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Shift - Chapter 29 - Dropout Priest

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A wind crawled its way through the alley blowing through the field of grass that used to be a typical alley corner. For the moment everything was still, the confusion in the air left everyone holding their positions. In the edge of the widened alley was the massive assassin with barely any of his earth field still holding against Yuki’s field. Set in the middle staring at each other, Yuki in armor with sword stood a few steps away from Seiji that had just rose up donning Shinto Priest robes for reasons that neither understood.

Yuki took a step back and blinked several times checking his eyes to see if they were playing games on him. Seiji had not yet been clued into his change being more focused on being conscious once more. He did not know what Yuki’s problem was, but he stepped forward to get around Yuki. “What’s with that look Yuki? We’ve got an enemy to defeat.”

“Huh…right!” Yuki gripped on his sword tightly and stepped forward next to Seiji. He had seen what this man was capable of already and just being back on his feet Seiji would still not be a match for him. Yuki’s hand was still killing him with a throbbing biting pain that was only being held back by adrenaline. “Let me handle this, Seiji. You can stay back this time!” Yuki charged forward running pulling his sword up free from his shoulder ready to swing downward.

Seiji tried to reach out for Yuki taken aback by him suddenly being willing to fight. ‘What’s gotten into him? And what’s with all of this grass?’

The assassin was taking a defensive stance to be cautious with Yuki finally having released his Kasou-ryoku and coming full in charge at him. Yuki leapt up into the air holding the sword high to give extra force coming down on the man. The sword’s blade caught with the man’s forearms sparking off of the skin as Yuki came to a rest trying to force his sword down. However, he became halted and as he looked closer he noticed that he was not making cuts or wounds on the man’s arms. They were holding back his blade. The man’s defense with his arms broke outward from the block pushing Yuki back making him retreat a few steps in front of Seiji.

Seiji watched finally letting some of the scene set in for him after he began to catch himself up. He found himself having difficulty moving while Yuki continued to leap in time and time again not managing to achieve anything but expending energy. ‘What’s going on with Yuki? What’s with the sword? And the huge guy, he’s built like a rock unmoved by any of Yuki’s attacks. What’s going on?’ Yuki was suddenly knocked back sliding along the grass with his sword dug into the dirt tearing up grass as he went along. “Well can’t think about it now.”

Chapter 29 – Dropout Priest

“Tough as stone…” Yuki said panting from one knee holding on to his sword a few steps behind Seiji. He thought back to the last strike that he made visualizing the man’s arm. ‘It was cracked when I hit him. Is he really built out of stone? Is that possible?’

“Can you stand?” Seiji said offering a hand to Yuki.

Yuki grabbed on to Seiji and stood back up on his feet ripping his sword out of the ground and hefting it on his shoulder once more. “Thanks.”

“Let me take a whack at him, Yuki,” Seiji said as he felt a little different inside that he could not explain. He just knew that he had a chance against this guy for some reason. None of it made any sense, but he was not about to turn down a chance to go toe to toe again.

“Wait, Seiji! His defenses are too strong. I don’t know if it’ll make sense, but I think he actually has rocks on his skin protecting him. My sword can barely crack it.”

Seiji did not question Yuki and simply accepted what he was told. However, being told that had not changed his instinct that was telling him he had to go. “I can’t explain it, but I know I can win.”

When Yuki looked over at Seiji he could tell that it was not just the wild eagerly tasting blood that was glowing behind his eyes anymore. There was something else that had confidence in what he said and belief in his words. Yuki could not argue with what he saw. “Fine, but know I’ve got your back.”

Seiji nodded to Yuki grinning to him and turned to look down at the enemy that stood as an unassailable tower. He pounded his feet against the earth getting boost to his sprint as he charged towards the man feeling lighter on his feet than ever before. ‘What is this feeling?’ As Seiji came into range of the man he threw out a fist, but Seiji dodged it taking a step to the side and rather than throwing a punch his hand extended out launching papers from his long sleeves of the robe. ‘He’s coming again!’

Another fist from the other arm came in forcing Seiji to roll away to safety, but found that he was being attacked by more than just an arm now. Out of the man’s fist came spikes of stone and rock flying at him. Out of instinct Seiji dropped to one knee and slammed his hand against the grass and dirt. The daggers of earth struck at and around him breaking up grass and earth making a cloud around Seiji. “Seiji!” Yuki screaming running a few steps to Seiji until he saw the dust cloud fade away.

Around him a light blue barrier in the form of a dome surrounded him keeping him safe from the attack leaving the rest of the attack to hit harmlessly to the dirt around him. Seiji stood up breaking the barrier and charged again throwing out his hand again avoiding blows from the man. One time he had to block the man’s fist with his own hand pressing his entire body down from the impact and dragging his feet through the grass creating two trenches. As Seiji stood up shaking off his hand burnt paper ash fell to the ground. ‘This is so weird.’ Seiji moved in continuing his patterns of evading and throwing papers with the man. ‘It’s like I act on reflex only with no thought.’ He flipped over the man landing behind him placing his palm to the earth before jumping again in time. ‘What am I doing?’ The moment he landed his hand touched the ground and rolled himself out of the crushing assault of the man.

The man seemed to be growing impatience with his attacks at the repeated avoiding by Seiji. When Seiji jumped back the man crossed his arms producing large spikes from his elbows that broke free propelling towards Seiji. There was no time for a barrier as Seiji waved his arm in an arc in front of him producing a series of papers in a line following his hand. The moment later the spikes collided with the paper mutually disintegrating on impact. Yet the assault was not finished as more spears of earth were launched at Seiji each getting taking out by a paper as Seiji produced more making a wall between them.

A minute was bought for him as he brought his hands together. He interlaced his fingers together with the right hand’s index and middle finger held straight as he began to mutter something. As the last of the papers floating in front of Seiji were taken out five pillars of light burst up around the man showing papers at their base. On the ground light weaved the earth connecting each pillar in a circle as the pillars bent inwards hitting the man. A moment later all of the papers that Seiji had stuck to the man’s body suddenly began to glow brightly. “Yuki! Go now!”

“Right!” Yuki jumped into action bringing both hands to the hilt of his sword charging at the man. There was plenty of time for the man to put up his defenses with his impenetrable arms overlapped in front to stop the sword again. Yuki cried out with his voice in his charge bringing everything he had down into the sword as he pulled it down. The blade hit the assassin’s arms stopping for a moment before cracks suddenly appear all over his muscular forearms tracing away from the impact up his arms and covering his body. The sword dug in deeper shattering the earthen armor that protected the man and drawing up blood as the blade finished its arc along the man’s chest and shoulder with his arms knocked away bleeding.

Yuki came to rest in front of the bleeding assassin that lay on the ground unable to move from the injuries. The sword came to rest imbedded into the ground with Yuki panting. The wild look from before was breaking through him as he had been attacking, but he blinked to bring himself out of the trance. ‘Did I… Did I?’ As Yuki looked closer the man was still breathing strong, but would not be able to move for some time. The wounds were deep, but fortunately, not life threatening.

Seiji walked up to Yuki patting him on the shoulder to get his attention was from the fight. “We won…”

“Yeah…” Yuki turned away from the scene and looked at Seiji staring down at him. It was then that his curiosity kicked in changing his expression again to confusion. “What’s with the clothes, Seiji? I though you hated…”

“Huh?” Seiji said nearly as confused as Yuki looked, but Yuki pointed at the clothes to direct his eye down. When Seiji gave into Yuki’s questioning and looked his eyes widen in shock making him jump back. “What am I wearing these stupid clothes for?!” Seiji began to pull at them checking to see if it is was real and where his school clothes had gone. It was sadly very real and very missing.

“That’s what I’m asking. When you woke up you were wearing them. I didn’t say much then because we had other matters.” Yuki’s mind ran through the events that led up trying to figure out what had happen since it was becoming very clear to him that Seiji was in the dark. “And what’s with those papers? They look like charms or something.”

Seiji was not able to keep up with everything that Yuki was saying still trying to deal with the clothes. ‘Why didn’t I notice this before? And what’s Yuki talking about paper charms?’ It required Yuki to grab Seiji’s hand and show him what it was that he was holding the entire time.

“You were throwing them around all over the place like out of a manga I read. It was pretty cool.”

“Huh? Wait…these are Ofuda, talismans that we use at the shrine. But why do I have them?” Seiji attempted to replay what he was doing before, but it was all a blur to him now. All he could remember from when he was fighting was a sense that he knew what had to be done without needing to understand. It was all reflexive like he had done it before and just knew without needing to concentrate. ‘What happened to me? Why can’t I remember what happened? What’s this strange feeling I have? What’s going on?’

Yuki had a ton of questions left, but he suddenly knew that he should not be sticking around any longer than necessary. Unfortunately, he was still in a problem. ‘I can’t turn it off again. Damn…wish I knew how to work this.’ Yuki walked over to Seiji trying to look as serious as he could. “Hey Seiji, I need a favor.”


“We probably should stick around any longer, but I need you to whack me in the head hard.”

“Huh? Why?!”

“I’ll explain later, just hurry!”

Seiji did not understand what Yuki was getting, but the dead serious look in his eyes told Seiji that it was important. He took a moment and pulled back his arm tightly letting it go flying through Yuki and dropping him flat on the alley concrete once more. All of the grass, sword, armor and everything faded away before Yuki touched the ground. “Not sure I understand, but this is getting complicated,” he said looking around at the alley seeing the few areas of damage that were sustained to the environment from the fighting. However, Seiji could not dawdle too long and with Yuki unconscious it made his task harder now. ‘If this was just to get a free ride I’m going to…’ Seiji bent down and lifted up Yuki up over shoulder and began slowly walking away trying not to stand out as much as it appeared.

On top of the four story building looking down at the alley stood a thin figure that had been watching the fight unfold. Over the shoulder of the individual lay a dead body, another assassin by the judging of the clothes. The figure jumped over the ledge and slowly descended to the ground landing in snow. A wind blew through the alley and the clouds pealed back casting light on Ayumi standing up. “Still too soft,” she said as she approached the injured assassin that was left by Yuki. She held up her sword gleaming in the sunlight before plunging it into the assassin’s heart putting an end to the man’s life.

She spun around letting the field and everything of hers disappear with the wind walking away. ‘Though I’ve never seen Meso Prosecho applied in this manner… Is this the power of the King? Or is this something unique to Yuki?’ Ayumi knew what happened, but it was beyond what she could have expected from Yuki at his level. She did not even know such a thing was even possible with their power. The strength and degree of Yuki’s power continued to surprise her even if it was still terribly unrefined. ‘If he can control his power nothing…’ Before she left she turned to look back at the body of the assassin watching it fade away as every piece of living matter disintegrated leaving nothing but broken concrete and buildings behind. Ayumi had plenty to ponder leaving her to walk back to school before she was missed greatly.

Her distraction left her to leaving the onlooker unnoticed still watching from a distance stunned at what they had seen. They had been unable to move during the fight that they had witness. It was, of course, beyond anything that they had ever seen in their lives before. The sheer sight of the unknown was enough to paralyze every muscle in their body, but what’s more was the fact that it was Yuki, someone that they knew. “What’s just happened?” Hiroshi said finally managing to crack his stone face to speak.

He walked into the alley that was empty apart from the broken ground. ‘What is Yuki? And Ayumi? Even Seiji… I don’t understand what going on!’ Hiroshi’s mind did not even register that there had been someone dead where stepped until cracked masonry fell down snapping him out of his trance. He looked down at where Yuki’s sword had come to a stop and where Ayumi’s pierced the man’s heart. “He’s dead…Ayumi killed him! What have I gotten myself into?! Yuki!”

“Huh?” Yuki said turning suddenly in response to his name being called. He sat on a large semi-flat stone in the back of the shrine that Seiji had carried him back to. Yuki was not sure if he was welcomed by their grandfather, but he did not seem to be area and Seiji was staring at him with the intention of getting answers from Yuki.

“Don’t ‘huh’ me, Yuki! You seem to know what’s going and who that guy was.” Seiji leaned in on Yuki if it would help get him the answers that he needed from Yuki. They had left the alley so quickly after defeating that strange guy that Seiji did not have any time for answers. Everything that he had seen had plenty of time to finally pour into him on his walk back. ‘What was that strange power? How could I do such things? It’s not possible, it like something from a movie. It can’t be real!’ He needed answers from Yuki.

Yuki swallowed slowly knowing that this was coming. He knew that he was going to have to explain it when Seiji refused to run away. It was inevitable now. “Well I’m not sure where to start, its kinda complicated.”

“Let’s start with that guy that attacked you. He seemed to be out for more than just a few drops of your blood.”

“He’s someone from where I was born and he wanted to kill me because I’m the rightful heir to their dead leader.”

Seiji pulled back and took a step back before pacing around the dirt. This was not an answer that he was expecting. ‘I thought it was just a gang fight or something, but this…’ He rubbed his hand through his hair not finding the answer as thorough or complete as he would have liked. “If what you say is true and you’re the heir, why do they want you dead?”

“I’m not clear on their plans or details myself, but if I’m dead there won’t be an heir anymore and the rebelling faction that wants me dead can take power for themselves.”

“Where is this place that you’re supposed to be from?”

Yuki thought and looked around holding his index finger up along the side of his face sliding it along his jaw line as he thought back. “You know…I don’t know! I’ve never asked!”

“What?!” Seiji said falling over to the ground. He jumped back up to his feet and leaned in to Yuki who seemed to be taking the realization a little too well. “How can you say it so simply?! If you’re telling the truth, it’s your homeland! It’s your place of birth. It’s important!”

“Huh? I guess… Never really thought about it that much,” Yuki said plainly still not letting it sink in. “I’ve focused on the assassins and my power that I never really gave it thought. I don’t even know if I want to go, though I don’t know how Ayumi will take that.” He nearly laughed to himself as he could picture the berating that he would take from Ayumi for so casually talking about such matters.

Seiji was left quite stunned by the whole scene from Yuki. ‘He takes it all so nonchalantly, like it’s not a worry for him.’ He closed up his mouth and readjusted his form trying to make things a little more serious. “Who’s Ayumi?”

“Oh, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned her, huh? She’s the one that told me about this. She’s protected me from the assassins and trains me in using my power so I can control it.”

“What is this power you’re talking about?”

“It’s the Kasou-ryoku, it’s a power that I have as well as the assassins. Um…how do I explain it? I wish that I could control it to show you. I guess the short of it is that it is a power that makes anything that I can think up real.”

‘Makes anything real…’ It was a hard thing to think possible and if Yuki had told him before that fight he had that sort of power he would have laughed at him. Yet, Seiji knew that he could not simply shrug it off as Yuki’s new personality and the quirks he had. It was impossible, but Yuki was being completely serious and honest with Seiji. This much he knew. “I see…and what about me. You do that too?”

“I dunno, I guess that would only make sense. That’s pretty cool I gave you real Shinto powers, huh?!”

“Cool?!” Seiji said grabbed Yuki up by the collar of his uniform. “How could you think what you did to me was cool?! You shamed me by making me into one of them! You’re lucky that no one saw me. It’ll ruin my image!”

Yuki flailed his arms about panicking from Seiji’s anger. He knew that Seiji hated everything about the training that he had been forced to take when he was younger. But Yuki changed in expression when he heard Seiji. “Image?”

“Yeah, I’ve got an image to keep and I’d never live it down if folks started seeing me going around in some priest robes. I’d lose all respect!”

“You’re worried about that?” Yuki said grinning to himself before he started laughing uncontrollably, while still being held up by Seiji.

Seiji’s veins in his forehead began to pop pulsing in frustration and anger that Yuki would be laughing at him. He pulled tighter on Yuki’s collar making Yuki start to cough while he was laughing, but still it did not stop him. Seiji dropped Yuki back to the ground and turned away becoming frustrated with him.

Ayumi walked up the street coming to pass by Yuki’s house on the way to her own. Out of the corner of her eye she caught the figure of someone suspicious that was clearly not trying to disguise themselves. She turned to face them already knowing who they would be. ‘Another so soon... They aren’t messing around…’ Ayumi began to walk towards them. “Waiting for someone?”

To be continued…

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