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Fanfiction ► The Dark God



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King Wolfe

Basically... Run
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  • Alter Ego
“Look, look!”

“Ui dear, sit down.”

The taxi rolled through the city quietly and humbly as the three passengers calmly assessed the huge metropolis. It was certainly as grand as they had expected it to be. The pure cobalt sky glinted brightly against the bright sun, white clouds drifted lazily by underneath the skyscrapers that gleamed wickedly under the morning sun. It was a huge change of scenery considering they had previously lived in the country side.

Business had called though. Due to conflicting orders they were literally forced to move out in the city to deal with these problems personally. Ayumi Kurokami was more worried about what would happen to her daughter, Ui. She personally didn’t mind what happened to her own life, it was her daughter’s that concerned her. In an ironic twist of fate despite their efforts to keep Ui out of this life they were the catalyst that threw her in everything.

Satoshi Kurokami, like Ayumi, was cruelly indifferent about his own life. He wanted to keep Ui out of this just like Ayumi, and to an even severe degree; he wanted to hide Ui from everything. Oh, if only things could be that simple. All he would have to do is conceal Ui from everyone, from reality, she would disappear from existence. But nothing comes that easily.

The five year old Ui stared out of the cab window, awe-struck at the display. It was so fascinating! She had knowledge about the city from the TV shows she watched at home, and although it wasn’t as extravagant as the shows she watched it was still amazing! So many weird people existed in the city. She saw a few girls wearing weird white and black outfits, they kinda looked like the caretakers Ui had at home but a little unrestricted.

Ui wanted to take in these sights as much as she could. Her parents’ business always involved long boring meetings with weird people. Ui would have to dress up all nice and primp and have to sit still and not fall asleep, and then she would have to say – in a very sweet, but reserved voice – “it is an honor to meet you.” If they ask for her name she would have to say, “Hello, I am Ui Kurokami, it is an honor to meet you.” But that is only if they asked her name first, if not she would have to say her name only without that last part. She had to sit and practice saying that over a hundred times! It was painful but it was so the weird people wouldn’t get mad at her mommy and daddy, otherwise Ui would play in the backyard stark naked.

The only good thing that came out of these meetings was that one boy she met. His name was Yahiko Watanabe; he had a nice face and was super nice to her! In fact, she liked him so much she showed him the hiding spots she had set up all over her estate. Ui glanced at her hand, grimaced slightly she looked out the window again. When she met Yahiko she wrote his name on her hand and recited it twenty times at least. Ui decided she liked Yahiko’s name. But the bath washed her scribbling away so she couldn’t look at it anymore.

Ui’s pudgy cute face stared out the window, her bright eyes were curious and filled with wonder. Her chocolate brown hair was tied up neatly in a ponytail, it had grown out too long and her bangs covered her face. She looked more like her dad with her hair, but her crystal blue eyes were exactly like her mother’s.

“Those stingy old coots don’t leave well enough alone do they?” Ayumi huffed annoyingly; her rebellious attitude had caused trouble for her the Akiyama clan, her family. Despite their pleas not to marry to abnormal, albeit powerful, Kurokami clan she had defied their wishes and went off anyways. Ayumi was certainly powerful and beautiful being the former heiress of the matriarchal clan, in her youth she was revered as one of the most beautiful woman in the world of martial arts. Her dark hair tumbled down her shoulder and framed her face nicely, her annoyed features couldn’t conceal her naturally pretty face.

“Yeah, they don’t seem to trust us. I wonder why?” Satoshi looked over at Ayumi and gave her a goofy smile. The handsome and brave Satoshi Kurokami was not without his quips. He was an eccentric fighter and was extremely care-free. He never bothered with the business of his clan, much to their chagrin, and pursued a life of fun. But these qualities failed to betray his ruthlessness in battle.

Ayumi looked away, embarrassed. During the last meeting – two weeks ago – Ayumi had gracefully snuck away from the estate with her daughter in hand to play at the amusement park. Her reasoning afterward was just as straightforward as she is, “They were boring me and Ui wanted to go!”

The center of the tristate area was composed o an encirclement of buildings. They were immensely tall and stretched up to the sky. It was the city’s Social Circle, as they referred it. It was renowned for its amazing shopping center and culinary appreciation, it is said that in all of Arcadia you could find food from everywhere in the world in the Social Circle. Being one of the biggest hotspots of the nation and as a huge cultural magnet that statement is probably true.

Ui craned her neck to get a better sight at the skyscrapers but the cab window was closed. The driver stopped, signaling the end of the ride. Ayumi thanked the driver and handed him a hundred dollar bill, despite the fact that the amount owed was $13.23. Without another word the family stepped out of the vehicle and headed to the biggest building in the center of the Circle.

The Martial Arts Alliance was what it was referred to by martial artists all around the world. However, to the ordinary people they were known as the 9 Point Federation. It is a civil organization with the intent of introducing cultural acceptance and with the hopes of bringing the world together, starting with Arcadia. The ordinary people have no clue that an entire underworld martial arts league has formed underneath their noses. They act under the guise formed by their social cover, no one knows of their existence except the denizens within the dark world.

The Kurokami clan and the Akiyama clan were two prominent clans within the Alliance. The Kurokami clan is famous because of their impeccable sword techniques and their martial art: the Black Heaven and Earth technique. While the Akiyama clan is powerful because of their amazing ki circulation, they have an overwhelming ki presence and are so powerful and old it is said that the heiress before Ayumi was a woman that was aged a hundred seventy years but maintained the appearance of a woman in her forties. There are rumors that the Akiyama clan had discovered the secret to longevity and eternal youth. However, none have been confirmed – or denied either. The Alliance was smart with keeping their eyes on both clans and, more specifically, Ui. The martial arts world was always locked in a power struggle, the Alliance was there to keep peace but more and more powerful clans have been popping up with the intent of leading the Alliance. It is expected that one would become suspicious.

Ayumi and Satoshi, though, didn’t care for this power struggle. In fact that is the entire reason they lived in the countryside, to get away from all of this mess. But they have been dragged in again. You see, the compromise the Alliance has promised to both Satoshi and Akiyama was that if they gave up both the Black Heaven and Earth style and the secret to longevity they would leave them to live in peace. The problem with that idea is that there is no promise that everyone else would leave them alone.

There are numerous masters out there in the world that aren’t aligned with the Alliance. They are all seeking the gain power; if the secret of an ancient martial art and the method to longevity were released then both the Kurokami and Akiyama clan would suffer a severe blow and lose control. It would threaten not only Ui, but both clans. They would all be in danger of death.

Here comes the conundrum. Give up your clan’s most serious secret to guarantee a half-hearted promise of protection or live under the watchful eye of the Alliance and every bloodthirsty martial artist in the world. Both options were shit. That’s why Satoshi offered an option of his own. He suggested that both the secret to eternal youth and the Black Heaven and Earth style would die would them, that no one would inherit them. This seemed to scare everyone off and for a few months they were able to live in peace until two weeks ago a messenger from the Alliance requested their presence. They denied and everyday for a week messengers came by asking for them. Finally Ayumi had had enough and decided to go give them a piece of her mind. So, here they are.

The front lobby was a pleasant surprise. The room was extremely spacious with a few chairs and stray benches scattered about. Paintings depicting Greek mythological scenes decorated the place, large designs that assumed the form of Chinese characters – that of which meant “Loyalty and Honor” – plastered on the wall right behind the receptionist’s desk. The Kurokami family walked straight up to the front desk, feeling particularly aware of their footsteps that resonated within the room and evaporated away seconds later.
 

Nyangoro

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  • Retired Staff
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  • Master of Monologues
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I'm feeling chatty today, so I'm going to go through this paragraph by paragraph :D

“Look, look!”

“Ui dear, sit down.”
Just a quick rule of them, you don't usually want to start off with dialog. I don't want to say that you can never start off with it, but typically you don't. The reader has no idea who is talking or anything about them, so it often comes across as empty.

The taxi rolled through the city quietly and humbly as the three passengers calmly assessed the huge metropolis. It was certainly as grand as they had expected it to be. The pure cobalt sky glinted brightly against the bright sun, white clouds drifted lazily by underneath the skyscrapers that gleamed wickedly under the morning sun. It was a huge change of scenery considering they had previously lived in the country side.
There's some good description in here, but you rely too much on "-ly" adverbs. When you use them too much, it makes the writing feel amateurish. What you want to do is find other ways to describe things, such as incorporating metaphors and similes. You can use "-ly" adverbs, just be sure to use them sparingly. Make sure they benefit what it is describing and that it makes sense. For example, "glinted brightly" is redundant, because "glinting" is bright by definition.

Business had called though. Due to conflicting orders they were literally forced to move out in the city to deal with these problems personally. Ayumi Kurokami was more worried about what would happen to her daughter, Ui. She personally didn’t mind what happened to her own life, it was her daughter’s that concerned her. In an ironic twist of fate despite their efforts to keep Ui out of this life they were the catalyst that threw her in everything.
Adding to the bit about "-ly" adverbs, the second sentence provides an example of both when they work and when they do not. Using the term "literally" is unnecessary. In fact, it doesn't make a lot of sense either. The sentence is just describing the situation, it doesn't need the extra emphasis that "literally" conveys. Likewise, the use of "personally" at the end of the sentence works, since it provides relevant information that adds to the sentence.

Now, you do use the word again in short order, which you might want to change. Except for very common words (such as articles, prepositions, and other necessities of sentence structure), you want to be able to diversify your vocabulary. Readers can pick up on when you use certain words over and over in short order, and it makes you look like you have a limited vocabulary.

Now for a more glaring error in grammar. In the last sentence, "despite their efforts to keep Ui out of this life" is a dependent clause. It provides additional information, but is not a standalone sentence. More importantly, they must be surrounded by commas.

Satoshi Kurokami, like Ayumi, was cruelly indifferent about his own life. He wanted to keep Ui out of this just like Ayumi, and to an even severe degree; he wanted to hide Ui from everything. Oh, if only things could be that simple. All he would have to do is conceal Ui from everyone, from reality, she would disappear from existence. But nothing comes that easily.
I understand the idea behind this paragraph, but it was too expository for my taste. I know you need to introduce characters, but this paragraph comes across as you saying, "Alright, here's everything you need to know about this character." We aren't shown him pushing Ui away, we are just told that he does. We should see this through actions and dialog.

The five year old Ui stared out of the cab window, awe-struck at the display. It was so fascinating! She had knowledge about the city from the TV shows she watched at home, and although it wasn’t as extravagant as the shows she watched it was still amazing! So many weird people existed in the city. She saw a few girls wearing weird white and black outfits, they kinda looked like the caretakers Ui had at home but a little unrestricted.
The main thing I want to mention is at the end of the paragraph. I don't understand what you mean by "but a little unrestricted." You might want to reword that for clarity.

Ui wanted to take in these sights as much as she could. Her parents’ business always involved long boring meetings with weird people. Ui would have to dress up all nice and primp and have to sit still and not fall asleep, and then she would have to say – in a very sweet, but reserved voice – “it is an honor to meet you.” If they ask for her name she would have to say, “Hello, I am Ui Kurokami, it is an honor to meet you.” But that is only if they asked her name first, if not she would have to say her name only without that last part. She had to sit and practice saying that over a hundred times! It was painful but it was so the weird people wouldn’t get mad at her mommy and daddy, otherwise Ui would play in the backyard stark naked.
I'm going to assume this is third-person omniscient narrative, so I'll let the PoV jumps slide for now. I'm also guessing that we'll be seeing things through Ui's eyes for a while.

However, let's move on to another important issue: respecting your readers' intelligence. The line "if not she would have to say her name only without that last part" is a bit insulting. Trust me, we are perfectly capable of figuring out basic greetings between people. You don't need to spell out each possible branch in the dialog tree for us.

The only good thing that came out of these meetings was that one boy she met. His name was Yahiko Watanabe; he had a nice face and was super nice to her! In fact, she liked him so much she showed him the hiding spots she had set up all over her estate. Ui glanced at her hand, grimaced slightly she looked out the window again. When she met Yahiko she wrote his name on her hand and recited it twenty times at least. Ui decided she liked Yahiko’s name. But the bath washed her scribbling away so she couldn’t look at it anymore.
So I guess she's going through puberty? I thought she was younger from what we're told earlier.

Anyway, this was too expository again. You could have described him when you introduced the character. You should also really take a look at the rules for comma usage. They definitely seem to be one of the more difficult concepts for writers to get a handle on.

Ui’s pudgy cute face stared out the window, her bright eyes were curious and filled with wonder. Her chocolate brown hair was tied up neatly in a ponytail, it had grown out too long and her bangs covered her face. She looked more like her dad with her hair, but her crystal blue eyes were exactly like her mother’s.
You want to use "curious" along with "wonder" by saying something like "filled with curiosity and wonder." Calling them "curious" makes it sound like her eyes are strange, peculiar, etc.

“Those stingy old coots don’t leave well enough alone do they?” Ayumi huffed annoyingly; her rebellious attitude had caused trouble for her the Akiyama clan, her family. Despite their pleas not to marry to abnormal, albeit powerful, Kurokami clan she had defied their wishes and went off anyways. Ayumi was certainly powerful and beautiful being the former heiress of the matriarchal clan, in her youth she was revered as one of the most beautiful woman in the world of martial arts. Her dark hair tumbled down her shoulder and framed her face nicely, her annoyed features couldn’t conceal her naturally pretty face.
Now, in this paragraph, we have an "-ly" adverb that (unless I misunderstand the intent) does not work. You see, adverbs describe verbs (and other things, but in this case, it's verbs). "Annoyingly" is describing "huffed," even though I think you meant to use the word to describe her feelings towards the situation. However, that's not how it sounds. It sounds like she huffed in an annoying matter.

Also, I wouldn't follow that up with a semi-colon. The two sentences aren't really connected to each other, so connecting them comes across as forced.

On a quick note, you don't marry to a clan. You marry into a clan.

“Yeah, they don’t seem to trust us. I wonder why?” Satoshi looked over at Ayumi and gave her a goofy smile. The handsome and brave Satoshi Kurokami was not without his quips. He was an eccentric fighter and was extremely care-free. He never bothered with the business of his clan, much to their chagrin, and pursued a life of fun. But these qualities failed to betray his ruthlessness in battle.
First, you describe Satoshi as handsome, even after just previously giving a goofy smile. "Goofy" and "handsome" do not mesh well. You might want to revise that to make it more consistent or natural.

Second, I think you did this before, but I'm going to mention it now. You do not start sentences with conjunctions. In my personal opinion, you want to follow grammar as well as you can in the narration. Dialog is much more lenient, because people don't talk in perfect English; but for narration, you want to adhere to the rules of the language.

Ayumi looked away, embarrassed. During the last meeting – two weeks ago – Ayumi had gracefully snuck away from the estate with her daughter in hand to play at the amusement park. Her reasoning afterward was just as straightforward as she is, “They were boring me and Ui wanted to go!”
Again, this feels like a lot of exposition. You are quickly running through backstory in the narration. There are ways to naturally implement such details into the dialog. It will be much smoother and feel much less forced.

The center of the tristate area was composed o an encirclement of buildings. They were immensely tall and stretched up to the sky. It was the city’s Social Circle, as they referred it. It was renowned for its amazing shopping center and culinary appreciation, it is said that in all of Arcadia you could find food from everywhere in the world in the Social Circle. Being one of the biggest hotspots of the nation and as a huge cultural magnet that statement is probably true.
Not a whole lot to say about this that I haven't said about others. There's some good description, but be sure to proofread your descriptors. Also, the second half of the last sentence is awkward, and could use some revision.

Ui craned her neck to get a better sight at the skyscrapers but the cab window was closed. The driver stopped, signaling the end of the ride. Ayumi thanked the driver and handed him a hundred dollar bill, despite the fact that the amount owed was $13.23. Without another word the family stepped out of the vehicle and headed to the biggest building in the center of the Circle.
Saying "better look at" or "better view of," would sound a lot more natural than "better sight at."

The Martial Arts Alliance was what it was referred to by martial artists all around the world. However, to the ordinary people they were known as the 9 Point Federation. It is a civil organization with the intent of introducing cultural acceptance and with the hopes of bringing the world together, starting with Arcadia. The ordinary people have no clue that an entire underworld martial arts league has formed underneath their noses. They act under the guise formed by their social cover, no one knows of their existence except the denizens within the dark world.
Outside of general grammar things, I can't see much stylistically wrong with this. Exposition is a decent choice for describing this.

The Kurokami clan and the Akiyama clan were two prominent clans within the Alliance. The Kurokami clan is famous because of their impeccable sword techniques and their martial art: the Black Heaven and Earth technique. While the Akiyama clan is powerful because of their amazing ki circulation, they have an overwhelming ki presence and are so powerful and old it is said that the heiress before Ayumi was a woman that was aged a hundred seventy years but maintained the appearance of a woman in her forties. There are rumors that the Akiyama clan had discovered the secret to longevity and eternal youth. However, none have been confirmed – or denied either. The Alliance was smart with keeping their eyes on both clans and, more specifically, Ui. The martial arts world was always locked in a power struggle, the Alliance was there to keep peace but more and more powerful clans have been popping up with the intent of leading the Alliance. It is expected that one would become suspicious.
More exposition. You should really find other ways to divulge information, or at least strive to make the exposition more interesting.

Ayumi and Satoshi, though, didn’t care for this power struggle. In fact that is the entire reason they lived in the countryside, to get away from all of this mess. But they have been dragged in again. You see, the compromise the Alliance has promised to both Satoshi and Akiyama was that if they gave up both the Black Heaven and Earth style and the secret to longevity they would leave them to live in peace. The problem with that idea is that there is no promise that everyone else would leave them alone.
Again, too much exposition.

There are numerous masters out there in the world that aren’t aligned with the Alliance. They are all seeking the gain power; if the secret of an ancient martial art and the method to longevity were released then both the Kurokami and Akiyama clan would suffer a severe blow and lose control. It would threaten not only Ui, but both clans. They would all be in danger of death.
Here comes the conundrum. Give up your clan’s most serious secret to guarantee a half-hearted promise of protection or live under the watchful eye of the Alliance and every bloodthirsty martial artist in the world. Both options were shit. That’s why Satoshi offered an option of his own. He suggested that both the secret to eternal youth and the Black Heaven and Earth style would die would them, that no one would inherit them. This seemed to scare everyone off and for a few months they were able to live in peace until two weeks ago a messenger from the Alliance requested their presence. They denied and everyday for a week messengers came by asking for them. Finally Ayumi had had enough and decided to go give them a piece of her mind. So, here they are.
The past two paragraphs were more of the same.

The front lobby was a pleasant surprise. The room was extremely spacious with a few chairs and stray benches scattered about. Paintings depicting Greek mythological scenes decorated the place, large designs that assumed the form of Chinese characters – that of which meant “Loyalty and Honor” – plastered on the wall right behind the receptionist’s desk. The Kurokami family walked straight up to the front desk, feeling particularly aware of their footsteps that resonated within the room and evaporated away seconds later.
Strange place to end. Nothing really happened.

So yeah, you should really take a look at comma usage. Trust me, it'll do you wonders. So will proofreading, as there are a few typos to be found.

Like I mentioned, watch the exposition and try experimenting with other ways to reveal information. Use events, actions, and dialog to tell the story, relying only on exposition when it's necessary. The problem is, even if something requires exposition, it will still be boring if that's all we've been getting up until then.

On a side note, I'm going to guess that this is based on the anime/manga Kurokami? I haven't seen it enough to remember what it's all about, so that's just a guess.
 

King Wolfe

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  • Alter Ego
The lady behind the desk was pretty, I guess, but her stare was unnerving. The battle-hardened husband and wife duo were immune to her expression but Ui shivered underneath her scrutiny. The couple quickly introduced themselves and the woman informed them that their meeting was in a few minutes, the Elders were already in a meeting. Ayumi scuffed as they sat down in the waiting room.

“Those geezers call us out to meet them and they aren’t even ready, typical bastards..” She grumbled underneath her breath so Ui wouldn’t hear that last part. Ui squirmed a bit under Ayumi’s grip as she was staring across the room at another girl sitting there. The girl was about Ui’s age but looked so focused and concentrated in stark contrast of Ui’s goofy and care-free nature. She had dark hair in cute loops and wore a formal kimono, but what really captured Ui’s attention were her bright cyan eyes. Ui’s own eyes were dark but to see such bright colorful eyes was astonishing!

Ui looked up at her mother and quickly pointed at the lone girl sitting calmly. Ayumi gave her a brief smile and told her to be polite. With a happy smile Ui leaped off of her mom’s lap and walked over to the girl.

She sat so neatly and with such regality it was hard to believe she was a person, she could very easily pass as a statue if she’d like. Her head was bowed slightly and her hands were folded gingerly over her lap, she sat without purpose and without reason, as if she were waiting for someone to tell her to move.

Ui stepped in front of the girl and smiled but she didn’t seem to notice. Ui then patted the girl’s shoulder and she jumped slightly. Her eyes registered fear then resent as she focused on Ui.

“Hi, my name is Ui Kurokami!”

The girl stared blankly at Ui then went to fix her disheveled robes. Ui pouted then took residence in the seat directly next to her. She shuffled slightly so they were shoulder to shoulder. The girl seemed a bit uncomfortable as she shrunk slightly in her seat, but the ever oblivious Ui didn’t notice or didn’t care. Ui turned her face and stared at the girl, “Why are you just sitting here? Where are your parents?”

The girl turned at Ui with such anger in her eyes she looked beyond angry. This quick approach would’ve offended others, but Ui had such a bright and innocent look on her face that the stranger’s angered expression melted away into a shy smile.

“They’re… talking with the grandmasters.” Her quiet voice didn’t fit her regal appearance, to Ui this girl looked like a princess but certainly didn’t speak like one.

“Oh…” Ui was at a loss for words, and then suddenly she had a good idea. Ui pulled out an action figure from her pocket and showed it to the girl, “Look at what I have! Mommy bought it for me at this weird place that sells food, it looks cute ne?” Ui flexed the robot’s muscles and showed off its cheap, plastic build. The girl stared at Ui with a confused expression, who would take pleasure in mundane and cheap pleasures like this? But Ui acted as if she were holding pure gold.

“It’s my first trip into the city!” Ui continued as she made her toy fly like an airplane, producing engine noise with her tongue and all, “Well, except for the time I had to come to meet my grandmom but that was when I was a baby! The city has wonderful things ne? The country is quiet and green, but this city is really loud and bright with colors.” Ui gave her a childish grin that was contagious causing her to return the smile with one of her own.

“Rika Masaki..” The girl said suddenly. Ui stared at her confused. “My name is Rika, it’s nice to meet you Kurokami-san.” Rika held out her hand for a handshake but Ui broke out in a happy smile and hugged Rika suddenly.

“You have such a cute name!” Was all that Ui said in the middle of this critical bear-hug. Rika’s face reddened immediately. Although Rika’s parents gave her hugs all the time this was the first time a complete stranger did it! It felt strange and different from her parents hug, but it felt warm.

Ui finally broke the hug and beamed cheerfully at her new friend. Suddenly remembering Ui pulled away and searched her shorts for a marker. Rika looked at her curiously.

“What are you looking for Kurokami-san?” She asked. Ui looked up and squished her cheeks so she looked like a fish, sort of.

“Puu~, puu~!” Ui said with her cheeks squished, she removed her hands and gave Rika a stern look, “Kurokami-san sounds so weird, call me Ui!”

“R-right… U-Ui.”

“See!” Then Ui quickly remembered what she was doing before and took the marker to scribble something down on her hand. After she was finished she showed Rika her work with gusto. On her tiny little hand was written, “Rika Masaki”.

“It’s so I don’t forget your name Ricchan, my mommy told me to write the names of people you really, really like on your hand.” Rika visibly blushed at that. She turned away to cover her reddened face which made Ui only curious as to why she looked away.

“’L-Like’, what do you mean?”

“Well, mommy says that there are two different types of people in the world. People you don’t know, and people you know, the ones you know are the ones you like and because you don’t know the other ones you can’t like them. My goal is to meet everyone in the world so that there is no one I don’t know and that I really like everyone in the world!” It was a childish and naïve wish, but this is Ui we’re talking about.

“So far I only know you, my mommy and daddy, Yahiko, Yahiko’s mommy and daddy, and my grandmom!” She counted each person on her finger and was astonished by the number of people she knew, and liked, already. “I think I’m getting close to everyone in the world…” She mused to herself.

Rika giggled at Ui’s antics. Although the two were of the same age Rika understood the impossibility of her wish but couldn’t help laugh anyways. Forgetting her previous embarrassment Rika laughed and laughed, much to Ui’s dismay.

“What? Did I say something funny?” Ui complained with a cute pout on her face that made Rika laugh even more.

“Oh right… I forgot!” Before Rika could react Ui gripped Rika’s shoulders and pulled her in for a quick kiss. Right smack-dab on the lips, in fact. Another grand lesson from Ayumi, the ones you love are the ones who deserve your kisses, unfortunately, she forgot to explain that etiquette to kissing.

Ui pulled away and smiled innocently while poor Rika was unnaturally red. Ayumi looked over and laughed at the small spectacle, Ui was an affectionate girl ready to show her love to anyone. Thankfully she was taught to kiss adults on the cheeks rather than on the lips like poor Rika. Rika didn’t even have a chance to retaliate as two adults came out from the door making her jump in surprise then head over to them. Rika was half-way to her parents before Ui leaped off her seat to follow.

“Wait!” She stopped Rika and turned her around, Rika prepared for another surprise kiss but instead Ui handed her the action figure. “Here! In case you might forget me.” As if that kiss wasn’t enough to get Rika to remember Ui, but Rika didn’t say that aloud; instead Rika smiled and whispered a small thank you.

Ui, feeling proud of herself, went back over to her mom. “Mommy, I made friends with that pretty girl.” Ayumi gave her a smile without feeling uneasy about her actions. Ui wasn’t the type to unnecessarily give people kisses when she feels like it, at times, but instead considers her actions well… At least, that’s what Ayumi hopes.

Their conversation wasn’t long as the secretary came into the room and informed them that the elders were ready. Ayumi and Satoshi gave Ui instructions to sit there while they go converse with them, although they both seemed annoyed by that prospect.

Twenty minutes had passed and Ui felt lethargic. Half an hour passed and Ui felt restless. An hour and twenty minutes passed and Ui felt frustrated. How long had Rika been sitting there waiting? Ui hated sitting still for a long time but she had too! Her mom told her to.

Ten more minutes passed and Ui decided that she had enough. She jumped off her seat and headed for the door her parents entered. The doorknob was at an unperceivable height that was beyond her small stature but that wouldn’t discourage her. Grabbing a chair Ui spent a good portion of ten minutes dragging that surprisingly heavy chair to the door performing scaling it and standing on her toes to reach the knob.

After three attempts – one of which that resulted in a near fall – she managed to open the pearly gates and entered the hallway that spanned inward. The hallway had numerous doors as it yawned forward into an eventual stop to a grand training arena about twenty doors down. But from here it looked like a hallway into hell. The place was barely lit and the lights that were on caused the hallway to look a deep crimson with infinite shadows. Ui wasn’t scared she was just shell-shocked at how expansive the place was. She thought her house was big but this took the cake. The creepy atmosphere behind each room that occupied the place seemed to be busy with something as noises that ranged from music to loud yelling resonated on the very floor.

Ui stepped inside and the door behind her shut with a start. She felt a bit nervous but a bit excited at the same time, some sense of danger filled her but it made her anticipate the thrill of the chase anyways. She walked for what seemed to be hours trying to open the doors that she came across but to find that they were locked. She was about to give up when she heard her mother’s voice. It was a faint whisper but Ui ran as fast as her little legs could carry her, she came across a slightly ajar door and stood at the other end to hear her mother speak more clearly this time.

“We should not have to divulge anything after considering how active this ‘Alliance’ has been in our lives, hell, not even that, you’ve been sticking your nose in the business of the Akiyama clan for years. My clan’s business is to us and not to a bunch of senile men like yourselves!” Ui recoiled at the sound of her mother’s voice, she sounded so… angry. Ui has never heard her mother speak so harshly or coldly in… well, ever!

“My master had left me the secret to the Black Heaven and Earth style after being exiled from the Alliance after he had, supposedly, threatened one of you. It is rightly reserved to us and not for your personal use.” Ui’s father sounded angry too, what are these guys doing that are making her parents sound so mad?

“There is only one true aspect of martial arts, cruelty!” The man’s tone and words were cruel and freezing with brutality, Ui shivered at the sound of his voice, “That is to say, what makes you think we would just sit by while two of the most prominent clans in this world stay secluded with their own secrets.”

“As much as it pains me to say, I must agree with him,” another cold voice, but this one was more refined and eloquent, “It is all for the purpose of balance and security; we are not treating you any different than anyone else.”

“Why should it matter anyways? You two have been open with your opinions and have publicly refused to be a part of your respective clans, it wouldn’t hurt you to indulge us.”

“That isn’t the point,” Ayumi spoke again, she sounded close to blind fury, “The point is what you intend to do with them! We are not strangers to how things operate in the martial arts world; we know how easily you dispose of people, as if they were trash.”
An eerie silence replaced the hostile environment. The entire building was holding its breath, Ui didn’t dare move a muscle; she felt the tension in the air and was no stranger to hostile intentions. The place is literally a pindrop away from a fight. Ui didn’t want that, she didn’t want her parents getting hurt.

“If that is your wish Ayumi, but I’m afraid you leave us no choice.”

Panic closed Ui’s throat.

“Fine, I guess not.” Her father refuted coldly.

Oh no, they were going to fight!

Without thinking Ui burst inside the room and quickly tackle-hugged her mom, tears flowed from her eyes as she cried out, “Don’t fight!”

Ayumi, surprised at Ui’s sudden appearance, dropped her guard momentarily to look at Ui for a split second. Without warning one of the grandmasters leaped from his seat and poised a powerful lunge at Ayumi’s head. Satoshi skillfully, and impossibly, parried the strike and kicked away the threat.

Before anyone could retaliate one of the other masters began to laugh stopping everyone in their tracks.

Ui looked up from her mother’s chest to see the laughing master. He was an impossibly tall man at two meters at least; he had darkened skin with a wild mane of black hair and a strikingly handsome tattooed face. He looked of Thai descent and he had a cheerful smile on his face, as if he were watching a sitcom unfold in front of him.

“My, your daughter certainly is a precocious one isn’t she!” She recognized his eloquence as the man who had regretfully agreed with the cruel one.

The man who tried to attack Ayumi was an elderly man; pale, weathered skin wrapped over his frame disgustingly as a cold sneer played over his features. He had a pathetic white beard and little hair on his balding head.

“Let us not begin unnecessary fights in such a place, especially in front of a child,” an elderly woman that sat right of the Thai man, she looked small, frail and weakly. She said that not in a way that showed she was concerned for Ui but as if Ui was disrupting everything, like she ruined a chance for her to see everyone fight. She looked at least eighty years old as the white in her hair indicated extreme age. In fact, save for the Thai man everyone looked old and weak, why were her parents concerned of these people?

Even though Ui didn’t understand it she felt a strange power emitting from them, like moments before a thunderstorm or a grand explosion, what did her parents call it… ki?

“Hmph,” the Thai man started with a bright smile, “The only reason we aren’t killing each other here is because we don’t want to select a new council.” Ui’s blood ran cold. This man spoke with honesty and didn’t sound mean, despite his appearance, but he was so indifferent about the idea of his own death or anyone around him that it terrified Ui.

The Thai man is Agaard, a Muay Thai master whose nickname is “Emperor of the Elbows and the Sovereign of the Fists”. He was a fierce fighter who struck like a snake but with the ferocity of a lion. Being one of the more honest persons of this Alliance he has a cheerful disposition, he is respectful and polite in his mannerisms but when challenged to a fight he always fights to kill and never discriminates against gender; he’ll be quick to fight woman and children if they pose an interesting challenge.

The indignant woman is Hae-Woo, the “Bloody Blade of the East”, being a former swordswoman in her youth she takes her experiences in weapons combat and applies it to martial arts. Contrary to her age she is a deadly assassin whose attacks have the reach and sharpness of a sword.

The man who attacked Ayumi is Arashi Arata. A man wrapped in mystery who is renowned for his cruelty in battle and his quick resolution to killing anyone deemed unworthy of being spared. It is said he is the master of all Chinese kung fu but concentrates on murderous techniques and vows to revive the face of martial arts, and being one of the oldest members of the martial arts Alliance he is wizened by his age.

But why were these three here? Ui was under the impression that there were dozens of grandmasters overlooking the Alliance, and why was this handsome man amongst these frail elderly folk? He looked like he could easily kill the older elders because of his huge muscles and liquid grace, but he also looked at home in-between this disastrous conflict.

“Ayumi-dono,” Agaard said calmly, breaking through this tense atmosphere, “Although I don’t care too much about your secrets or your clan, it is obvious these people won’t let you go without an answer – you too Satoshi-dono, and if prompted I won’t hesitate to kill you two.”

Satoshi smiled with begrudging respect, “I never knew the Sovereign of the Fists was reduced to nothing more as an attack dog.”

Agaard regarded Satoshi’s prompt with a polite smile. He was about to say something but was immediately interrupted by Ayumi.

“This matter is closed, you want a successor to our techniques but you want to control that person? That will not happen.” Her tone was icy cold which reflected the state of the room, “The successor will be a person of our choice, it will be…” she looked down at Ui and the child swore that Ayumi mouthed I’m sorry, “Ui Kurokami, our daughter.”
 
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