish sky. The eleven
warriors had headed into town in good time, for the guards were about to
close the gates for the night.
"Finally. A warm
bed and food that I didn't catch myself." Kyo stretched himself as he handed
his horse over to the stableman.
"I'm going take a
nice warm bath." ChunLi mumbled,
"You have to take
a bath too. You stink."
"If you don't bath,
you can forget about food." She hissed softly in his ear, she smiled seeing
his resolve weakening.
Goosebumps!!!" Iwa made a disgusted look and rubbed her arms as if she
"Owww!!!" Iwa rubs
her head after a bale of flying hay hits her.
Some time later the warriors rejoined at the dining hall for their meal. Each and everyone refreshed and relaxed.
"So what will it
be?" the young lady waiting the table asked.
"So. How far are
we from our destination?" Galford poured some tea for everybody.
"Walk?" Galford asked
"Who in their right
mind would put up such a spell?" Galford voiced out.
"Yeah. Who can you
tell when the traps get you." Iwa picks out some food from the dishes to
her own plate.
"Stop that. Be patient."
ChunLi slaps Ryu's arm to distract him. He glance at her, then to the food
and at everybody who is picking some portion of food out.
Iwa and Kumori just
gave him a wide grin and spoke no further. Ryu watches everybody seriously
until they signaled that what they had taken would be their dinner.
"!ITADAKIMASU!!!! (I'm going to begin / I will eat)" Ryu roars as he claps his palms together in a slight bow.
With that he attacks the food on the table with such ferocity that the others held their plates with their left hand and ate with their right hand. They would rather not place their plates on the same table with Ryu. In case he grabs their meal by accident.
The others look nervously at Kyo. The young man has this sparkle in his eyes which hints that he has something up his sleeves. It seems that he alone intends to challenge the older warrior.
Kyo aims for a piece
of roast chicken, reaching in with double quick time he ends up grabbing
air, for Ryu happens to notice and is slightly faster. Kyo frowned and
glared at Iwa, Kumori and Rimururu. The trio tries hard to hold on to their
plates and not laugh at the same time.
food! And keep it coming." ChunLi calls out as she watches the food disappearing,
a glance to her left tells her that her plate of food is still in her hands
despite having look away for a short moment.
A gust of wind blows sand around their feet, a tall stranger walks in slowly as leaves swirls around him. He takes the empty seat beside Chizuru, a look of disappointment forms on his face. He had doubts as to whether he could beat Ryu to a nice rice cake.
"Hmmm…. I came late."
He mumbles, ignoring the burning glare Kyo gave him.
"You two did inform
them of the rules?" Geonitz checks with Iwa and Kumori. The duo nodded
"Be careful. She
might use those rules against you. Be alert. So long Aiko. I will return
when there is a need to." Geonitz got up and bows. The wind caused his
coat to flap around his legs as he makes his way out. He vanishes like
a breeze passing through.
Dinner was silent for the name of Legrene marred the mood. It seems that she had crossed swords in with quite a few people and left her poisonous mark.
"Who is this Legrene."
Rimururu asks, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
ChunLi and Ryu headed back upstairs to rest at the inn's roof garden. Sitting there on the bench with the stars twinkling in the night sky and the gentle wind caressing their face.
"The two of them
seemed nervous about going there." Ryu put his arm around ChunLi, he realized
that it had being a while since they took time out to watch the stars.
"Who won't notice. They're usually very relaxed. But mention 'there' or 'HER' and all seven of them turn cold. You have dealt with their kind longer than I had. Care to teach me a little secret or two." Ryu took a deep breath in, the lily based perfume on ChunLi's skin once again reminded him of things he nearly forgot. But then he was sick with worry for the last two or three months.
"It's a tomb. The
place we're going is their tomb." Gently she took up Ryu's hands.
"Us all. Because they would break a rule by bringing us there. Me and you because they can't guarantee if SHE would help us." With Ryu's hands in her palms she began rubbing them to bring some warmth to his cold hands. She found it strange that he actually has cold hands.
"What large fists
you have." She mumbles as she opens and closes his hands.
She knew what he means by that. She herself had being at the receiving end of those magnificently powerful fists before. But this pair of fist can fiercely offensive or lovingly gentle. She knew them like she knew him.
She was starting to miss those days, those days when they spent hour sparring whenever the mood hits them. And oddly enough they both have a liking for sparring on streams, seashores and grass fields. All for the sake of the effects of ripples, splashes and shock-waves
"If the implications
are so serious, why do they still take the risk?" Ryu brought the topic
"You realized that
when tomorrow comes there would be no turning turn back." Ryu nuzzled his
wife's head with his nose. ChunLi hops onto her feet, bending forward towards
him with her hands on her hips.
"Me regret? Never. Whatever it is. I'm going through it with you." Ryu leans forward till his nose touches hers.
Satisfied with his answer she rewards him a kiss on his nose. She then smiles at him as she pulls him to his feet. He bows while she curtsied, slipping his arm around her waist and pulling her close to him. They both began twirling around the around garden in accompaniment of some silent song.
Overhead a shooting star streaks across the sky. Good or bad omen depends on whose watching.
"Aisai. Look a shooting
star. Make a wish." He whispered softly.
For Tianzai and the mysterious 'HER' are indeed the proverbial rock and a hard place that they were stuck between. Oblivious to howling wolves ChunLi and Ryu dances on, for they have decided to face whatever obstacles tomorrow throws at them.