adventure, CharlotteCarrendar, City Gates Kazuhiko, City Gates Kyoko, combat, danger, gliders, Kazu, Kazuhiko, Kyoko, Mirari, rivalry, role play., SageWisdomce, sport, story, team, The Capital, Toshiro, writing
With Kahue handing out the bundles of gear that they were to wear and take with them on the next part of the testing series, Kyoko knew this was going to make for an awkward moment. Already she had come to accept the fact that Kahue for whatever reason simply didn’t like her. Holding her bundle tight to her chest, she followed along behind Kahue to the girl’s change area. It was not as large as she had imagined, but had everything that was needed as far as amenities go. Watching Kahue close the door behind her and then just starting to strip off her clothes, left Kyoko feeling a little intimidated. Not so much by her manner, but by the fact she didn’t appear to have any modesty.
Setting down her bundle, Kyoko kept her back to Kahue, rather than being caught staring at the girl, or worse; having to strike up a conversation. It was a very frosty moment, where neither girl spoke at all. Kyoko folded all her clothes neatly and set them into a pile, while finishing to put on her outfit, before sitting down on a bench to put on her socks and shoes. Glancing up through her bangs, she could see that Kahue had the body of an athlete. She must train at least every day to keep herself looking that good. Kyoko often wondered if it was the fact that Kahue had been part of a male group for so long, that she had more or less become one of the boys, or she did this, purely to keep up appearances. Kyoko now had something of a silent respect for Kahue, but she was not about to let her know that.
Finally dressed, and her drink bottle fixed to her belt, she rose to standing and then adjusted her pony tail, ready for the next part of the testing.
“Ready when you are, Kahue.” Kyoko said, showing an air of confidence as she kept her chin high.
Rise Arsenal – Men’s Locker room
Toshiro was again acting casually, as he took his bundle of clothes and followed Lucas and Kazu into the Men’s changing rooms. Tossing down his uniform for the day, he started to peel off his shirt, when Kazu tried to engage in some more casual conversation
“How do you think you fared on the written exam, Toshiro?”
Striking something of a model like pose, where he looked to be deep in thought, but wasn’t really, he cocked his head and said with a crooked smile.
“50/50.” He really didn’t place much emphasis on the written part of the test, and this may start to have alarm bells go off for Kazu. “I’m more of a Jock, to be honest. I do my thing up in the air. There…there you will see just what kind of a man I am.” He then winked, and went right back to getting dressed….at his leisure.
One thing was for sure, this was getting to be very interesting.
The room was deathly silent making the situation even more uncomfortable. Kyoko’s positive and confident attitude reminded Kahue of Casimiro. “I honestly have nothing against you Kyoko. I simply have a high mistrust of woman. Blame my mother,” she said without looking Kyoko in the eye. She tried to make a show of not caring, but it hurt that her mother was never there for her growing up. She didn’t exactly apologize to Kyoko, but she hoped that she would understand the gist of what she was trying to say. Before the situation got too awkward she opened the door and led the way back out to the common area. ‘How is it that we finished dressing before them? What primodonas’, Kahue thought to herself.
Men’s Changing Room
Kazuhiko was surprised by Toshiro’s response. It was true that you didn’t have to be a master of every subject to gain entry to the Arsenal, but your best subject had to be just that, the best. He would have to beat either Kahue or Kazuhiko in order to secure his spot. In that moment, Kazu came to the sudden realization that Toshiro had planned that all along. He cursed himself for not seeing it sooner when Tosh asked to spar with him first. The man also certainly wasn’t a coward since he didn’t want to let Kyoko wear him down before taking him on. He wanted to prove, without a doubt, that he was superior. “We will see,” was Kazu’s simple response.
He finished changing into his running gear and met Kahue and Kyoko back in the common area. Once everyone was assembled, he opened the door and made a right toward the glider bay. There were five identical standard models set aside for them. They wouldn’t have the luxury of using the newer, more sleek versions, having to prove their true skill with gliding. Kazu picked one up and slung it over his back. They would take the less scenic route around the perimeter to the gates. Distractions from the nosy citizens of Albisas were they last thing they needed. “We will walk the perimeter of the wall to the nearest gate. Once we leave the city limits, we can warm up and prepare for our run and hike.”
Hearing Kahue make a speech about how it was nothing personal of her attitude towards Kyoko, but more an overall distrust of women in general actually had the future Princess stop in her tracks a moment. Kahue didn’t even look at her as she spoke. More over her shoulder and putting it out there. The strangest part though, was that Kahue said “Blame my mother.’ Now, why would Kyoko ever even want to consider such a notion. As the tension continued, it was clear that whatever it was that had happened in her childhood with her Mother, had created the person that stood before her. Kyoko actually felt that this in a way was looking for sympathy for her actions. A weakness in fact. When we grow up, the path we chose to live is our own. To blame others for our short comings is a cop out. If Kahue continued to live her life in the shadow of the failings of her mother, she would be blind to all the good that is out there. Kyoko stopped before Kahue and said simply.
“Only we can chose the right path in this life. Don’t let the mistakes of others lead you to punish all others for their failings.”
That said, she simply walked out of the dressing room, and waited for Kazu and the others.
Men’s Changing Room
Toshiro really took his time getting ready. You would think he was going to take part in some fashion show with the length of time he spent on his hair alone. Why was he doing this, you might ask? Again, it was a tactic to be disarming. Giving off the idea that he felt so confident about how he would fare in the testing, that he may well do better than even Kazu had expected. Finally dressed and pleased with himself, he clapped his hands together, and headed for the door. With Lucas and Kazu, they met up with Kahue and Kyoko, who both looked stunning in their running gear. While Kyoko looked determined and pumped to get this next stage going, Kahue seemed, bothered. Toshiro made sure he grabbed the glider next to Kahue’s and tried his best to keep up with her on the way up to the nearest gate. It was clear, that he was wanting to race her….when the time came. Kyoko followed Kazu silently, but all the while mentally working out how she was going to fare once they started the run and hike.
Kazuhiko and Lucas took up the lead. Even going the long way around the perimeter of the city, they arrived at the gates quickly. Two sergeants who were on guard saw them and their eyes bulged a little. It had been a while since anyone from the air brigade tried to join the Rise Arsenal. By the time they came back, there would probably be a crowd of soldiers waiting to watch the sparring matches. Toshiro would probably nut in his shorts when he saw all the people congregated. A public victory seemed right up his alley, but Kazu would make sure to take the win. ‘I have to,’ he thought to himself.
Once they made it a good distance away, the group began to warm up for the run. Kazuhiko made sure that they were all ready before preparing to take off. “This circuit is about endurance. There is no need to wear yourself out on the run. Pace yourselves.” With those final words, they were off. Kazuhiko took up the lead once more and set a steady and comfortable pace. The mountains were to the west through the forest. There was a foot beaten path carved out to lead them there. The journey took a little over an hour and the spring sun beat down on them in areas where the trees were sparse. By the time they reached the base of the mountain, everyone had worked up a sweat.
“This is where it gets a little tricky. For the first half of the hike, the conditions will be favorable, but as we progress, the hills only get steeper. Proceed with caution,” Kazu said between small sips of water. He resumed the course making sure to check on the group every so often. He couldn’t help but stare at Kyoko the most. He knew it was unprofessional, but she looked incredibly sexy when she was in her element.
Eventually the hills broke into steep, jagged slopes. In some places it was necessary to find footholds, to continue up the ridge. A normal human would have been gasping for air at this point, but the nephilim were resilient and could handle the physical stress. Finally after an hour and a half of hiking they made it to a flat area that looked as though it had been carved out of the mountain. Kazu stood close to the edge and looked out over a beautiful view of the forest and the city that waited for their return behind it. “Kahue, Kyoko and Toshiro, you will head out first, taking off on my mark. Ready yourselves.”
Kyoko was so glad she had done her morning warm ups and exercises before heading down to the Arsenal barracks. With the gliders on their backs, and prepped to go, Kyoko was keen to pace herself along the first half, as well as doing her best to keep up with the others. Bursts of speed were simply a fools game, if she wanted to have the energy to tackle the more dangerous parts of the course, which were coming as they ascended into the mountains. Toshiro who was naturally athletic was taking this all in his stride. A keen athlete he was used to this type of training back in their homeland, and so he held his own as the group made their way up the hillside. Every so often he would try to capture Kahue’s attention with a stolen glance, again trying to get under her skin all the more. He had no idea she had partially confided in Kazuhiko, but that would probably come to light later in the day, or down during the spars; or after.
The hour long trek through the foot worn path had brought all their heart rates up, and some showed the sweat from their exertion as they came to the next stop point, where Kyoko took out her flask and had a drink, before capping it again and attaching it back to her belt. For this part at least, Toshiro kept to himself, rather than try to big note himself at this stage of the run up. He was clearly saving himself for what was coming.
“This is where it gets a little tricky. For the first half of the hike, the conditions will be favorable, but as we progress, the hills only get steeper. Proceed with caution,”
Kyoko looked up and went to nod so that Kazu knew she understood what he was saying, when she noticed how he was looking at her. Not just a sweeping glanced, but…actually looking at her with a certain smile. She couldn’t help but smile back shyly, before getting her composure again, and preparing for the final climb.
This was where it got treacherous. With the winding bends, the climbing got higher as did the altitude that would have made it nearly impossible for a mortal human to cope without oxygen supplies. Nephilim however were well adapted to high climates, and so this was not a huge issue, but they definitely felt the change.
Straining muscles and minds, the climb came to an end as they reached a flat top surface at the top of the mountain. The mist swirling around and the greenery of the forest trees lay in a haze of white. With all the team now assembled, Kazu gave the call for Kyoko, Toshiro and Kahue to be ready to start off. With her glider to be adjusted on her back, Kyoko gave herself a wide birth, so as not to have her glider’s wings hit the others. Toshiro on the other hand was not being as cautious, and was getting as close to Kahue as he could possibly dare. Now with all three ready….they awaited the call from Kazu to go.
“One, two, three, mark,” Kazu said and the three racers were off. Kahue loved everything about gliding and there was nothing like the feeling of takeoff. For the quickest instant it felt like you were free falling and the warm bursts of air surrounded you and took your breath away. She hadn’t been able to glide this high in a very long time and excitement set her eyes ablaze. She wanted to win against Toshiro more than anything else in the world. He was a sneaky, smug bastard who needed to be taught a lesson.
Whereas her table manner was unrefined, Kahue was nothing but graceful lines and flexibility in flight. She rode a thermal, letting herself soar over the cold breeze that would have hindered a mediocre glider. Flying felt natural to her and it was the only time should could forget her past. She banked hard to the right and let the momentum continue to spin her around until she had completed a full 360° spin. The motion propelled her forward, giving her a good lead.
Lucas and Kazuhiko took off a short while after the others. They would serve as referees for the race. Kazu smiled as he noted that Kahue was in the lead. He was proud that she was his SMS and hoped that she would be able to maintain her velocity. Something about Toshiro didn’t sit well with him at all. He seemed to be sticking by Kahue’s side during the whole journey and Kazu couldn’t tell if it was because he liked her or was trying to mess with her head. How would Toshiro perform on the team if he were to pass the test? Would he continue to try to undermine his comrades? These questions were in the back of Kazu’s mind as they edged closer toward Albisas.
With Kahue going first out to the three of them, Kyoko hung back, crouching on one knee as she adjusted the glider upon her back. Rolling her shoulders she got it on properly, before rising up to standing as Kahue took off first into the air. At first she thought Toshiro would go after her, but he smirked and motioned for Kyoko to go next.
Head straight forward, she took a deep breath with a set look of concentration and started her run off, as the upward warm air drafts captured the wings, and soon Kyoko was air born. At first the glider went into a sharp descent, but with skill and luck, she got the upward draft and then soared upward at a speed that was astonishing. Kyoko’s body in perfect alignment with that of the glider, and she soon had reached a height that was pushing her upwards to the clouds. The feeling could hardly be described, outside hearing the roar of the wind, nature’s true power force, as it continued to push the glider upwards till she leveled out, then went on a sharp right turn maneuver, with all the grace and precision of a falcon.
With Kahue in her sights, the glider tipped again hard right and she went into a power dive in a bid to overtake Kahue for the lead. She may not have been as showy as Kahue, but she had pure guts to perform acrobatic like dog fighting with the gliders. Dangerous perhaps, but exhilarating to be competing.
Now it was Toshiro’s turn, and while the girls were fast and light on their feet, Tosh seemed a bit more bulky in his movements, but his powered take off was something else, and he immediately went into a dive, before a sharp left turn and then capturing the hot air drafts and rising up again. He didn’t do fancy spins, but he was trying to get between Kahue and Kyoko as they glided through the air. What he was doing was incredibly dangerous to both the girls…and at one point, Kyoko had to pull up and hard left to get out of his way. Was he trying to take them out of the competition? From the ground, it was sure to look like Toshiro’s glider might clip Kahue’s.
The glider design made it impossible to check behind yourself, so Kahue performed a half spin to gauge the situation. Kyoko was right on her tail and it impressed her that she could keep up so well. If Kahue didn’t up the ante, Kyoko would pass her. She righted herself and took a steep plunge. The air closer to the ground was easier to navigate. She soared on the thermals, letting them carry her forward. She thought she was in the clear until she felt another glider’s gravitational pull somewhere next to her. Toshiro was riding dangerously close to her wing. Was he trying to kill her? She set procedure aside and spoke to Ishara through thought speech.
What the fuck are you doing? We can die out here.
She didn’t wait for his response before she dipped out of the way to keep her wing from getting clipped. Losing too much altitude at the speed they were going would set her behind. There would be no way to win the race if she flew into the trees.
You may beat me with your dirty tactics, but you won’t be able to snake your way past Kazu. As a matter of fact, you are making things worse for yourself. The more you endanger my life, the more he will want to take you down.
She was right. Kazuhiko was seething as he watched the race from his vantage point. If a wing were to get damaged while in the air, the pilot would plummet to the earth. The nephilim were a strong race, but they were by no means invincible. If Kahue were to fall out of the sky at this altitude, she would die and he would do everything in his power to keep another of his teammates from getting killed. Toshiro had unleashed a raging inferno inside Kazuhiko who would stop at nothing to take him down.
Fall back. Let him win. I will take care of this when we get back to the base.
Toshiro didn’t answer Kahue, but oh he heard her and his face was positively glowing. Like a madman he pushed his glider to the very limit and was adamant that he would win this round, by taking out the competition. Kyoko had fallen back in the race, maintaining a safe distance, since she valued her own life more than winning. What Toshiro was doing was crazy, and no doubt when they got back to base both Lucas and Kazuhiko would be doing more than having words with the dangerous Tosh. With Kahue told to fall back, Toshiro spirited past her and took the lead, then went about doing some aerial acrobatics, as though to rub salt into the wound as he made his final descent. Kahue must have been terrified, for if he had clipped her wing, the fall would have killed her instantly. No one could survive such a fall.
Kyoko concentrated on getting down as safely as possible, the race in her mind was over the moment that Toshiro broke all the rules, of endangering his team mate.
Up ahead, Toshiro grit his teeth as he went into the final set of turns, before bringing his glider down safely at the base. As he came into land, he ran out the last few feet before finally coming to a stop. Easing off the glider and setting it down, he smirked as he regulated his breathing, before folding his arms, and waiting…for the cavalry. THIS was what he was waiting for. Now that he was sure to have infuriated the Commander, there was going to be no stopping Kazu from wanting to take him down in the final test; the one on one spar. In Toshiro’s mind, this was going to be a glorious event.
Kazuhiko rode the thermals to speed up his return to the base. He landed with the others not far behind. Toshiro had no idea what his was in for as Kazuhiko’s area of expertise was combat. As predicted there was a crowd gathered around the combat training grounds. Cadets and highly decorated soldiers alike stood in unison, making quite a ruckus. There was a sort of chant in the air and the spectators stomped their feet. It was almost like being in a gladiator stadium, but Kazu tried his best to maintain his focus. He felt like he could take down an ogre with his bare hands.
A Major stood in the center of the makeshift ring. He was the man that Kazu reported to and he would be the referee for the fight and ultimately determined the victor. He raised his brow at Kazu as if to ask what was going on, but Kazu only gave him a pointed look in Toshiro’s direction. The Major nodded his understanding and turned so that he faced to two challengers. “This fight will test the three main areas of traditional nephilim combat. The first round will be a boxing match. The second will be a spar using the Muay Thai Martial Arts Style. The final round will allow the challengers to choose a weapon of their choice from the weapons rack,” the major said as he pointed out a good selection of various nephilim combat instruments off to the side of the ring.
Two sergeants approached the two adversaries. Kazu took of his shirt and hung it on the weapons rack. He held his hands out and the sergeant began wrapping them with the standard white boxing tape. After his hands were completely covered save for his knuckles and fingers, he donned his royal blue gloves and stood in his corner. He danced around a bit, getting his heart rate up. Rolling his neck back and forth he looked over at Toshiro. His eyes spoke for what he felt in his heart; he would not lose this fight. The major came and stood between them and instructed them to shake. “This round will last 10 minutes. A knockout wins the round. If there is not a knockout, the opponent who brought their contender to the mat the most times wins the round. I want a good clean fight. No elbows or punches below the waist.”