Part 1

Northwest Border, Jade Empire 11th January 2013 - 03:25

"sen ki dou ittō ryuu - kyouken dash"

*千鬼道流一途流・狂犬Thousand demons ways single sword technique - mad dog dash

Ace's speeds through and rams his right upper arm to the chest of his target, one of the six BLUE WINGED WYVERNs, after the initial impact of his upper arm, Ace then connects the 'kashira' or the pommel of his 'chokutou' to hit the lower jaw of the beast; with the opposing force of his two simultaneous. .h.i.ts sends Ace separated from his target and finishes his attack with a single vertical slash that arch right to the chest of the BLUE WINGED WYVERN. The BLUE WING WYVERN could only fall to the ground as it is unable to breathe from that 3 solid a.s.sault.

For quite some time now, Ace has been going all-out against the endless swarms of REMNANTs. These REMNANTs have seemingly dominated the battlefield, but, thanks to an unexpected reinforcement from the Jade Empire, Ace and the JUUSANKA were able to rest for 3 hours before resuming battle against the horde of creatures.

He could see the genuine a.s.sistance from the empire since their King, a youthful maiden, who could only be perceive as a child when looked through the eyes of someone older and taller like Ace. A very cute girl indeed, but as cute and beautiful as she looks, her skills with the swords impressed Ace more than anything. Using the two 9 Huán dàdāo, she skilfully pivots the two broadswords as she cuts the beasts that blocks her path.

"As to be expected from the crowned heiress of the Jade Empire, she is skilled."

Ace did not intend for it to happen but after releasing those words, the girl named Tao Rin or most known as WU ZETIAN started to mutter to herself and eventually plummeted more deeply at the heart of the horde, scoring more REMANTs as if a child who wants to be praised more and continue to cut her path with her swords.

Some sweats drop in Ace's head, was she always like that, she was not like this yesterday... for some reason Ace could not phantom the actions of this certain young king, something must have happened. Ace could only think in between lines as he carefully follows the rush action of this teenage king.

While Ace continued to observe the Jade Empire's King, with in the battle field he could make out voices from the Jade Empires Soldiers:

"They are not diminishing."

"How long are we going to keep killing these things?"

"Are we even going to win?"

It was evident that the soldiers were growing weary. True, the Albion's forces (Ace + 11 JUUSANKA, now JUUICHIKA) were already invigorated through that 3 hour rest, and the Jade Empires forces are fresh, but the battlefield was still in favour to the overwhelming REMNANTs. This is something they all have expected. For one, the REMNANTs did not have any sign of diminishing instead continue to over flow, and secondly, even with the additional forces from Jade Empire they were still outnumbered 10 to 1 and the stamina of that single unit is not eternal. And just thinking about it, the morale of the soldiers begins to plummet.


"Tch, if the Jade Empire orders a retreat now, we will be overwhelmed and the REMNANTs will start attacking the INHABITANTs..." Ace could only curse under his breath, although they are now fighting side-by-side, the two kingdoms are still at odd against the other, and he could not just casually order them to do their best, or something like that. But one thing was certain he needed to do something or else...

"Ha... ha~" a bored voice unexpectedly caught Ace off guard. It was Jade Empire's childish and rash king.

"Didn't I made it clear to have those who have weak resolve to stay on the camp." She continues to breathe that bored tone. The soldiers just lower their heads in shame. In front of them was girl smaller than them, yet she was holding her grounds more than they can handle.

"Well it can't be helped; I might as well look cool for 'my soldiers'." Although she mentioned 'her soldiers', her gaze was towards someone else, to Ace. Ace and the soldiers on the other hand were just dumbfounded. What was she talking about?

Before taking on the horde again, she give Ace another look, Ace could only interpret her look for a challenge. She did excel in her skills, but her rashness could be her undoing. In order to correct this, Ace presented himself to the king and...

"Your highness, its ok to be heated, but rashness could be fatal." Ace seeing the look on Rin's reaction made him think he should have not done that. She just stood their dumbfounded, after a moment of stillness she suddenly came back to life and directed her crimson gaze towards Ace.

"Y-you should not order a king such as 'MYSELF'." She was clearly blushing...

"I can take care of them all" Rin with a meager voice was now looking away, as if to sulk...

"Your highness, if I you allow me, I can cover your back while you do what you were planning earlier." Ace upon seeing the slightly depressed king gave his own thought.

This encouragement was the right thing to do as Rin easily went back to her usual... no her unusually hyped self. She smiles at the young knight and Ace for the first time, saw a beauty that he does not often see in the battlefield, the young girl in front of him might have a body which might be considered that of a child, but the face this young lady was showing was that of a full grown teen, a gaze that could pierce to man's heart. Her crimson qipao adorned with the design of an emerald serpent dragon. The serpent dragon appears as if wrapping itself on the young maiden's natural body curves, alluring the young knight.

Before the young maiden completely goes all out, she in her modest voice spoke two words that only the young knight could hear, "Shǒuzhe wǒ". Did she perhaps think that the young knight could speak her tongue, or perhaps she just could not bring to say the words in front of him? Only she could tell, but the youth true to his oath as a knight, who has sworn 'to protect' received those two words only for his ears "protect me." and he declares in the battlefield:

"Wúrén jīngguò wǒ"

*None shall pa.s.s through me

Part 2

Northwest Border, Jade Empire11th January 2013 - 16:15

Ace and company are now in the final stage of their preparations, the king of Jade Empire was about to do something that might turn the tables against the overwhelming numbers of the REMNANTs. In order to let her do her requisites, no ne must disturb her. Ace, who has accepted the King's order (request) positions himself in front of the young king and sheathes his sword. A fierce look in his eyes as he readies himself for the a.s.sault coming from the REMNANTS who, too notices the change in the air emitted from the maiden king, started to advance towards the king who is in the middle of concentrating.

"Looks like they have noticed..."

The Jade Empire soldiers too who were a few meters from where Ace and Rin have stationed, clashed and battled their share of REMANTS from a.s.saulting their king.

At ease as if nothing was to touch her, calm as if the world was in its deep slumber, Rin with her soothing voice started to sing. Ace, who is right in front of Rin, was in a way in front row seat for the greatest performance of the Jade Empire's King. The young maiden named Tao Rin was now casting a very special SONG to summon the greater AESIRs.

UNMEI NO MAMORIGAMI

KOTAE TAMAE

ITAMI O KANJITARI

KOTAE TAMAE

SERVANTS are creatures that can be tamed by anyone, as long as they have the mental and physical strength to subdue the beast. Once a mutual trust is gain between the two parties (INHABITANT and REMNANT) a contract is formed and the INHABITANT becomes a SUMMONER, who can summon the REMNANT as a SERVANT.

SERVANTS / REMNANTs havecla.s.ses to differentiate themselves from sizes to that of ranks. SERVANTS / REMNANTs are ranked from A - F, A being the strongest, these cla.s.ses are the ones that commonly wanders in the night and try to disrupt the order in the Midnight Congregation. Apart from the regular ranks is the S-Cla.s.s, which one would not normally see wandering in the field.

TSUCHI YO, KAZE YO, MIZU YO, HI WO n.o.bORU

MIZUKARA ARAWASE

SONO TOKI YO

INORI O KOTAE TAMAE

But unlike SERVANTs, AESIRs are special they are beings who are considered G.o.ds, demons or great heroes who are summoned to bring forth greater glories. Unlike those depicted on modern day games such RPGs, you can either buy or go through quests to have a contract to such grand summons. In the Midnight Congregation however, a different system was created, in order to summon such beings, INHABITANTS must defeat and collect SPRITEs from the defeated REMNANTs and use them as ingredients to summon such beings.

SPRITEs has different affinity, they are usually in a form like that of a willow wisp. The affinities are FIRE, WATER, EARTH, WIND, LIGHTNING, GOLD, LIGHT, DARKNESS, and SOUND. One can gather in numbers by defeating countless B - F Cla.s.s REMNANTs, or gather rare SPRITEs from S and A Cla.s.s.

Other than having a great actual academic and non-academic intelligence, one must also posses a great imagination to give form and power to the said being. After collecting the SPRITEs, it will be an experiment as to what being one would actually summon. When successful the AESIR will automatically be registered to the DD System together with its name (given by the one, who first summoned it) and other INHABITANTs / SUMMONERs will be able to summon these beings (without having to gather SPRITEs) as long as they qualify for the requisites. The requisite is for the SUMMONER to have INT (the initial SUMMONER's INT) + 30% INT (the current SUMMONER). INT is measured by the DEVICE; the DEVICE also acts as proxy for the DDS that allows one to summon and store AESIRs and SERVANTs.

KITA, MINAMI, NISHI, HIGASHI E

CHIKARA O AFURERU

TOKI WO KITA

INORI O TSUZUKERU

The data needed to store SERVANTs in the DEVICE is trivial compared to AESIRs. The DEVICE is unique to all individuals, although they multi-function as a regular cellphone, the memory storage is different to individuals, the greater your role in the kingdom the bigger the memory storage of your DEVICE is. If one tries to summon an AESIR with very small memory storage, it will only be a one time 'SUMMON and one won't be able to name the being or even re-summon.

Rin increase her concentration and sings the 'SONG of SUMMONING' with great pa.s.sion, as if to sing for a certain audience. The sounds of bells and chimes overlap as the 'Song of Summoning' is sung. Her voice although soft reverberated at this wide area. The white Sampaguitas started to bloom and the SHENLONG palace (illusionary effect) rises from the ground.

UNMEI NO MAMORIGAMI

KOTAE TAMAE

ITAMI O KANJITARI

KOTAE TAMAE

TSUCHI YO, KAZE YO, MIZU YO, HI WO n.o.bORU

MIZUKARA ARAWASE

SONO TOKI YO

INORI O KOTAE TAMAE

KITA, MINAMI, NISHI, HIGASHI E

CHIKARA O AFURERU

TOKI WO KITA

INORI O TSUZUKERU

"HUANGLONG!"

As Rin opens her eyes and feels the flow of energy, the gate to SHENLONG palace opens and out comes the golden wingless DRAGON with eyes of jade and a body adorned with emerald, walks elegantly towards Rin, its very step could be felt. And as soon as it was behind its contracted king, it roared, a fierce roar that instantly paralyzed the REMNANTs in their place.

As if that was not enough, doors to the SHENLONG PALACE open up and with it an army of HERTADIs with tamed eyes and in their chest the CREST of the SOURING HEAVENLY DRAGON came rushing and attacked the wild REMNANTs, some even protected the JUUSANKA and the JADE EMPIRE soldiers from being attacked by the REMNANTs.

The tables have indeed been turned the numbers were now on equal footing. With new found vigor Ace and the JUUSANKA gathers all their energy to break the REMNANT's formations. The Jade Army's morale also skyrocketed and starts to begin their individual a.s.saults.

The real counter attack begins.

Part 3

Northwest Border, Jade Empire12th January 2013 - 02:18

"For such a young girl you were able to summon such a great beast..." Ace never meant is as flattery, he was really impressed for such an AESIR that could bring out multiple SERVANTs.

"Please don't talk to me..." Tao Rin blushed and started to mutter those words.

Ace was quite confused at her reaction. It was kind of different when she plummeted into the heart of the enemy formation with her swords when she heard a word of praise. But Ace was going to receive the answer in the most unthinkable way.

*slash

*clash

Ace barely parried an attack that came suddenly from his side. The HERTADI bearing a CREST of the SOURING HEAVELY DRAGON came to attack him. Rin was also shocked and instantly reacted by forcibly closing her eyes and started to concentrate. After Rin begun to be silent, the HERTADI that plunge towards Ace earlier, made an apologetic gesture while scratching its head. Ace could only respond to the creature by weaving his left hand as if to ensure forgiveness.

"It's my first time summoning the HUANGLONG since I was told about it by my predecessor." She blushed again while trying to apologize.

Summoning SERVANTs requires concentration in order to keep it from attacking allies. In the same way AESIRs requires that concentration... no, the concentration level is higher; to Rin who is considered a combat type much like Ace, could never bring themselves to relax and concentrate by letting other beings do the attacking for them.

The battle became easy after Rin has summoned the great emperor dragon HUANGLONG, although it was her first time to summon such a great being, she was able to maintain her composure and concentration so that only the REMNANTS were targeted by the Jade Empire 's HERTADIs.

It was going good for the kingdoms, but Rin was not omnipotent with the prolonged concentration and inactivity her consciousness tolled her body and instantly dispelled the summon, the great Dragon Emperor HUANGLONG without his contractor disappears together with his own HERTADI retainers.

It might have been a dire situation if the REMNANTS continued to sp.a.w.n, but at this time the cracks on the air were no longer visible. Protecting the Jade Empires king, who was now unconscious were Ace's subordinates.

"Sorry sir Ace, we got caught up with our parents." Gerard apologizes genuinely while Kia was kind of depressed because she missed a lot of actions. Ace only smiled at her dismay thinking that they would have their time sometime, and perhaps soon.

The 12th of January 2013 a Sat.u.r.day, as promised by the king of Albion, the 5th and 8th SWORD arrived as reinforcement for Ace and the JUUSANKA to eliminate the remaining REMNANTs. Not far from SWORDS were Primula and Lucerne who finally made it back to the same battlefield as their sisters. Ace gave off a sigh of relief and smiled as he saw the 13 sisters gathered together in one area.

While Sir Leonell and Sir Galahad together with their subordinates cleansed the battlefield with overwhelming strength and a one sided battle, the unconscious Rin was now being tended to by her attendant and best friend, Ching Ann.

The whole day the Jade's army were resting while the 5th and 8th 'House of Knights', Sir Galahad and sir Leonel's knights composing of five members each together with Kia and Gerard easily eliminated the remaining REMNANTS, by time the sun sets to the west.

Both camps were stationed in that empty lot while they eat and drink together as they waited for day to break on the 13th.

Northwest Encampment, Jade Empire13th January 2013 - 06:08

The sun shone earlier than expected, everyone was quite refreshed even though their body was still riddled with fatigue, but even so the worst possible scenario was now behind them, or at least that was what was in Ace's mind, but, before he could completely relax a voice stopped Ace from his initial conclusion.

"Don't think that this is over Mr. Knight." The voice was weary and meek, it sounded like a cat, which has not eaten in days. It was the young voice of the maiden king, Tao Rin. After her nights rest she still was wobbling because of her own fatigued body.

With Rin's unexpected words the air begun to tense again. The Jade Empire soldiers who were resting a while ago were now reaching for their SLATEs. Gerard and Kia also did the same. It was nothing but a bad after taste, the people who were trying to protect each other, ate with each other were now going to point their blades against the other.

"I request a one-on-one battle with Albion." Rin focused all her energy just to stand. Ching Ann on the other hand did not in the slightest protest; the tall slender a.s.sistant must have known her true objective from the start.

The tension was dispelled with those words, Ace although he was still quite hesitant with her proposition since at her state, the Jade Empire's King was in no condition to fight, although he for one thought it was better choice than having everyone here battle it out like savages.

"In the absence of our King, Arthur Pendragon, I, Head knight of the 5th SWORD accept that challenge..."

Ace was shock out of worry, even if it was the knight duties to protect Albion, at the weakened state of Rin, the young king was nothing more but a girl in the face of a fully energized knight. But as a mere low ranking knight he had no say in front of the 'House of Knights'.

As he chance upon to gaze at the two knights, he thought that he must have been in a horrified state that could make sir Leonel and sir Galahad laugh at him. Ace could only bow his head in shame, the two are knight to the core, and follow the knight's code: "Not to take up battles in wrongful quarrels for love or worldly goods"

"...Is what I wanted to say but... in your current state even if you are King it will sully the knight's honor if we won at our overwhelming advantage." Sir Galahad gave her all the reason not to fight today, and that he would battle with her on a promised date when she has fully recuperated. But Rin just swayed her head.

"If I don't fight now, I feel that I won't be able to move forward." Rin softly muttered these words, her voice was weak but those words were as heavy as her resolve. The two knights became serious.

Ace was now in a state of panic and approached the young lady.

"Your highness, please be rational."

But Rin just pouted in front of him and gave him a stern look.

"So my lady, what do you propose?" Sir Leonel asked the crowned heir of Jade Empire.

Part 4

Northwest Encampment, Jade Empire13th January 2013 - 07:14

A smile that brightly shone together with the sun was painted on Rin's face as she points her finger towards a certain knight.

"Hahahahaha!" Sir Galahad could only laugh at Rin's proposition

"More than defeating the 'House of Knights, you want to duel on a regular knight." Sir Leonel smiled at the young king. "Are all kings in the Midnight Congregation weird or something?" He was not trying to pick a fight to anyone, he stated 'everyone' that would also mean that his king, Arthur Pendragon is 'WEIRD'.

"Don't sully the name of knights." As Sir Leonel walks past Ace and pats him in his shoulder.

"Eh?"

"If you lose, I'll be taking a few SLATEs in your shop." Sir Galahad just laughs to clear the battlefield (stage).

"Ha!"

Kia and Gerard could only pa.s.s each other with worried looks. The youth then diverts his gaze to the female attendant, who must be just as worried as him, but the girl also betrayed him as the young attendant named Ching Ann just gestured apologetically and a face as if saying 'Please indulge with her request.'

The stage was set, it was the second round... a continuation of their one-on-one battle which started 4 days ago. Both weary from their previous battle. But he could see that the young maiden in front of him was not showing any signs of weakness.

After sighing and completely accepting the facts, Ace tightly grips the saya of his 'chokutou' with his left hand and positions his right hand to drawing his sword. 'Iai' a technique that lets its user draw the sword from its 'saya', slash the target and instantly re-sheathes the sword back to the 'saya'

Rin noticed the serious look of the knight; this is the man she fancies. True, that any of the Albion knights have similar qualities because all of them love their ideals. But this young knight in front of her was the man that saved him that night; the one who sharpened her rusted PRIDE. The graceful sound of her two broadswords echoed to the field and the blades reflected the light of grace with the sunlight.

Ching Ann was definitely was worried but apart from that worry she was at the same time kind of thrilled. 'So this is the man, she fancies.'

Sir Leonel and Sir Galahad just sat at the side and started to eat something, the Jade army was sceptical and found the idea weird at first but since there is nothing more they could do, sat beside the two knights and started to take some beer and wine.

"Will they be alright?" Kia was the one to ask one of the Knights.

"This will be a short fight..." as sir Galahad took some bread and started to gobble it.

"Ha?"

"Both of them do not possess any more strength to do a prolonged fight."The polite knight, Sir Leonel drank from one of the tea that was prepared earlier. "Hmm, this is some good tea"

"That's Xi Hu Long Jing (Dragon Well) tea." Ching Ann simply answers the knight.

"Ah! I see that expensive one. Hmm, this is indeed something"

Despite the lack of tension coming from the audience the two were actually in the greatest field of tension. The first to make a move will lose, that was the true essence of this one-on-one battle.

As if to mark their attack, a piece of handkerchief blown by the wind pa.s.sed in between them and hid each others attack. As soon as it pa.s.sed the two launched against each other.

"SEN KI DOU RYUU - IAI KENJUTSU"

*Techniques of a Thousand Demons Ways - sword drawing swordplay

Ace using his right hand draws his 'chokutou' from its 'saya' and prepares his attack.

"Bājíquán Shi Zi Yuan Bǎn"

*Eight Extremities Fist Cross Yuan's Rendition

Rin after launching herself, she extends both her swords towards her target

When the two finally were at sword distance and this was their moment of truth.

"MYOUBU - KITSUNETSUKI"

*white fox - wolf possession

"Lóng kòu shā"

*dragon smash

*clash

The two landed opposite of the other, they landed exactly where there opponent stood before they launched against each other. The two faced each other as if to honor the other. Rin makes the first voice as she smiles towards Ace.

"It's your win." Rin p.r.o.nounced Ace as victor as the Chinese bun tied at either side of her head begun to drop down, slowly the wind caressed it and let the hair flow freely beside her.

"In j.a.panese lore, only those women who are weak succ.u.mbed to the fox's temptation. Rin, you are strong that is why my sword could only reach that far."

Rin smiled and as if to add authenticity her eyes smiled together with it.

"Are you free this coming Monday?" Rin gave a slight embarra.s.sed look as she invited the young knight. "There is a place I want you to see together with me."

"Whaaaat?" Ching Ann immediately gallops to her best friend's side.

Kia and Gerard could only tease their leader. The Jade army was shown not only the sweet side of their king but the skill that made her one.

The battle of SRP that lasted for 6 whole days finally comes to an end.

A certain street, Cebu 14th January 2013 - 13:13

Ace is now on the street wearing a black turtle-necked overall shirt, beside him is a young girl who did not look more than 10 year old, but is actually 16 years old. Of all the predicaments Ace had to cross, it had to be this... why are the two out together... well, it goes back to Rin's request to have her escort to a place she wanted to go.

Rin despite being looked at as a younger sister of Ace did not really retort in anyway. For some reason she was fidgety and shaking a bit, but she kept on paving her path towards her goal.

Rin tied her hair into two buns at the side, and dressed in a stylish flesh-brown sleeveless coat made out of cotton, since the last b.u.t.ton was unhooked her red skirt could be seen. Her black knee-high socks also added her allure with the flesh-brown shoes which complemented her overall coat.

To the other party who was watching from the sideline (Ching Ann's idea) it was seen as an official date. The two knights Sir Leonell and Galahad, Gerard, Kia and the leader of JUUSANKA Éclair at first also agreed with it, but easily dismissed the idea when they found out where the two was heading.

"Is she..." Ching Ann Gulps as she saw Rin sheathes 'YU CHANG' and 'TAI E'.

Ace too who for some reason could only sigh readily jumps the gate and started their carnage.

A meeting room in a certain mansion, Cebu 14th January 2013 - 13:13

"We are still far from our goal."

"The young princess is not doing anything to fulfil her duties."

"She is after all the daughter of that traitor."

"Hmmm?"

"What is that noise, I think it's getting louder."

*thug

"h.e.l.lo." Rin violently opens the door, and nonchalantly greeted the older people setting their stunned.

"Tao Rin." It was the voice of the man she completely fears, the man who has dulled her PRIDE, if it were her normal self, she would have cowered in fear but now... no, not in front of a certain young man.

"What is the meaning of this Tao Rin?" the head of the Liu family expressed in great fear.

"I won't be giving you the Philippines after all."

"Are you going to disobey me child."

'That voice it really is scary, Father, mother...' Rin looks at the direction to the door where the young knight smiled at her with that serious face.

"Sorry grandfather, one day the Philippines will be conquered..."

"Of course it will be the mothe..." but before the old head of the Liu family could finish his next words...

"For I, Tao Rin, shall be the one to rule her."

The entire room became silent; all of them could feel her energy, an ambition not all can say. In order to stop any one from making a move, Rin punches a hole using 'YU CHANG' on the ground. It was not a hole made of Illusion. It was a hole that showed her utmost conviction.

With her business done, Rin slightly bows to her grandfather and gesture Ace that their meeting has ended.

With the two finally out from their sight a genuine laugh could be heard to conclude the silence inside the room.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

"Shang Yu, this is no laughing matter." The older men could only bear anger on his old man's laughter. But the old man named Shang Yu, just directed his gaze to Tao Xian.

"She is indeed a Tao. She is just like you in the younger days."

That comment might have invited a single comic relief for the old men as all of them started to laugh while looking at the displeased Tao Xian.

Tao Xian could only remove himself at the presence of the family heads and while out of their sight under his breath, a voice only known to him...

"Yuan, you have a given us great child."






CHAPTER DISCUSSION