This article, Of the Corruption: A Demon's Power, is property of Cold hard steel.

This article, Of the Corruption: A Demon's Power, is property of Achrones150.

Actually training

Kie could only guess where he was now. But clearly, he knew it was some time before he awoke. His skin felt wet, as if he had been just cleaned up. A voice inside of his head complained of a pain shooting through it, and instinctively, he raised one hand to clutch his forehead, his eyes still closed.

"Son of a..." He cursed.

Ean was instantly relieved by the sudden movement in the boy, even despite the fact he had tried to kill him three hours earlier.

He moved over next to the boy laying on the bed and placed his hand on his forehead to see if he was sick or not. He didn't seem sick, although he had been burning up ever since they brought him back from the hospital, but they kept him cool just to be safe.

He asked the newly awoken Kie "You feel dizzy or something?"

"A little..." Kie admitted, lowering his hand. "But I'm alright...." He winced a little, grabbing his shoulder with his other hand. " shoulder itches like he--"

Then, his eyes widened slightly.


He took his hand from his shoulder, staring at the newfound scars incredulously. "It...WASN'T a dream, after all..."

Ean saw his incredulous face, and, turning to Sachi, he gave her a look asking "Should I tell him?"

Memories flooded Kie's mind, as if he was seeing the killings himself. The slicing and searing of flesh.... the screams of those undeserving of death....hell, even the scent of fresh blood still lingered on that hand, as he flexed the fingers as if trying to feel the warmth of the crimson fluid once again.

He had single-handedly slaughtered a large portion of the staff of the hospital. Their blood would be forever on his hands, and their screams would forever linger in his mind. And he liked it.

Sachi merely shook her head, her face serious. She sent a look back to Ean that clearly said it all. Kie had been aware of what he was doing.

Ean focused on the boy again, "Kie... That wasn't you. You know that you didn't want that to happen..." he said, his voice desperate in hoping that Kie didn't act up again.

"Why do you sound so grim, Ean?" Was his asking reply, as he turned towards Ean with an almost child-like expression of curiosity on his face.

Ean grabbed Kie's wrist, shoving his hand in his face like the thing he was trying to show the boy was so obvious if it had been a snake it would've bitten him. "Kie... You killed dozens of people back there... Look at your damn hand..."

"I'm aware of that." Kie's tone didn't waver under the man's negative tone. "What of it?"

Ean stood up, "Because you killed innocent people, dammit! What the hell has gotten into you?!" he yelled, clenching his fists, "Why do you not care?" The blond remained silent, and surprisingly, her eyes didn't flicker with shock. Had she seen this coming?

Kie merely stared at Ean with an exasperated look, as he lowered his hand. "You sound as if that were a bad thing." He replied coolly.

Ean's expression of seriousness and annoyance did not change, "You just committed a mass murder! If you weren't acting like this, I wouldn't have half a mind to throw you out on the street to be arrested!"

He grabbed his swords and mask, walking to the door, saying "Sachi, you handle him. I'm going to go do something quickly."

Sachi's eyes widened, but she did nothing to stop him, even stepping aside. "Sure thing, Ean." She said quietly.

Ean turned to Kie for one last thing, "Only my demon is a part of me Kie, yours isn't you."

He opened the door and walked out, slamming it in frustration as he left.

Kie growled angrily, throwing his hands up in the air, a sign of frustration. "DAMN it!" He snapped, clearly not understanding. "What's his problem?!"

Sachi sighed, pulling a chair over to Kie and sitting beside him. Her face was one of sympathy. "He wasn't born like you...." She said softly, putting a hand on his shoulder. "He....doesn't understand."

Kie's eyes widened in disbelief. "What do you mean, Ms. Urami?"

"Here, let me explain...."

Outside Help

Ean was outside the inn, and it began to get cloudy, not enough for rain but still enough to dampen his hot mood.

He pressed a small button on the inside of his mask and his megabike wheeled up next to him. He got on, moving towards the west, trying to see if he could get a message from the eighth force.

He had been driving for two hours straight. He decided to stop, and check if he had the signal to recieve anything out there.

Luckily he could, and he was surprised it was this good. He called up the base, and was pleased to hear the familiar voice on the line, "Hello, this is the Guardians eighth force member line, how may I help you?"

Ean chuckled at the unknowingness of his friend, "Hello, Suzana, how have you been?"

The voice on the other side gasped slightly, "Ean! Where the hell have you been these last two weeks?! Every single captain and their mother have been worried sick about you, and Sam has vowed to kick your ass if you don't get over here right now!"

"Sorry, sorry, I've... Run into a few roadblocks to getting home..."

Yeah, getting into the position of training a punk and raping and possibly impregnating a girl might keep me busy...

"But I promise I'll be there in three weeks, tops. By the way, I need a favor..." he said, changing the subject.

"Sigh... You're not out of the bag yet, mister. Full explanation or you'll get in trouble with James later. And what's this favor you need?"

"I need to get in touch with Sam, at least temporarily."

The voice on the other side was replaced with a few rummaging sides, finding the code key for the new line. She came up again, saying "Alright. Here he is..."

The line changed, and new, masculine voice came on, "Hello?"

Ean groaned, he knew this was going to be more difficult than appropriate. "Hello Sam..."

The voice on the other line paused momentarily, as if devising a plan to harass his captain. "Hello Ean. How have you been lately? been sleeping around?"

Ean pinched the bridge of his nose at this, forgetting that the tattoo monitored his body functions from a far longer range than his mask could communicate. "Dammit, Sam I need information. Now."

There was a other pause. "You're lying to me Ean..."

Ean's mood sured, "Sam, stop reading the charts, and give me the info I need."

"And what might that be?"

"I need to know how to exorcise a category seven demon from a fifteen-year old without causing any mental or physical damage."

More rummaging from the other side. "Hmm... It seems the power suction from the demon's exorcism would be too great. There's no way you could pull it out without taking a chunk of the boy with it. Why do you need it?"

"Because I need to get rid of that demon soon, or it'll imprint before it leaves the body."

Ean didn't like his odds at this, but waited for the other man's reply before hanging up the communication.

"Hmm... I'll send you the current list of exorcism spells so you can try to at least suppress the presence for now until it leaves. But in order to do that I'd have to hang up, so... Over and out."

Ean frowned at the sudden insistence to cut off, but decide to conform anyways. "Over and Out."

The Principle of Morality

"From what I can tell about Ean...." Sachi explained. "He's had to spend quite of his own childhood in solitude and isolation. His own demon was most likely the result, highly uncontrollable and free to break loose whenever he wanted. I guess Ean himself feared harming innocent people, due to the hands of that beast."

Kie's angered expression changed into one of sympathy. But he chose to say nothing, as he stared at the blonde intently.

"However, due to that very same fear and isolation..." Sachi looked away from Kie's eyes for a split second. "He clearly understands the concept of morality, of what is wrong and what is right. You, however, are a different story."

Kie frowned. "What do ya mean?" He asked impatiently. "So we both had sucky childhoods. Doesn't mean he ca--"

But Sachi raised a hand, as a signal for silence, cutting him off. "You were born in a brutal village, where beatings and slaughter were daily. As you grew up, you eventually came to the belief that seeing innocent blood spilled was a normal part of life. Am I correct?"

Kie's expression wavered slightly, before he nodded. "Yes..."

"Don't you think that maybe that he saw the killing of those doctors in a different way than you did?"

A sigh of frustration came from the boy. "Does that give him the right to judge me?!" He snapped.

But Sachi merely put on a smile, taking a hand away from his shoulder. "He merely misunderstood." She said in an assuring voice. "Don't worry, once he comes back, we'll settle things out." Then, she raised an eyebrow.

"After all, the sooner this is done, the sooner we can start training, right?"

Kie rolled his eyes, flopping onto his bed. It had been quite a long time. "I guess...." He muttered, folding his arms across his chest.

"Sachi is right. We've wasted too much time."

The masked swordsman was once again in the room, without even opening the door. He was leaning against the doorframe, and his expression was hidden by the clean and silvered metal on his face.

"I got a warning from James."

Both boy and lady raised an eyebrow. "That would be...?" Sachi asked.

"Three weeks or my license is suspended," he answered, his voice only contributing the feeling of urgency to the conversation.

Kie rolled his eyes. "What? Are you in danger of being kicked out by the wizard guild?" He asked sarcastically.

Ean groaned, but it sounded like an annoyed growl, deep and threatening. "Suspension means I cannot claim anything under the sanctity of the Guardians, I can't hunt demons, and I don't get paid. It is the worst punishment in the organization besides excommunication, and it being performed on a captain is an extremely rare thing, especially since the only one it's ever happened to is The thirteenth..."

"Well...that doesn't really change anything, does it?" Sachi asked, getting up from her seat. "That should be plenty of time for him to learn how to master chakra manipulation."

Ean bent his head in thought, then raised it again, "Sachi, there's a reason it takes multiple years for Academy students in your home village to graduate... But what I'm worried about is if Kie's training goes over the time limit, then not only do I lose the money I get, but I can't help him with the demon anymore after that..."

There was nothing could Sachi could say in order to argue against that.

But apparently, it didn't stop Kie.

"What's wrong with you, Ean?" He asked, pulling himself off of the bed and on his feet. "You shouldn't be worrying about the 'what ifs'. If it's in risk of taking too much time, then we'll just have to get started right away!"

Ean considered this, as he stepped in front of Kie. He looked into the Boy's eyes and then took a step back, saying "Alright... But first I need to do one thing," he said, bringing back his hand in a palm-heel strike position, a small light engulfing the area of his fingers, readying a technique.

Kie's stared into a curious one, and he blinked a few times, almost comical in a sense.

Ean concentrated seemingly, muttering under his breath, "Seventh point of Sealing, Holy Ring!"

He slammed his palm into Kie's stomach, an intense light emitted from the strike point, and a large gust of wind was felt as well. The sudden force knocked Kie onto the bed, and Ean was left catching his breath.

Sachi immediately turned to the now-unconscious boy with widened eyes. "What..."

Ean quicky picked the boy up and carried him in a piggy-back, "C'mon, if we hurry we might just get past Jack," he said, opening the door quite clumsily and walking out.

Sachi sighed helplessly, as she took to her feet, following Ean and shutting the door behind her. "Right..."


Kie let out a groan, as vision once again came back to him. He rolled over on his stomach, with one eye open and one eye closed, as he glared seemingly at nothing. "This is what I get for trying to be encouraging..." He muttered to himself, pulling himself up on his hands and knees.

It was then that he got a good look at his surroundings. He was near the wall of a lighted cave. As his eyes darted around, he saw flora developing and thriving in the cracks and walls of the cave. The crystals were the clear source of the light, shining as bright as the sun.

He chuckled. "All right, what stop have we come to on our field trip now?" He said sarcastically.

A boot rested on Kie's back, a sign that Ean was with him.

"We're in a cave about five miles to the north of town. This is where you'll be trained."

Kie ignored the boot on his back, as his eyes searched the cave. "You know....once you get used to this might not be so bad." He commented, sarcasm gone.

Ean removed his shoe from the teenager on the ground and proceeded to walk inward, to the center of the room. "C'mon, Sachi's waiting for us closer to the middle."

Kie got up from his spot on the ground, turned, and walked slowly behind Ean. Sure enough, Sachi was sitting in a cross-legged position, her back turned. She turned her head, looking at the two out of the corner of her eye.

"'Bout time." She mused. "I thought I was about to fall asleep."

Ean smirked, "The I'd have to wake you up. And you might not like my methods..."

She smirked back. "I might, and I might not." She replied, pulling herself up onto her feet.

Ean's smirk faded, "Darn, myattempts to frighten you have failed. Whatever shall I do?"

He refocused on Kie, "Well, take a good look around, because this is where we'll be sleeping, eating, bathing and training for the next three weeks. Hope you like it."

Kie sighed, his shoulders drooping comically. "Living here for three weeks? Well, I hope this cave has cable...."

Ean sighed, "Don't complain. Do you want to learn how to fight, or do you want to laze around?"

Kie folded his arms across his chest. "Of course I want to learn how to fight? Just trying to make a joke...." He replied, scratching the back of his head with one hand.

Ean rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Oh, and, I recently found a waterfall and creek a bit farther in, if you want a drink or need to bathe, then go there.I'm going to go set up camp first, you can just look around," he said, walking into the foliage after he finished.

Kie rolled his own eyes. "What a stiff..." He turned to Sachi. "Miss Ura--"

Then he widened his own eyes, as he saw her back was turned once again, this time sitting in a knees-up position, her arms wrapped around her legs. She didn't seem to acknowledge him, as if she was thinking about something else.

"Miss Urami..." He said quietly, walking slowly towards her. "Are you coming? I'm heading over to the waterfall."

But Sachi merely raised an arm and waved him off. "Go on ahead, kid...." She said in an unusually sullen voice. "I'm thinkin' right now."

It was a half-lie, of course. But Kie merely shrugged lightly and walked off, heading further into the cave.

Suddenly Ean came around behind Sachi, sitting down next to the blond.

He looked at her, and upon realizing her mood, he asked "What're you thinking about? We actually began, why so glum?"

Sachi sighed, closing her eyes and shaking her head. "I-I'm sorry,'s just when I'm looking at this isn't very pretty to look at now."

Ean sighed knowingly, "...If you want me to leave you alone for now, I can..." he said, starting to get up.

"No!" She found herself saying it before she even realized it, and her arm reached out and grabbed Ean's arm. She looked up at him, her eyes wavering with sadness, and her expression had a tint of slight embarrassment.

"....Please stay...."

Ean stared into those eyes, and he felt guilty. He had an urge to leave as he desired, but then he remembered that promise he made to her a while ago.

He said he would stay.

After a moment, he sat back down, closer to Sachi than before. "I still find this place beautiful... Even though it brings back memories that I don't like... Y'know, there's a city, where I come from, that has a bad track record..."

"What would that be?" Was her quiet reply.

"It had the worst crime rate in the world at one time... There were homocides, rapes, drug cartels... everything... But, there was one single attraction to it that started a whole base there, and that was the sunset," replied Ean, musing while looking into the distance.

Sachi looked at him curiously. "What was so special about it?" She asked.

Ean was smiling, yet it was sad. "It was amazing. The city had no pollution, nothing clogging up the air, and when you got to the top a of building just as it hit the horizon, the colors were like God had just dumped his paints all over the sky, falling into a once in a lifetime view. I loved it, as did everybody else there. So I didn't stop visiting there just because it was a bad place to be. Like here, I liked the better values it had... Like these," he said as he pulled Sachi in for a kiss, meant to reassure her just as much as convey his feelings.

A surge of happiness passed through Sachi, as she accepted the bait once again and returned the kiss. A small part of her was grumbling about how she had accepted bait once more, but it was ignorable.

Ean pulled away, his smile now as equally satisfied as Sachi's own, "Y'know, I think we can survive these next few weeks..."

"Like we haven't before?" Sachi raised an eyebrow.

Ean continued to smile while getting up. "Oh, and, I lied to Kie about that waterfall. It's actually that way..." he said, pointing perpendicular to Kie's direction. "Wanna check it out? Saved it just for us..."

Sachi sighed, slapping a hand to her forehead. The smile on her face was clearly visble. "You know he's gonna be pissed at you for tricking him like that, don't ya?" She too began to pull herself up to her feet.

"Yeah, I know, But that's half the reason I do it."

She merely placed an arm around his shoulders, while her other hand was on her hip. "All right, then.... shall we?" She said in a mildly polite manner, just to get a chuckle out of Ean.

Ean placed a hand on her waist, "Let's shall," he said, chuckling lightly as they walked towards the waterfall.


It wasn't until a few minutes later, that a sulking Kie came back, hands in his pockets, to the cave center. His head was down as he walked, his footsteps kicking up dust.

"Damn Ean tricked me." He muttered. "Waterfall, my ass! It'll be the last time he's ever expecting me to go somewhere else!" He walked over to the farthest cave wall and flopped down on his sitter, and he sighed.

It was not unnoticed by the fact that his two teachers had once again disappeared with him gone. He rolled his eyes, as the fact that they could once again be making out passed through his head. Jeez, there was a matter of three weeks, and they still couldn't control themselves?

His head slowly moved around to inspect his surroundings. He didn't expect nothing much to have changed since he had gone. All of the lights were still in their respective spots....the cracks of flora hadn't gotten any greener....those wierd stains near where he was sitting--

"Wait a minute."

Kie stopped in thought, his eyes locked on the last item he had thought of: dried stains of some foreign liquid in the rocky floor. His curiousity got the better of him, and he got up, walking to and crouching over what he saw was out of place and conspicuous.

"This couldn't have been done long ago..." He reached out with his hand, feeling the affected and rough material with his fingertips. "More like recently. Did a fight break ou--"

Then his eyes landed on the trail of blood stains, leading directly to a slightly-above-man-sized tree near the wall. What was at the end of the trail was a small pool of blood, set as if it had been dripping from a certain spot.

There were two things, set under that same tree, that almost made his mind stop working.

Pieces of blue fabric....

...and strands of blonde hair.

Ean had felt only the slightest bit guilty when he ditched the boy like that.

Well, he's fifteen for christ's sake. He can handle a little tick like that...

Another oice inside his head contradicted this statement. If you're tyring to train him, then it'd be best to do so with care, and be nice about it. why did you keep him from knowing where the waterfall was?

...Because I wanted some good alone time with her...

Well, you've had quite a lot of that... why don't you go get him and bring him with you two? It'd almost be like a family trip.

...Okay, I'll go get him if you never say that again.

Alright, go do so.

He stopped walking and grabbed Sachi's arm to get her attention. "C'mon, we should go get Kie."

Sachi cocked an eyebrow slightly. "Changed your mind?"

Ean paused, "He'd learn about it sooner or later, knowing his brain," he lied. "C'mon," he said as he walked back towards the center of the cave.

Sachi seemed to have been satisfied by this answer, as her calm expression didn't change. But she followed nonetheless, hands in her pockets.

They neared the center of the room once again after a minute or two of foliage up to their heads. Ean saw through the grasses a bit ahead, and he mused out loud, "Hmm... Wonder if he's back at the center..."

"Or, he could've stumbled upon something else in the cave." Sachi supplied. "That is, if you haven't scouted it completely..."

Ean could see the center of the room, and he said "That first idea worries me a bit... he forgot to clean up after himself..."

He pushed through the rest of the green and found Kie inspecting the ground, but Ean couldn't tell why. "Hey, you wanna come to the waterfall with us?"

He only got silence in reply. Kie slowly got up from his crouching position, staring at the tree, but didn't turn to face them. His long hair covered the showing side of his face, hiding his expression.

Sachi stared at him in slight confusion. " alive over there?" She slowly began to walk over towards him.

Ean moved next to the boy also, wondering what he had found. "What're you being so quiet about? Not really like you..."

Kie turned to face Ean. But instead of a voice, another sound rang out.


A solid uppercut collided with Ean's jaw, and enough force was put into it to send him sprawling onto his back.

Sachi's calm look changed to disbelief at Ean. But she decided not to speak. What she stepped in could become a volatile situation, and she really wasn't that great a negotiator. She doubted Kie would do something drastic.... he was sensible enough for that, wasn't he?

As he felt the attack make contact, Ean himself didn't believe it.

What the hell?!

As he hit the ground, he was going through why on earth Kie would attack him out of nowhere. He regained his posture after correcting his chin's position and asked incredulously "What the fuck?! What the hell did you do that for?!"

The boy, however, did not stop there.

With a quick pace, he walked over to the fallen Ean, raised his left foot up, and brought it down upon Ean's chest with merciless force. Then, he lowered himself, a stare of intensity going through his eyes.

"Ean....I don't have to inform you that this is one of those times where you need to be clear on what you say." He said in a low voice.

The extra foot on his chest didn't help with falling over, "And what would that be?" asked Ean through clenched teeth.

Kie didn't speak for a moment, as if considering Ean's own indignancy. Then, when he did, it was in the same low tone, with even the slightest bit of anger.

"You're hiding something from me."

Ean didn't move his gaze from looking into Kie's eyes. For some reason, he wasn't possessed...

He turned his head to look around, and upon seeing where they were, he realized why the boy had attacked him. Oh shit. His mind scrambled for any sort of explanation he could to get out of it, but he drew nothing but a blank. He had to escape from this kid's grasp. Now can't possibly be the optimal time to tell him... We're in the middle of trying to train for god's sake! We've been sidetracked an infinite number of times! He refocused on teh blond, saying in a solemn voice "Sachi, get this kid off me."

"Kie..." Sachi slowly walked over towards Kie. "We can explain. Just let Ean go and we can talk about th--"

But instead of listening, Kie ground down harder on Ean's chest, his expression not changing. "You had plenty of time to talk. But you did it out of my ear's reach. Now, you're gonna sit there and tell me what the fuck you had to hide from me so long."

"Alright, you had your chance, anad I had mine. Now get off" Ean growled as he grabbed Kie's ankle and rolled to his left, causing Kie to fall and putting Ean on his feet again. He in turn stepped on the boy's torso. "There are some things that don't need to be known, and others that would cause damage if known. Apparently you haven't figured that out yet," he said, putting much of his weight on his boot.

Kie gasped, but his eyes still shined with anger. "Is that so?"

His knee rose up, his foot kicking Ean straight in the back. It was enough to force him off and back on his feet, his expression murderous. "Who's it gonna cause damage to? Me? Because apparently, it hasn't caused damage to either of you!" His hands clenched into fists.

Ean didn't expect the attack to his back, and was subsequently knocked off of his captive. He rolled over his shoulder, standing a fair distance from both Kie and Sachi, the three of them forming a triangle almost. He stared at Kie, and then at Sachi, the expression eh wore was unlike his others, giving every single emotion and thought he was having away. He looked at the two of them, but it was an unfocused look, as if he was mulling something over. "Sachi... Do you think... We should tell him?"

Sachi's own expression was a distraught one, as she covered half of her face with her palm, in a half arms-crossed position. She nodded. "Ean....please remember that I'm right here..." She thought, hoping her presence would make it easier on him.

After getting the affirmation from her, he looked back at the boy.

"Kie..." he couldn't look at him in the ey anymore. He turned his eyes to his feet, his fist tightened slightly.

"I... raped Sachi here."

At that point, Kie lowered his head. His hair covered his face once again. His fists relaxed, his arms hanging limp at his sides.

What is he going to do? Sachi thought, dread in her chest. Attack Ean? Attempt to kill him? It even seemed as if one hand was reaching for his sword, itching to cut Ean in half.

But, his next move shocked her indefinitely.

He spoke again, and his voice sounded hurt and betrayed. But it was clear.

"Why didn't you tell me...."

Ean responded by raising his head, only to ironically find Kie's own lowered. "Isn't it obvious? I was afraid of the consequences... I could've alienated you, I could've made her pregnant... If that was your situation, wouldn't you be too?"

"You were afraid because you thought I hated you, too....wasn't it?"

"... Contrary to what you might believe... I don't like to be hated, Kie."

A scoff came from Kie. "And yet you say to have committed an act so ironic."

Ean did not change his face. "Irony is the worst thing to think about right now. I... regret what I did. Greatly. And I'm very afraid of what it could do to affect my life, as well as hers. And maybe even the baby's..."

"A baby?" Kie turned his head to stare at Sachi with a raised eyebrow, as he folded his arms across his chest. The blonde was now looking up, the pension gone, but only slightly.

"Hell, I bet you don't even know if she's pregnant yet, do you?"

Ean also looked to Sachi. "...Not.. Really... I guess I was too caught up in the possibility I've never asked to check with those doctors we were ironically surrounded by for days..." he said, seeing the idiocy of his own ways as he formed these tense words.

Sachi sighed, putting a hand to her forehead. "Worrying sucks...." She muttered, having worried herself to death about it.

"See?" Kie shrugged. "Unless you have a pregnancy positive test thingy, you can't actually be sure, now can you?"

Ean moved towards Sachi, putting a hand on her shoulder for consolidation. "Not really, but there are other ways... I was so desperate at one point I had half of a mind to ask Jack to test for pregnancy... It would've been relatively painless either way..."

"Ah..." Kie nodded slowly, in understanding. Then, his eyes widened, and he gasped, snapping his fingers. "But wait!"

Both the male and female turned their heads, "Hm?"

"If you do have a baby..." Kie pointed his fingers at the both of them in a wide grin. "That means I'll be having a little "bro" to watch me kick some ass!"

Then, he started to do an attempt of dance and moonwalking at the same time.

"Oh yeah! Oh yeah!" He cheered, as he turned around. "Oh--"


His word was cut short, however, as he slammed into a tree branch head first, falling hard on his back.


Ean looked at Sachi, his face just barely holding in outright laughter, "Remind me again why I'm going to train him?"

Sachi had her hand over her mouth, barely stifling her own fits of laughter. She shook her head, a signal that she couldn't respond.

"D-Damn it, Ean!" Kie shouted, a vein popping in his head as he clutched his face. "This h-hurts like hell! It ain't funny!"

After calming down a bit, Ean pulled out his mask and looked at the time. "Holy shit, it's almost eleven o' clock... We should set up and get some sleep..."

Sachi's eyes widened. "Time passed by that quickly?" She asked, brushing strands of her hair out of her face.

"You can never tell... We can't see the sun, so we lose our ability to tell time... And I think I know how to keep those crystals from shining..." replied Ean, looking around at the large crystal deposits everywhere around them, like smaller, weaker suns, creating a perpetual daylight for them.

"And that would be...?"

"Since they only create light when they're heated up, if I formed thick enough layers of ice around them to last the night then we can sleep just fine. But remember, it gets kind of hot down here..." explained Ean, walking over to a crystal deposit near them and putting his hand on the almost clear surface of the light producing rock.

"That's good enough for me...." Sachi said with content, folding her arms across her chest. She looked over at Kie, who was still on the ground. "Are you OK ov--"

But what she heard was light snoring coming from the now-sleeping boy. Clearly, he was one step ahead when it came to sleep. She rolled her eyes.

Ean smirked, "Just like a teenager," he said as he walked back to Kie and picked him up, leaning him against a tree near him. He moved back to the center of the room, holding the palm of his hand upwards to the ceiling.

"Hopefully, he won't have a large backache in the morning...." The blonde muttered, walking to stand beside Ean and putting her hands in her pockets.

After a few moments of waiting, a small, marble-like sphere formed, floating a small distance off of Ean's open hand. Without taking his eyes off of it, he asked Sachi "You think you can stand fairly low temperatures for the night?

Sachi turned her head to stare at Ean, narrowing her comically. "If I had a coat, maybe..."

Ean considered the boy and Sachi, then refocused on the small sphere of ice that was in his hand, "Hmm... It seems you and Kie will have to use my jacket for tonight.. I can sleep fine with cold temperatures. Anyway, I would suggest you be ready to take it in a second..."

Sachi's look turned into a confused one. "Why?"

The sphere began to intensify, if it was possible, and it seemed to try to grow while its expansion was stifled. "Because it's going to get really cold really fast..." said Ean, who drew back him arm and threw the sphere as far as he could up to the ceiling, watching it soar while he hurriedly shed his jacket.

Sachi raised one of her own hands out. "All right, I'll do the rest, then!" She replied.

Ean hastily shoved the jacket into her arms, and watched the small ice crystal fly to the ceiling, the small dot becoming infinitely smaller as it went.

Sachi wasted no time. Rushing over to Kie's arms, she enveloped him with the large jacket, then ran behind a rock, crouching behind a rock in order to shield the both of them.

Surprisingly, the boy was not awakened.

As she dove for cover, Ean backed up to the rock also, holding an arm up.

There was a blast of cold wind, and many plants became enveloped in frost, the rock growing a skin of ice and snopw. There was a momentary white-out, and snow began to fall from the ceiling, glinting in the now fading light. The crystals frosted over, and it began to dim, as the warmth waned and the coldness took over the air. Ean found a small crystal and warmed it up with his hands, using it to find his way behind the boulder. "So, like the trick?"

"Oh s-s-sure, I r-really like s-something that f-f-freezes my ass off..." Was the sarcastic and feminine reply.

Ean sat down, next to her, wrapping his arms around her. "Don't worry... I'm here, so we'll be at least a bit warm. That's why I gave you the jacket, too. If you need to get warm, then that one piece of clothing is enough. Trust me."

"I'd rather have you as a heat source than your jacket." Sachi replied, although accepting the warmth he provided. "No offense, but I don't wanna wake up and smell like you." She would've wrapped her own arms around him, if they weren't already embracing Kie against her.

Ean smirked, "Heh, but I wouldn't object to waking up and smelling like you..."

Sachi's eyes widened briefly, before she cocked an eyebrow and frowned, eyeing the man. "Really? And what do I smell like?"

Ean had to consider this for a moment, "Hmm... I'd say you smell like... The ocean breeze, and a summer's cool air from the night. It smells like something magic during those nights..." he said as he trailed off, remembering something.

Sachi smiled at the compliment, looking downwards. "Oh shut up, I'm not one to blush..." She mused. When she looked back up however, she saw the thoughtful look in his eyes.


Her voice brought him back down to earth, "Oh, sorry... I was just remembering my home village, is all."

Sachi's face softened. "It's no problem..."

Despite himself, Ean felt homesick. Even though he left because of disputes with his father and the death of his mother, he felt a need to return. "I realize now... I haven't spoken to my father in seven years..."

Sachi sighed. "...What made you stay away from him for so long?" She asked quietly.

Ean also sighed, "He and I disagreed on a very important issue in my life... And when it seemed he wouldn't let up, I left..."

Sachi was silent for a moment. "...what was the issue about? Unless it's none of my business."

"He wanted me to stay. He wanted me to become the leader of the clan, have me stay home. And I wanted to go out into the world, especially help James and Parren with the Guardians. I was about... Sixteen back then, a legal adult intin my family, and I wanted to get out of the village. Obviously, he objected..." explained Ean, his eyes becoming misty.

Sachi's own blue eyes held sympathy. "Do you miss your father?"

He had to think about that for a second. He didn't hate his father, but he still preferred to avoid him most of the time... "I don't know. He's a good man, but... He and I just have too many controversies..."

"When you get the chance, you should visit him."

Ean chuckled, "Hm. If I do, I'm taking you two..." he then considered Sachi for a moment, "Or three with me..."

"Three?" Sachi looked confused for a moment, having temporarily forgotten.

"Sachi... The baby..."

"Damn it, Ean!" Sachi turned away from Ean, folding her arms across her chest and closing her eyes in a stubborn manner. It was apparent she wasn't angry, however. "We don't know that I am pregnant!"

Ean rested his head in the crook of her neck, saying "We don't know that you aren't... We can't let it out of our minds... and you have to know that yourself..."

Sachi let out a heavy sigh, resting her own head against Ean's. "I know."

Dawn of a new day

Ean's eyes opened heavily, and he noticed it was bright again.

Good... The tech wore off as I planned...

"--Woah, man!" Kie's startled voice ran out, followed by a swing of the sword.

A feminine sigh was heard. "You're still not focused enough. Calm down a bit, try to loosen up..."

Is Sachi ahead of me?

He blinked a few times to try and get the sleep out of his eyes, and mostly was successful. He watched the two spar for a minute, and the rose himself, saying loudly "Good Morning My friends and loved ones!"

"Yeah, we love you, too." Kie muttered sarcastically, his blade dropping down to the ground.

Sachi leaned on a boulder nearby for support. "All right, let's rest a minute..." She muttered, her head turning to Ean. She gave a soft smile.

"Good morning, Ean. Have a good sleep?"

Ean pecked Sachi on the forehead, saying "Yes, I did. How about you?"

"Like a log." Sachi replied with a slight tone of cheer. "Kie and I decided to get some perception practice while you were still asleep."

Ean smiled warmly, "Oh, that's great. How is he doing?" he asked, turning to take a look at the boy, who sat down beside the wall.

"So far, he's actually doing pretty well. His eyes are very sharp, which is an obvious quality of experienced swordmasters. If he can keep it up, this might go much faster than we thought..." The hopeful tone was evident in her voice.

"Wonderful. I shall join you two then," said Ean, removing his shirt and unsheathing his swords. "I think a test to see if he can hit me would be good..."

That made Sachi's eyes widened considerably, and she put a hand to her mouth, hiding her blush.

Kie stood up, narrowing one eye and cocking an eyebrow. "I hit you once. I can do it again." He replied with a tone of confidence. He readied his own blade, settling himself into a kendo stance.

Ean settled into his own stance, rapier in front. "Alright, go for it."

A steady push of the feet, and Kie leaped at him for the second time, swinging his sword down upon Ean's head.

Ean merely stepped out of the way, nudging Kie's head to his left to knock him off balance, jumping ack as he did so. He landed a few feet away from where he had been, with Kie a great distance sent. "You said you'd do it again. I'd love to see that happen," he said with a grin.

"He's using the same method as last time....distancing himself away from me." Kie thought. "This ISN'T going to be easy."

Sachi now had her arms folded across her chest, her sword sheathed, as she watched the spar observantly.

Ean didn't move from his spot. "Well? Where's that fighting spirit in you?"

Kie narrowed his eyes, putting one foot behind him and pulling his sword back for a lunge attack. Then, as if confirming a thought, he pushed himself off again, rushing at Ean.

Ean stepped towards him as he ran, closing the distance between them faster than predicted by Kie and shoving his left hand sword into Kie's own, pushing him off balance and causing him to go directly past Ean.

Or, so he had thought.

Instead of letting himself being caught off guard, this time Kie was prepared. As he fell behind Ean's side, he swung himself around, raising his right leg up and kneeing him straight in the unguarded back.

Sachi's eyes widened.

Ean obviously didn't expect that.

Oh, no he did not!

He fell to his face, rolling on his back to regain his posture, and was back in fighting stance in a second. There was still the pain from the blow, but he still had his game to play.

He inspected his well toned body, and, upon feeling no cuts, he said tauntingly "Well, you managed to smack me in the back really well, but where's the cut? I don't have my swords drawn for no reason do I?"

Apparently, Kie had decided not to stop immediately.

In a second, he was upon Ean, sword already positioned in a lunge. The quick maneuver had allowed him to get close enough. He thrust the sword past his opponent's dual ones, the blades sliding across each other, and stabbing Ean in the shoulder.

"The cut's right there." He retorted, smirking. He jerked the sword out and swung again, this time in the form of a diagonal strike.

Ean sighed as his right arm fell limp, his sword slightly dragging on the ground. He blocked Kie's second strike, twisting his own blade around Kie's own and flicked it multiple time, cutting the boy n the chest with shallow slices dozens of times. He finished with a final nick to the top of his arm, and leaped away, his face holding the expression of bemusement that one gains when they have fun.

Kie didn't stop.

While Ean leaped back, the boy came forward, swinging his sword upward into Ean's own. He pushed himself forward, putting his weight into the fierce attack, and shoving Ean's back into the wall as hard as he could. Then, he himself leaped back, crouching a distance away.

The grin was visible on his own face, mirroring Ean's.

Sachi rolled her eyes, leaping and sitting on the boulder she was aside.

Ean readied himself again. "Alright, that was what you can handle, before we start training."

He stabbed the ground with his rapier, freezing the area in ice and even causing snow to form out of thin air. Although, it ws a precise technique, and after a certain distance was reached, the freezing stopped. Ean removed the blade, and pointed it at Kie. "This is what you might be able to stand up to after we're done training you," he said,sheathing his wakizashi.

Kie's eyes widened. "Might?"

Ean sighed. "Three weeks is not enough to teach you hw to fight..."

He raised his hand quickly to his left shoulder, causing a small pillar of ice to shoot out of the ground at high speeds, knocking Kie's sword out of his hand, "Without a sword..." he then swiped his hand slowly at belt level, encasing Kie's feet in ice, then raising it up swiftly, forming spikes of the same material to form, ending right at the boy's neck, "And unable to move?"

Kie had lost all train of thought. His shocked eyes fell upon the daggers of water pointed straight at his neck. He couldn't even move his mouth to formulate a good word or retort.

"Oh....god....damn it."

Sachi, meanwhile, was holding her chin in both hands, pulling her legs up to her chest in a bored-spectator fashion.

Suddenly, the weapons melted, immediately splashing to the ground again, the field returning to it's original form. "That wasn't the worst it could go either. We need to take this training a bit more seriously, as we have a time limit. So, I shall teach you, along with Sachi how to do this stuff by yourself. Understnad?"

Kie merely frowned, nodding in acknowledgement.

Ean then turned to Sachi. "Alright, Sachi. I need you to introduce him to the fundamentals of chakra. You up for it?"

"I am if you are." She replied, pushing herself off the rock and onto the ground on her feet.

The man passed by the woman, resting himself on top of the rock she had previously been on herself. "Oh, and, by the way, it's getting hot in here... Might want to make sure you guys don't overwork yourselves in the near volcanic heat..." he said, laying down on his back after picking his shirt off the ground with the end of his sword.

Sachi put one hand on her hip. "With that little spar, I should be worried about you two than you worrying about us." She muttered.

"Hey. I didn't use that much energy, and although I did get stabbed in the shoulder it's still pretty shallow. Besides, it's my job to protect you two. Not yours to protect me..." said Ean, trailing off at the end after seeing the look on his partner's face.

Kie stared in annoyance. "Hey! I take offense to that!" He piped up.

"He was referring to me and you, you idiot." Sachi replied, not taking her gaze off of Ean. She gave a mirthful smile. "Besides, if I sit back and let you take it all... I'll feel a bit spoiled."

She turned back towards Kie.

Ean rolled his eyes, "And we all know I would never spoil you Sachi, oh no." he said, putting an extremely sarcastic tone on his words.

Sachi couldn't help but give a humored laugh.

Kie coughed. "Excuse me...."

Again, Ean rolled his eyes, "Yes, what would you like to suggest, or ask, whatever, Kie?"

"Can we get started? My butt's falling asleep."

Ean blinked a few times, his face apathetic. "Sachi, please injure him while you're teaching him, if you would."

Kie rolled his own eyes. "Right..."

"Let's see..." Sachi placed a hand to her chin in thought, looking at the ground. She would have to put this as simple as possible, without stumbling over her words and leaving Kie in confusion. Of course, she could only explain based on the ways of how she was taught to manipulate chakra.

The simple answer? Show And Tell.

She looked over at Kie. "In order to "awaken" your own chakra, you must first learn how to release it." She explained, placing one hand in her pocket. "To do that, you have to open your eight inner chakra gates."

She pulled out her hand, pulling out a kunai. Kie tensed slightly, anticipation in his mind.

"Most shinobi, in order to use chakra, only need to cause a "crack" in the gates in order to allow for it to be used." Sachi turned towards the large tree, holding the kunai in her hand. "When done so, it can give the user a massive power boost in their attacks...."

Twisting the kunai round on her finger, she concentrated a fair amount of her own chakra into it, giving it a blueish glow. Then, with accurate precision, she threw it like a bullet. Instead of stopping at the bark, it went cleanly through the trunk and embedding itself in the far wall.

" so."

Needless to say, Kie was shocked. His eyes fell on the tree, then back to the kunai, then back to the tree again. Not that the fact that it had went through the bark, but at how it had slice through the thick trunk like butter. How controlled was she?

"That was what Ean was doing himself with those ice abilities of his." Sachi noted, folding her arms across her chest and glancing over at the said man. "Unless, of course, he was using magic."

"...Which I was. This is why I'm getting Sachi to teach you, not me. I don't use chakra, but it's practically the same thing. I use magic, which is an entirely different power source. Either way... You'll learn how to do what Sachi did soon enough... but until then, I'd like you to fight myself and her," said Ean, now lying on his side, his head on his right hand, in a very sleepy position.

A rock was immediately thrown at Ean's head, striking him in the center. "Don't get comfortable." Sachi muttered, an eye twitching as she raised an arm in front of her. "Now then Kie, I want you to try."

Kie's eyes widened. "What?"

"Focus on your energy...feel it flow through you..." Sachi closed her eyes and put her hands together to form the Tiger sign. "Become aware..."

Kie blinked, but decided to follow her movements. He breathed steadily, as he focused...

A new presence came across his mind, as if waiting to show itself. He was feeling it flow throughout his own body, the airy blood running through his nerves. And seemed he had known of it forever.

"Good..." Came Sachi's calm voice to his ears. "Do you feel it?"

All he could do was nod.

"Now, grasp it...accept it as a part of you..."

His eyes shut even tighter, as he continued to focus.

It only took a moment.

At first, nothing seemed to happen. Then, slowly but surely, a blueish and visible energy started to form around his body. In the form of curved arcs, they surrounded him in a small circle, vibrant and seemingly dancing to an unheard tune. They seemed to form a shield around his person, such as one with the wind.

Sachi grinned, running a hand through her hair. "Only a matter of minutes..." She thought triumphantly in her head. "I thought I would've had to explain it repeatedly."

A one-man applause was heard from the rock, Ean was sitting upright now, clapping hands. "Well done, Kie. You are now a real ninja..." he said, sliding off the stone bench and walking over next to Sachi. "Now.... I want to see how long you can hold that. Just let it flow out from you and then when you feel exhausted, stop."

Kie's face did not change, even as the swirling mass of chakra billowed softly around him.

Sachi put her hands on her hips, observing. Maybe I was wrong about him...he does seem to grasp the concept of this quickly enough. If this works out, we'll probably be done in a few days!" She thought eagerly.

Ean stared into the blue energy, swirling around the boy. He had never sen chakra in manifestation before, except with his friend Suzana. and even then it looked more of a weapon, sharper, more dangerous. Kie's looked free, uncontrolled, and almost like water that defied gravity. Ean, nearly mesmerized, reached out with his hand and slowly made his way to the field of light, feeling it with his hand.

Sachi grinned, her eyes looking over her partner. "I guess he's impressed as well..."

It felt like smoke, except thicker, and it flowed like water. It was surreal, to say the least. "I've... never felt chakra before..." he said quietly, almost whispering his words. Ean's eyes had become foggy, as if he was sleeping standing up.

"Is that why you're acting so amazed?" Sachi asked. "He looks as if he's about to faint..."

"It's just... weird... and I... Oh shit..." he breathed, still focused on the chakra. He turned his head to Sachi, to see everything go blurry. He noticed his breathing was getting ragged, and he felt his hand which was in the chakra begin to get warm. He then pulled it out hastily, falling to one knee and trying to catch his breath to where he could stand up again.

A hand calmly grasped his shoulder and pulled him back in order for him to catch his breath more easier. "Easy, big boy..." Sachi soothed, a good-natured smile on her face. "Don't eat what you can't chew."

Ean was still breathing slightly heavily. "Sorry... Didn't know what taking in too much of the stuff would do to me..." he said, wiping at his eyes while trying to bring himself back to earth. His hand had cooled immediately, and he could stand again, but he wondered what would've happened if he hadn't pulled out that soon.


A gasp escaped Kie's lips, as signs of giving way began to take effect. But he was still retaining it...... so far.

Hmm... He must've been letting everything go with that... Wonder how much longer he can take... Thought Ean, watching Kie strain to keep himself from giving out.

The flying and swirling mass of energy began to flare a bit more violently, brilliantly flashing like a crazed light bulb. Kie gritted his teeth, as his fingers began to tremble, and his bones begin to creak.

"Come on, hang in there...." He egged himself, trying to keep his focus.

Ean placed his hand on Sachi's shoulder to get her attention. "Hey, be ready to catch him if he falls... Which I feel will be soon for some reason..."

"Damn it."

The strain had grown on his body, and now he almost lurched forward, but kept at it. His bones began to ache, and he was sure that he was going to pass out sooner than he'd liked.

"Guess I can stop for now....I don't have any reason to push myself too hard..."

"I beg to differ."

Kie's pupils shrank. "What the--"

It all happened at once.

Instead of fading away, the chakra instead switched to a crimson red color, now flaring with a more vicious intent than anything else. Kie suddenly found himself separating his own hands away from each other....against his will.

Ean's eyes widened in surprise. "Shit!" He whipped his mask out, looking through the lenses to see what was happening, why the chakra was a different color, and the answer already in his head did not bode well. The readings said it was Kie's chakra, but there was another force behind it, something else had taken over control of the chakra source. "Oh... Not him again..."

Sachi recoiled, putting an arm in front of herself in order to shield herself from the fierce winds. She, too, was in a state of unparallel shock. "

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Kie let out a loud scream, tilting his head towards the ceiling. His hair billowed violently, as his arms went to his sides, his fists clenching. The chakra around him grew to be like fierce tornado winds, roaring with an inhumane and animalistic voice.

"Oh, you have nothing to cry about..." That voice in his head said in a mockingly soothing voice. "This will all be over in a moment."

Ean did not move his gaze from Kie, and held out his hand to his right, saying "Sachi, I need five kunai right now."

Sachi slowly nodded, feeling in her pockets for said number of kunai.

"L-let me go..!"

Kie's mangled protest was followed by another scream. "HELP ME, EAN!"

Ean hastily gripped all of the knives, and charged a golden energy into their metal, causing a bright glow to form. He turned and threw them all at Kie, each one passing by his limbs in a pentagonal shape, so bright it left streaks of gold in the air.

Then everything stopped.

The chakra instantly died down, and Kie's scream faded away, the light of the pentagon still visible. Ean flicked his sword out, aiming it into the precise middle of the area formed by the strands of light that had seemingly become solid, and a sixth beam of light had shot from the end of Ean's sword into Kie's chest, not piercing his body but refracting into the other five. These followed by joining their ends into the middle point, focusing on one point and then flying into the boy's body all at once. Time inside the technique's area returned to normal, and Kie had collapsed to the ground.

Ean was breathing dryly now, a small bead of sweat trickling down his brow. "There... Problem solved... At least for a bit..."

Kie weakly stood up, staggering to his feet. His head was lowered, and he appeared to be breathing much heavier than before.

Sachi leaned on a boulder for support, the sudden surge of chakra having affected her senses. "Damn it..." Was all she could mutter, breathing hard. "Kie..."

At the sound of his name, Kie slowly raised his head up to stare at them in shock. But it wasn't his expression that made Sachi almost reel back in surprise.

It was the fact that one of his eyes was now yellow, the schlera having turned a blood-red color. His pupil was a red slit, almost staring with a fierce intensity at the two.

Ean, on the other hand, couldn't stop staring at it, despite it's strange ability to turn others' eyes. "Kie... You... Feel okay..?" he asked, his face revealing intrigue as well as concern.

Kie rubbed his head, the shock fading. "Aside from the newly found exhaustion, I'll live. Why?"

"You're eye is... uh..."

Kie shook his head, trying to shake away the sudden feeling of fatigue. "My eye's what?" He mused. "Bloodshot? Well, I did nearly put myself to sleep..."

The Eye of Hell

Ean handed his mask to Kie, "Here, take a look at yourself..."

Kie nodded, turning the mask so that he could see clearly. "Sure. But I don't see what the big deal is--"

Then, when he spotted the demonic eye staring back at him, he stopped mid-sentence. He blinked a few times, the shock returning.

"W-what the hell is this?!" He finally managed to stutter.

Ean crouched down to look closer to Kie's eye, his face contorting into one of scrutiny. After examining the boy's eye and trying not to mimic the kid's own expression of worry, he stood upright again, sighing deeply. "Maybe it's a mixture between the imprint of that red chakra I sealed and Kie's own chakra's effect on his body..."

The blonde bent over, hands on her knees, as she studied it carefully, ignoring the blank expression Kie was giving back. "Hmmm.... I'm not sure about this, Ean..." She muttered softly. "But... this doesn't look like just a regular solution that can be caused by two things combining."

The older man crossed his arms and considered Sachi's words, thoroughly, as they had considerable weight. As he knew, the demon implanted inside Kie obviously had to do with this, and he knew it was the imprint of Kie's imminent possession. But he couldn't tell the boy about this, as it would be overly traumatizing. So, he regrettably was forced to lie. "Hmm... I suppose it's due to the fact that kie tapped into his chakra at all..."

"W...what?!" Kie exclaimed, pulling himself up to his feet and staring at the two incredulously. "You mean to tell me that all of that effort just helped me get an eye mutation?! Are you kidding me?!"

Ean glanced sideways at Sachi, his eyes betraying a mixture of annoyance and intrigue, as well as a hint of worry. He recentered his line of sight on the boy's eye and said "Well, it seems that is so. But we need to find out if this eye has anything to do with unlocking your abilities or if you have a chakra abnormality or what have you."

The blonde could only frown thoughtfully, as Kie's expression turned hopeless. He flopped himself down onto the ground, his back connecting with the ground roughly, but not very hard. "Great...just super...." He muttered. "What'm I gonna do with the friggin' version of demonic pink eye?"

Ean sighed and turned away, removing his jacket. "Either I can seal that too, which is more pain than it's worth, or we can wait and see what it does. Pick your poison."

Sachi gave Ean a skeptical look, a devilish glint almost appearing in her eyes. "You sure that he has to pick?" She asked dryly, feigning a bit of disappointment.

That immediately caused Kie to jerk up to stare at her fearfully. "No, no, no, I'll take the waiting!" He exclaimed, waving his hands back and forth frantically.

Ean smirked, if only for a moment, and turned on his heel, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. He cocked an eyebrow, and put a serious tone in his voice. "Really? I dunno, it seems that you could do with me sealing that 'evil eye' of yours..." he said, rubbing his hands together and letting a few sparks fly from his skin.

In normal cases, a person would've just went piss-scared and ran for their life, while they still could. Of course, there were no exits, but hell, who would stay with someone who was gonna give them a whole lot of pain?

But it wasn't a normal case, when it came to Kie...


In an instant, he had unsheathed his sword and pointed the blade tip at Ean, eyes gleaming with defiance and fear. "Touch me..." He warned. "A-and I'll cut your damn hands off for real!"

Ean raised both if his eyebrows unnaturally high, and turned his head to Sachi.

"Uh... Sachi... could you be a dear and say something to keep me from lacking a head?"

"What?" Sachi asked, raising an eyebrow and folding her arms across her chest. "It was only a joke... unless the sealing is absolutely neccessary, I think we should wait it out, don't you think?"

That relaxed Kie a bit, as his shivering stopped, but his blade was still pointing straight at Ean, as if the man would've taken him by surprise by any instant.

The man now holding his hands up took the opportunity to get out of the sticky situation, "I agree. Waiting and watching will certainly be of help if this thing spreads at all as well," he said, slowly moving his hand to remove the tip of Kie's sword from pointing at his neck.

His action wasn't really needed, as Kie immediately twisted and sheathed the blade back in its home, folding his arms across his chest. " guys are just looking for a way to torture me, aren't you?" He muttered irately, eye twitching.

Ean scoffed, "I was just having fun with a little joke, don't take it too seriously. Anyway, if you feel that the eye is, say, about to explode in a burst of magical energy and chakra, then you should tell us."

Kie nodded, although skeptically. "I'll be sure to inform you right away, so that I can get a good ol' shot..." He replied dryly.

Ean distinctly felt a droplet of sweat slide down his temple, but decided it wasn't extremely important. He rolled his sleeves back down and placed his hands on his swords, "Well, if that eye has nothing to do with combat, then we might as well find out right now. Care to spar?"

Kie sighed, his hand on his hilt once more. "Well... I always have wanted to repay you for that hole in my stomach..." He admitted, putting on a grin as his eyes fell on Ean.

Sachi decided to step back, folding her arms across her chest as she sat on one of the nearby boulders at her position. "Don't go too far, boys." She said coolly, eyes showing a bit of interest.

"Oho, is that so? You might end up getting another one if you're not careful boy," said Ean, a light chuckle resounding through the cave, coupled with the sound of two lightning-quick draws of his swords, both of which were surprisingly clean and looked almost brand new, as if they were forged just yesterday.

"Don't worry." Kie replied. "I won't make the same mistake again..." He swung his sword into a defensive stance, feet spread out, and his eyes gleamed with eagerness. "Now.... let's do it."

Ean could not be seen in his next movement, he was already below Kie at the time the boy's senses caught up with him. The man put the boy's katana between his own two blades, pushing the two edges together so as to quickly push the opposing sword upwards. The force of the attack was so great that Kie, having been unsuspecting for the most part, lost his grip on the sword, seeing it fly directly upwards in a whirling motion. Ean drew back his rapier, saying "Here's the second hole I promised!"

The next move he had to make would have to be a quick one. Something that a swordsman was always known for.

Clenching one of his fists, Kie moved himself a little to the left, the rapier's deadly blade darting past him. His movements were almost similar to Ean's; the same footwork, unhesitance, and the cold movement of his attack when it came. Only this time, it wasn't a sword.

All it took was a low uppercut to strike the solar plexus of his opponent, and he could literally feel the air pushed out of the lungs, as his fist buried itself. Putting one foot behind Ean, and an arm around his neck, he proceeded to throw the man down to the ground, using momentum to his advantage.

When Kie straightened up again, his hand reached upwards to catch his falling blade, and he immediately walked backwards, a disappointed look onto his face. "Oh, come on..." He complained. "If this is two swordsman fighting, why bother to disarm me?"

The swordsman Kie had just floored, literally, did not respond, and his face was expressionless. Obviously, this was a sign of danger. Ean's body began to glisten, and after a moment, a loud cracking noise was heard, and the middle of Ean's shirt had a sharp tent in it's surface. Another second allowed the growing spikes of ice to protrude even farther from the man's chest, directly at Kie, who was defenseless.

What was left? Why dodging, of course!

With a leap and a front flip, Kie propelled himself sideways like a trained monkey on a trapeze act, the crystal bullets flying past him to embed themselves into the far wall. "That was cold...senpai." He complained again, grinning good-naturedly. "Get that chip off of your shoulder already, will ya?"

Despite all his efforts to evade attack, kie was immediately tripped without warning. Ean was standing over him, saying "Senpai, huh? Didn't know you respected me like that," bringing his wakazashi above his head, in a motion seemingly meant to behead the boy, hoping the kid could move faster than he could swing.

His eyes were innocent, almost having a curious appearance to them, as he looked up at Ean. "And I didn't expect you to be so quick to end this... guess we're even in that department!"

Quickly, he rolled over like a dog, flipping onto his feet right next to his beloved blade.

As he saw the evasion, Ean twisted his body onto his right shoulder and rolled to his side, resetting himself on one knee, facing Kie. In one fluid motion, he had kept momentum to his blade, swinging it away from his body as he righted himself, sending a wave of flames towards his opponent.

In turn, Kie cartwheeled out of the way, the heat singing his skin as the flames went past. Then, he pushed himself forward, lunging at Ean and his sword poised to strike once more.

Drawing his rapier, Ean quickly swiped his newly revealed sword, keeping the tip pointing straight upwards, to his right, intersecting with Kie's near the rapier's guard. Continuing the motion to the right against the boy's lunge with his right hand, Ean drew back his left hand, holding his wakizashi, below his now extremely bent elbow and started to pull outwards with the same hand, going for a solid, deep slice to his student's gut.

Now it was a matter of momentum. Still lunging forward, Kie twisted himself like a tornado, jerking out of Ean's counter-lunge at the last minute. The blade still managed to slash through his clothing, but only left a minor gash in his side. It didn't matter. Forcing his sword out of the interlock, Kie, still in the twisting form, brought both of his hands together, aimed, and swung hard.

The reward: the spraying of blood from Ean's exposed side. It spilled onto the floor like a short waterfall, staining the ground and plants with a crimson red. Turning the hilt, Kie crouched and roughly struck the wound again with the butt of his hilt.

Ean gasped roughly at the feeling of his torso being ripped open, the red spray speckling his face with few dots of dark liquid, as well as covering the entirety of his clothing under his arm with the same hue. His eye widening after squinting from the blast of stinging pain to his body, Ean pulled both of his hands up over his head and stepped forward, going closer into Kie's guard, where he could not escape from the attack. Swinging downwards as hard as he could muster, Ean gritted his teeth, the shining blades he possessed now inches away from Kie's shoulders.

There was only one thing to do: attack.

He found himself gritting his teeth as well, as he swung his own sword right back, but the sharp part went into a horizontal direction, as Ean's own blades came down upon him. It was a mirror: both of their attacks inches away from each other, and only one direction to go.

There was only one question left. Would they take it?

Ean, at this point, didn't care whether he was going to be hit at point-blank range or not. What mattered was that he was the one to continue to keep the boy under his heel, particularly now due to the current circumstances. If he could keep the eye under control, then the demon's influence would stay relatively low-level as well. So, in order to keep this his win, he sped up his left arm and blocked the oncoming attack, sliding the edge of his rapier down Kie's left ribcage. The resulting slashing noise was satisfying to one of the pair and sickening to the other, the sound of metal against flesh and clothing easily heard throughout the cave.

A mix of gasping and shudder escaped from the boy's mouth, as he fell onto one knee, the pain overcoming his mind. The arm he was supporting himself on was made to collapse in on itself, and his position was even more vulnerable. In his pained expression, he rose his head up to look at the man above him, having lost all support. He felt his mutated eye also begin to twitch, seemingly out of sudden fear.

Breathing very heavily and sweating from the battle, Ean flicked his blades outwards to fling the traces of blood off of their seemingly unused surfaces, the red liquid splattering on the grass at their feet. He turned around, sheathing his swords, and said to Sachi "Do you have the bandages I bought a bit ago? We'll need them."

Needless to say, the blonde held her usual level-headed look on her face.

But the traces of her eyes held the glint of amusement, clearly having enjoyed the view of spectation. Even she had to admit it was a bit of an improvement from the previous fight she had witness with the Guardian Captain, even if Kie had been possessed at the time.

Gripping the rock with both hands, she gently pushed of of the rough boulder she had been sitting on, reaching behind her back. "Sure... they were in the pouch you were carrying, right?" She asked.

"Yeah, they're kept in a big roll," he replied, crossing his arms in anticipation. Despite the fact that it wasn't a completely serious wound and it was just practice, Ean still felt a bit worried. He never liked to inflict harm on those he would prefer to stay unharmed. Looking over his shoulder, he said "Kie, can you feel your arms and legs?"

What would happen next would once again prove to be an anomoly of unforseen consequences.

The moment Kie's gaze met back with Ean's, the devilish eye cringed.

It twitched, as if threatening to spill out.

Then, like a human heart, its spherical shape was covered in the mist of red. It only took that fleeting second...


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