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Verg Avesta
April 10th, 2013, 07:10 PM
Fight-ON!!
Chapter 1:
Bluebird of happiness ~ Two fates that intertwine

They call it the Bayshore Route, or Wangan-sen. A highway stretch about 70 kilometers long that runs between the artificial islands of the Tokyo Bay. Favored by locals citizen because it goes around the Tokyo proper, and favored by the local street races because it is one hell of a long stretch of asphalt.

Since the Bayshore Route runs near Yokohama, which is the second-largest city in Japan, it acted as perfect pit stop for the rowdy street racers. The massive complex of shops, streets, venues, and attractions of a fast-growing urban city changed from the haven of tourists into the neon-lit paradise of local youngsters. Cars gleamed in the nightlights and their motors rumbled like hungry beasts during mating season. People shouted and laughed, cursed and sang, all under the colorful display of the near-ready Ferris wheel called Cosmo Clock 21; it had been the largest Ferris wheel in the world for some time now, but then a new wheel in Osaka had stolen its title, or so they say. Currently, however, it was nothing but a big makeshift parking lot for those who wanted to use it.

It was needless to say that as a foreigner in Japan, this was not the sort of time and place I wanted to be in. It was well past midnight and even during the day not all locals regarded me well.

“Hey, you! Gaijin! What’cha staring at?”

I could hear the laugh of the gods of irony in my ears. One of the tough-looking street races, who are natively known as hashiriya, shouted at me and flipped me off. His glare was quite the sight, as was his black-and-orange Mazda RX-7 FD3S. The car was tuned quite pompously, with overbearing rims and overly large rear spoiler. Judging by how low the car hung above the asphalt, it was clear that the springs had been shortened, and I could tell by the roar of the car that it had larger diameter piping and low back pressure mufflers, suggesting that the diameter of the cylinders and pistons had been increased.

In short: this guy was trouble the moment he laid his eyes on me.

“Nothing. Just minding my own business,” I answered the guy and sighed. It was too late to simply walk away from this situation anymore. “Don’t mind me.”

“Hell yeah I’m gonna mind you! What do you think you’re doing here? This is our territory! You Americans can go back to your own country!” the guy yelled, and his buddies cheered at him.

“Sorry. I’m European, not American,” I said and chuckled. “And this is a free country during the year 1999. I don’t think you have the right to throw me out anymore. This is not the time of the black ships.”

“S-shut up, gaijin! Do you want us to trash that measly vehicle of yours!?” the guy shouted, anger reddening his cheeks.

I must admit, my Honda Valkyrie must not have looked like much when compared to their fancy cars. It was a café racer, which meant that it opposed the souped up vehicles with its mere existence. Narrow and low ace bars, elongated fuel tank and rearward seat made it more akin to the bikes used in races than those you’d see on the highways. The only concession I had made regarding style was the blue-and-silver paint job that made the bike blend into the neon-lit night almost perfectly. Right now it hummed under me, idling as I unfortunately got to know the local hobby-clubs better.

So, yeah. While it might have been a sleeping beast, when compared to the fanciness of the cars before me, it was mere junk.

“No need to get all fired up, pal,” I answered, a bit more forcefully this time. “I’m not looking for any trouble. I’d suggest you’d follow my example.”

The leader of the hashiriya before me took a step back. Once he realized what he had done, he grew pale with rage. Well, I couldn’t blame the guy. He made himself look like a total tool in front of all of his peers, against a foreigner no less. Then again, he’d have to be quite the guy if he’d want to stand his ground. I mean, I’m not that dangerous of a guy, but it’s not exactly reflected by my looks.

I glance over to the glass-panel wall of the large building close by, and see my own reflection staring right back at me. There, in the glass, stands a young man in his early twenties, with a bright blonde hair that juts like a wild mane of a lion. His piercing blue eyes are hidden by the most ridiculous sunglasses on this side of the globe, orange and sleek to the point they look like they are made out of a single piece of plastic. Five o’clock shadow adorns his chin as he hasn’t had the time lately to shave.

The clothing the young man is wearing is rather peculiar, too. There’s the white, slightly puffy jacket without sleeves and with a huge, grey fur collar, and the dark jeans with a decal pattern of tribal shapes on the right leg. Large belt, similar to those seen in Spaghetti Westerns, holds the jeans up. Under the white jacket the young man has a black shirt that is halfway-open, showing his chest hair. When said fact is combined with his slightly tanned-looking skin, it’s easy to see the Spanish heritage of the young man shining through, though whatever else is mixed in has quite the stranglehold on the young man’s looks.

That man is me – Leon Heart. A foreigner in Japan and currently up to my ears in trouble.

“I’m not taking orders from you, gaijin,” the leader growled and pointed at me. “By the time I’m finished, you’ll be the one acting like a bi—“

“Shut up, Yamada.”

A sharp voice cut the man’s words cruelly, but not nearly as cruelly as the boot that was planted to his back. A powerful kick sent the man stumbling forward, straight into the ground where he crashed painfully against the asphalt. The other racers took a step back from the newcomer, having been completely taken off-guard. But about three seconds later they realized who it was, and responded in a way that I definitely had not anticipated.

Standing there, acting like an alpha female of the pack, stood a young girl, probably around 19 years old or so. She was dressed in a leather jacket, wore motorcycle-goggles on her forehead, and had ripped jeans covered in leather belts. Her short, red hair was like the crest of a hawk, and the same sort of imagine gave her yellow, predator-like eyes. She spat to the ground, brought a cigarette to her lips, and gave me a glare dangerous enough to send the rest of my courage screaming to the proverbial hills.

“I came to see what the ruckus was ‘bout, and the only thing I find is a shaggy-looking foreigner? Gimme a break,” the girl said and took a drag off her cigarette. “Don’t start getting my hopes up that something interesting is happening.”

While I was glad that the girl, who was apparently the top dog around here, had saved my ass, her way of talking had this certain nuance to it that would have probably struck the wrong chord with anyone. She had a slight accent in the way she spoke Japanese, but I couldn’t place it for the life of me. However, that did not excuse how rudely she addressed those around her, and especially me.

And so, before I even could think things through, I had dragged myself off the frying pan and into the blazing inferno few kilometers away.

“Big talk, coming from such a shorty,” I shot back at her. “I guess this wasn’t any real street racing group, but just the afternoon tea party society.”

It was like I had farted right in the middle of the gathering of Jehova’s Witnesses. Every single man and woman went silent from the sheer audacity of my line, and the girl across the parking lot from me was no different. Her face was frozen in this one expression where you know she has registered what you just said, but simply can’t believe it and thus takes longer than usual to buffer that information.

“Y-you bastard!” The guy who I had initially assumed to be the leader of the group, Yamada, shouted from the ground. “How dare you insult Aneja like that!? I’ll kill you! I’ll you, you motherfu—“

“Shut up, Yamada.”

Once more the boot of the hawk-eyed girl collided with the back of poor Yamada, this time in the form of a powerful stomp that must have driven all the air out of the man’s lungs. He turned a bit blue from his face and slumped back to the ground, his eyes rolling to the back of his head. It seemed I wouldn’t have to worry about Yamada any longer.

In his place, I had this girl-shaped Seventh Circle of Hell to worry about.

“Well, ain’t you got the nerve?” the girl growled and bared her fang-like canine teeth to me. “You’d challenge me, the Minato Mirai Mae, to a race? You, a green-eared punk from the west? You, a colossal brute with tact of an elephant!?”

Aw, crap. I think I hit a nail on the head when I commented about her height.

Also, Minato Mirai Mae? I can understand the first two words, since it refers to the place we are in right now, but why ‘Mae’? It doesn’t make any sense linguistically. Unless… unless she actually used the Korean word, which would make it pretty much…

…The Hawk of Minato Mirai.

At that moment, I felt my luck flipping me off and packing its back, leaving me alone while it headed out into the night, convinced it was time for it to strike out on its own.

“C-challenge? Wait a minute! I never said anything about a challenge!” I protested fervently. “I simply said that—“

“You said you didn’t see our group as a worthy racing gang,” the girl said with a smile that would have made devil himself proud. “Isn’t that the same as telling us you’d beat us any day? Especially since you’re sitting on that macho motorcycle of yours.”

I cursed the fact that I had chosen to go on a moonlit drive today of all days. Since I didn’t have an apartment in Tokyo, I mostly drifted through different areas in the hopes of finding a no-fuss motel, a good park bench or an especially soft patch of grass. Some nights, however, wander-lust got to my bones, and I wanted to spend the night touring the city and its surroundings. Sometimes I’d even go visit another city. This had been one of those nights.

Too bad it had ended up with yours truly being challenged to an illegal street race by a girl who would have fit better into high school than on the streets.

“A’ight! Boys, bring me my bike! I want to show this newcomer what Mid Night Club is all about!” Minato Mirai Mae yelled to her lackeys. “Bring me Princess Bride!”

“The-what-now?” I asked. “Wait, you seriously named your motorcycle after—“

“You. Are. So. Going. Down.”

It seems that I finally managed to drive Ms. Cut-me-off off the edge, both metaphorically and almost literally. Her lips were wavering and she seemed to be pretty much fuming. I was actually rather surprised that there was no steam coming out of her ears. Well, even if there wasn’t, it was clear at this point that she was getting ready to murder me.

While I was left staring death straight to the face, the lackeys of Minato Mirai Mae brought out the so-called “Princess Bride.” At first it seemed to shine as ludicrously under the neon-lights as the cars of the group, but upon closer inspection I realized that was not the case. Into my vision rolled a neon-yellow Kawasaki ZXR750, its 749cc engine rumbling like a waking wolf ready for a prowl. Green highlights ran through its body, giving it a look fitting for a girl styling herself after a hawk.

For a moment, a worrying thought ran through my mind. That beast weighed around 200 kilos. How on earth did a girl that small keep it on the road, especially in something as taxing as street racing?

“What’cha matter, boy?” Mae asked and raised an eyebrow mockingly. “Fear got your balls in a vice-grip now that you saw Princess Bride? Think that piece of junk of yours can’t even compare?”

As if to answer the girl’s mocking words, my Honda Valkyrie revved slightly, and it’s headlights lit up like a Christmas-light. Some of the lackeys gave the machine a confused look, but I managed to fill into that little faux pas by pretending I myself had made those moves.

“This ‘piece of junk’ happens to be the wildest bull in the ruedo, sister,” I answered and patted the bike under me. “Also, I don’t want a girl younger than me calling me ‘boy.’ For you, it’s ‘Caballero.’”

“Whatever,” Minato Mirai Mae said and rolled her eyes. “By the end of this race, you’re a stain on the asphalt.”

While these less-than-civil words were being exchanged, the rest of the street racing gang started forming the lane from where we would start. Cars were parked in two rows, forming an alley between them that ended straight into the main road. Some other motorcycles forced themselves between the cars and shone their headlights straight at us. Someone had gotten out their boombox and I could hear the rhymes of Rhymester blasting loud enough to liven up the crowd even more. With Mummy-D’s rhymes dropping around us, both Mae and I got our motorcycles ready to the makeshift line that had been quickly drawn to the asphalt with grey spray paint.

If there was one thing I had to commend these guys, it was punctuality. Or maybe it was because I had pretty much drop-kicked a bee’s nest, proceeded to mount it and beat it to a pulp before lunging at it from the top turnbuckle in a manner of Jimmy Snuka.

“We’re driving the 35 Beach. From Cosmo Clock 21 to Daikanransha, using only Wangan-sen and the route through the artificial island at the bay,” Mae grunted to me over the roar of the engines around us. “First one on the Daikanransha wins, naturally. That is if I don’t make you crash into the sea before that, gaijin.”

“Hey, now.” I chuckled. “Aren’t you a foreigner, too? I wasn’t able to put my finger on it earlier, but that accent of yours is definitely Korean.”

The hawk-eyes glared at me amidst the neon-lights.

“You are so dead, blondie.”

While the two of us snarled at each other in our own ways, one of the girls of the group strutted over to the starting-alley laid before us, followed by two of her friends. They all had very tanned skins, heavy make-up and bleached hair, identifying them as part of the ganguro fashion. Personally I had never understood the appeal, and I was willing to bet that such craze would die out in five years.

…Wait. Why am I thinking about fashion!? I’ve managed to get myself into an illegal street race because I didn’t manage to keep my mouth shut at the right moment!

“My mom would so kill me if she knew about this,” I muttered to myself.

—Believe, I’m not lying. Spanish women are fiery, in all the wrong ways.

“Ready, Anego?” the leader of the ganguro-girls shouted, before giving me a disdained look. “Ready… ugh, you?”

“Ready, Miho. Get on with it,” my polite rival answered. I quickly nodded after her words.

“Yeah, I’m ready, too.”

“Then! Get ready, boys and girls!” The middle girl shouted and pointed at the sky like she was in some sort of theater.

The engines of our two very different motorcycles roared like two hungry beasts, struggling in their chains and rumbling the ground impatiently. They seemed almost impatient to get to eat the miles between us and our goal. And I could almost bet that when it came to my motorcycle, that wasn’t even a metaphor.

Sometimes my machine was very, very literal.

“Ready!” the ganguro-girl on the left suddenly shouted, snapping me out of my thoughts.

“Set!” the ganguro-girl on the right continued, and clapped her hands once just like the other girl had.

We revved up our motorcycles and sweat fell on my brow. I saw that Mae’s eyes were narrowed like those of a predator, and her small mouth was in a tight sneer. She was just like her namesake, ready to swoop down the road and leave me behind in the dust.

Too bad, though. She might have been a hawk, but I had a namesake, too. And I planned to live up to that, too.

“Aaaaaand, GO!”

The ganguro-girl in the middle, right in front of us, raised her hands and shouted from the top of her lungs. Tires screeched against the road and suddenly I was shoved from the parking lot straight into the street. The beast below me roared in joy and burned rubber to announce its magnificent start. I saw a green glint to my right stick straight to my speed, but I couldn’t care at that moment.

The start had been more than exhilarating. With this motorcycle, one that was more than the extension of my own body, driving had become something far more than just a past-time.

With the wind pressing against me, I shot like a bullet through the night-covered streets. Only the artificial lightning was there to show me my way, whether it was the light of my bike or those of the pulsating city around me. I saw that the Mae’s Kawasaki shot past me as we crossed the first intersection, leaving the World Porters Mall to our right, but I was less than worried. As we entered the long straight that came afterwards, I started gaining her at alarming speeds.

You can say many things about Honda Valkyrie, especially about a café racer version, but once it gets going, it achieves simply ridiculous speeds.

After a low turn to the right and swerving through the nightly traffic we finally left Minato Mirai 21 behind us and zoomed through the residential areas of Yokohama. High-rise buildings turned into flashes in my vision as I took everything out of my motorcycle I could, easily gaining up to Mae and blasting right past her near the port. I drifted forcefully to the left, using my whole weight to shift the course of my motorcycle. The expressway shone above us like some sort of stairway to heaven, with a promise of even further freedom regarding our race.

And so, after blasting through the harbor area, Mae and I switched to the infamous Bayshore Route and curved left once more, taking our aim at the Daikanransha, the nearly-finished colossal Ferris Wheel, in the distance.

As we left the artificial island behind us and entered one of the numerous bridges that connected said islands together, I felt the motorcycle below rumble. It was not the sound of its engine nor was it the sign of something foreboding – no, this was a whole other thing. It was a sound the machine only made when it wanted my attention. I checked the road ahead and since I saw now cars, I leaned in to talk to the bike.

“Well? What is it?” I asked.

And after a moment of engine’s screeching, the motorcycle answered me.

“Master, I feel that it is improper to use me for illegal street racing,” a monotone voice said. “I am state-of-art prototype, not a ticket for easy victories against local delinquents.”

I chuckled at the matter-of-fact voice of the machine, and patted it teasingly.

“Really? I remember somebody getting rather prideful when compared to a mere normal machine,” I retorted. “This is hardly only my fault, you know?”

“T-that is… well, I could not let an insult like that simply be,” the voice answered. “After all, to compare me to such a simplistic mode of locomotion is most grave insult!”

I guess explanation and introduction are in order. The bike that I’m currently riding is pretty much anything else but Honda Valkyrie. It is, in fact, a certain state-of-art prototype of an android that has, for this and that reason, come to my possession. Well, maybe “come to my possession” is a wrong way to word it. It is more akin to “she tagged along,” and I couldn’t do anything to stop her.

…You’re not believing me, are you?

Well, I can’t really blame you. When I first ran into this gal, I could barely believe my eyes. While we might be on the precipice of the new millennium, a transforming android with perfect artificial intelligence is still a rather far-fetched idea. And yet here she is, currently in the form of my favorite bike that was destroyed in our initial meeting. Not only that, but she seems to have taken it personally when the delinquent girl riding on my right side insulted her. Machines are sometimes extremely weird, especially those who can think for themselves.

“Well, not much we can do now, AIBO!” I answered and patted the fuel tank. “We gotta just hang on and show that we’re not to be underestimated. And with that said… vamos!”

AIBO, or ‘Artificial Intelligence Bout Opponent’ as she referred herself, sighed.

“Very well, Master. Commencing race.”

As we passed through the entrance of the Kawasaki Kouro Tunnel and left the city of Kawasaki behind us, we went from the open and exhilarating darkness of the night-time Tokyo Bay into the claustrophobic maze of the underwater tunnels. Light extended into large elongated flashes that filled my field of vision. I could hear the horns of the cars that we passed by, caring little about our safety as we slalomed through the surprisingly heavy traffic. I momentarily gazed to my right side, and saw Minato Mirai Mae gritting her teeth in concentration. For a moment our eyes locked, and I could feel her anger and frustration shining through.

She had clearly understood that she could not leave me behind that easily.

For a moment we breathed fresh air once more as we shot out of the tunnel like two rockets. But, just as fast, we dove right into the Tamagawa Tunnel, enveloping ourselves into the echoing cacophony of engines, tires and brakes under the yellow-tinted concrete roof that protected us from the mass of water that hung above us.

As we once more emerged from the tunnel, I found that the scenery around us had changed radically. The spaces were far more wide open and there was no sign of actual residential buildings. Instead I saw large office buildings, a great tower in the distance, and such a vast amount of cars it felt more like a sea of metal and plastic than a night-time road. We had arrived to Haneda Airport, and that meant things were going to get tricky. So far the traffic and the populace around us had been nothing to worry about, but from here on out, the amount of both would increase.

And as if to speak of the devil…

“Master. I’ve intercepted a police transmission regarding this unit and the Kawasaki ZXR750 that it is racing. Numerous civilians around the Bayshore Route have informed the local authorities about the race, and currently they are in process of beginning pursuit,” AIBO informed me matter-of-factly. “I would suggest abandoning the race and concentrating on avoiding the police. Need I remind you that you are currently an illegal alien in the country of Japan, and thus, if you are arrested, you will be—“

“I know, I know!” I shouted over the sound of the engine’s roaring. “Joder, zorra! It’s like you expect me to be an total idiot!”

“That was my assumption based on previously gathered experience,” AIBO answered without a trace of ill will.

I suppressed a heavy urge to crash the motorcycle straight into the railing.

My thoughts were suddenly cut as we once more entered and exited one tunnel, this time a one that led us from the Haneda Airport, under the Tokyo Bay and out into the streets, straight to the Toukai junction. Suddenly, Mae swerved to the left heavily, forcing me to nearly hit the greenery at the side of the road. I braked heavily, setting my motorcycle into a slide that took me through the railing on the right and straight into the opposing lane. I cursed heavily under my breath and focused my vision, clutching the handlebars in desperation.

For a moment there was nothing but panic that filled my mind. The cars that came straight towards me were like meteors, hurling down the road with the sole intention of crashing straight into me. Headlights, neon signs, street lights and the eyes of the drivers flashed in my vision as I did my best to slalom through the oncoming traffic, thinking about nothing but my own survival.

Finally, my chance came. With a roar that made the engine of my motorcycle pale in comparison I curved to the left just as the next bridge began, ramming through the railing once more and slamming into the place right in front of Mae. I could hear her surprised yelp, and for a moment, her Kawasaki’s brakes screeched as she had to halt her ride. I let out a laugh, half from exhilaration and half from relief, and put pedal to the metal, accelerating down the lane.

My laugh was cut short, however. I heard the shrill cry of the sirens not too far away, and as I looked behind my shoulder, I saw the familiar flash of red and blue. The cars were not far away now, and soon enough they would probably catch up to us. We might have been completely absorbed into the race, but that also meant that we were more focused on beating each other than making sure that speed was the fastest possible.

“Hey! Girl! Isn’t it time to put this thing on the hold!?” I shouted over the roar of our engines, catching Mae’s attention. “Chances are the police are putting up a roadblock ahead. Since we’re using the Bayshore Route, they’ll definitely have many chances to stop us in our tracks completely!”

“Shut up!” Minato Mirai Mae shouted back. “As if I’d let something like this stop me from stomping you down!”

I sighed. It seemed that the girl was not ready to listen to the voice of common sense.

“Master, I would suggest abandoning the race immediately. The patrol vehicles are closing in, and judging from their transmissions, it is highly likely that they have multiple concrete barriers set up as barricades on the upcoming road,” AIBO suddenly spoke up. “Master, you cannot afford to be caught, but it is my personal opinion that our opponent should not be used as a bait, either, as that would show very poor sportsmanship.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I grumbled. “I get it. So, you’re saying that we should first make sure she gets out of this, and then lose the police?”

“Indeed, Master.”

“Do we have any usable place coming up? The sooner the better, since those cops are in hot pursuit,” I asked.

For a moment, AIBO stayed completely silent. I knew she was wracking her mechanical brain for local information. Eventually, just as we were about to exit the bridge, she answered me.

“The large greenery-area connected to the Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park might be suitable. The trees and the foliage are enough to cushion the impact and hide our opponent from the pursuing police-forces,” AIBO told me.

“Then, it’s time for you to take the wheel,” I said and let go of the handlebars. “I’ll take care of the throw.”

“Understood.”

What followed could be best described as chaotic acrobatics. My motorcycle, that is, AIBO, swerved to the right in a manner that no motorcycle should have been able to. This took my opponent by surprise, as we were headed straight towards her. Before she could even dodge and much less let out a yell, we had collided straight into her motorcycle, pushing it against the concrete barrier that separated the lanes.

I moved fast. My hands grabbed my opponent from her bike and pulled her on top of AIBO. Using the poor Kawasaki as a battering ram, AIBO crashed straight through the barriers, both the first and the second, before throwing herself against the steel railing that separated the express line from the regular roads. Well, that and the fact that the line was high above the normal roads.

Which, of course, meant that was we blasted through the railing, we entered a free-fall straight to the roads down below. The only thing that resonated in my ears was the sound of howling wind and the piercing scream of my opponent as she started realizing what was happening.

We hit the apex of our jump. During that small moment I gathered all the strength I had in my arms and used it to throw Mae as far as I could. Her body was surprisingly light, and so I sent her hurling straight to the trees and the soft foliage on the other side of the road. Her scream continued during her flight, stopping only as it was muffled by the bush she crashed into.

“You can thank me later, alright!?” I yelled after her.

And speaking of crashes: AIBO slammed against the asphalt road below, which drained me of all the air in my lungs. However, AIBO was unfazed. She continued riding forth like madman, darting through the traffic to throw off the police who were currently pursuing us. I could already see the cars that were after us, hungrily losing the miles between us.

AIBO curved the left as soon as she could, zooming under the express line and taking us to the right lane. At the same, she nearly caused the car-crash of the week as she barely avoided hitting a large truck that was trying to brake at the sight of us. Hearing the nasty screech of the truck’s brakes, I ripped myself away from the pain in my stomach and took hold of the handlebars. If we were about to do this, we would have to do it right.

For few minutes the ride was nothing special. We simply kept our speed up while avoiding all the traffic that we caught up on. Using the Wangan Road, we were able to climb up the ramp, drop down from the bridge, and enter the express line once more, where it was possible to take everything out of AIBO’s engine. Too bad this meant that the police had more open road, too, and thus they started gaining on us. The shrill sound of the sirens came closer and closer, and the headlights of the patrol cars gleamed in the night.

“Master, keep your head down!” AIBO suddenly shouted.

“Huh? Why!?”

“A toll booth!” AIBO continued. Hearing those words, I ducked as low as I could.

For a moment, I felt nothing but a huge crash and momentary slowing in our speed as AIBO crashed right through the said toll booth, making short work of the bar that was meant to stop us. Only after I felt the motorcycle stopped acting like a bucking bronco was I able to lift my head and grasp the handlebars again.

This was getting a bit too physical for me. I had already been dragged into illegal street racing, not to mention I was in danger of getting arrested because I had broken hundreds of traffic infractions, which would have revealed the police that I was an illegal alien in Japan! I didn’t need near-death experiences thanks to an overly-eager machine that thought that busting through physical objects with high speed was fun!

And so the race continued. However, instead of heading to the Daikanransha like we had initially, AIBO had a suggestion regarding throwing off our pursuers.

“Master, we should head to the city proper. There it would be easier to lose the police forces chasing us,” she told me.

“Yeah, agreed!” I answered. “Things are getting a bit too hot here on the highway!”

By taking a left turn and following a bridge, we arrived to the Shinagawa Seaside. There, we had our last stretch before we could enter the confusing maze-like depths of Tokyo city: a ridiculously long straight bridge that went just outside the city, hovering above water like some sort of ancient colossus. I revved up the motorcycle to the best of my abilities and started gaining some distance. The police cars behind me started to lose ground as they could not achieve the same sort of speeds on a straight stretch like I could.

Then, our chance finally arrived. We curved to the left and arrived to the Tennozu Isle, through which we could get to the city’s depths. We crossed a single bridge with haste, took a sharp left turn and avoided the oncoming traffic, slalomed through the buildings and streets as we made our way up the road. The buildings, which had been rather normal up until then, started gaining height and size, signaling that we were truly getting closer to our goal. Artificial lights shone everywhere, transforming the night into something resembling a neon-colored day.

“Master! Left from here!” AIBO shouted, her electronic voice fitting well with the futuristic-looking buildings around us.

“Left from where!? We can’t turn here!” I answered.

“No matter! There is a roadblock ahead. We need to change the road, now!”

Before I knew it, AIBO had rammed right through another railing, sending us into a free-fall to the street below. This time, however, I managed to prepare myself. We hit the asphalt and continued shooting forward like a bullet, curving quickly to the right which took us amidst the countless buildings that made up to the city of Tokyo.

The next ten minutes became simply a cacophony of lights, sounds and G-forces. With the help of AIBO, we were able to enter the streets of Tokyo and move on insane speeds that left our pursuers far behind, thanks to the phenomena known as common sense. I could barely see anything but the ridiculously colorful lights, neon signs, high-rise buildings that shone like starry skies, armies of street lights, and the nightlife that was Tokyo. It was only thanks to the commands AIBO issued to me that I kept us on the road, shooting through the streets like a blue bullet.

There was no way that the police could catch us anymore. The only thing we had to worry about was finding a place to hide.

“Master! Please, prepare yourself!” AIBO ordered me, and since I had been blindly following her orders till now, automatically curled up on top of my motorcycle.

“Huh? Wait, what did you say?” I asked, blinking in confusion. “Prepare for what?”

“I have deduced the best way to lose our pursuers. However, it shall be physically taxing,” AIBO answered matter-of-factly. “I foresee that you shall suffer some physical damage.”

“Damage?! W-w-w-w-w-w-waaaaaaaaiii—“

My protest turned into a scream as AIBO did what I had feared and suddenly leapt up into the air. Yes, my motorcycle jumped, in a manner not unlike a gazelle. But that was not all it did. I could hear a low whistle as the tires deflated and they were sucked into the chassis. There was a clockwork-like sound as parts started turning and twisting, leaving the shape of a vehicle behind and assuming that of a something far different. Headlight disappeared inside the new construct and handlebars twisted to the sides, making way for what could be only described as hands. Legs rolled out from under the gasoline tank and a head straightened itself up.

Yes, in just a few seconds, my motorcycle had turned, in a manner that’s sophistication left a certain line of toys paling in shame, into an android with a shape of a young woman.

The torso covered in blue combat alloy twisted in the air and the hands of metal reached out towards me. The surprisingly nimble fingers wrapped up around my shoulders and pulled me closer. Suddenly I was in the embrace of the android, and her feetless legs wrapped around me. I could hear the small boosters at her ankles fire off once, sending us into a whirling spin.

My field of vision started turning like a pinwheel. Sky and ground switched places in a rapid succession, and the only thing I could be sure was the fact that the building ahead of us was approaching rapidly. The large window that took up most of the building’s wall reflected our spinning shape. I saw my own horrified face, and the emotionless stare of AIBO, with her neon-purple ‘hair’ drawing a trail of light behind us.

There was a crash. There was a yell of pain. Pieces of glass rained everywhere around me, and for a moment, I felt like the world had turned into the interior of a big blender. Somewhere far away, an alarm rang once, but it was silenced by something just as fast. The lobby of the building took over my vision, and for a moment, I saw nothing but darkness.

Then, in the middle of that dark room, that made the whole situation even more confusing, if that was even possible.

Right in front of my face was another face; a young, lithe, beautiful face that seemed just as surprised as I was. A face that belonged to a person who seemed to be in direct contrast with the futuristic city of Japan.

A face that collided with mine as my spinning jump came to an abrupt end.



---------------------- Fight-ON! ----------------------


Pain. Pain was the emotion I woke up because of. I felt the pain of having been through a rather volatile motorcycle chase, not to mention having been thrust through a window by a completely insane robot. It was not the type of pain anyone would want to wake up to. It was up there with your mom finding you in a bed with a girl and waking up to the realization that it’s far later than it should be.

“Master? Are you alright?”

It was AIBO’s voice. With some difficulty I managed to open my eyelids, and found myself staring straight into her plastic-like face. Sure, it did resemble human’s face a bit, but the sheen of the skin was a bit odd, not to mention her turquoise eyes moved and focused like lenses of a camera. Rest of her body couldn’t be exactly called human-like, however. It was made out of some sort of combat alloy which was mostly colorless, though some of the parts had been painted with the same blue as my motorcycle. It was like a miniature-version of a body of some mecha from the animes of this country, but with far more finesse and grace. She even had legs that ended up in these blade-like instruments instead of feet.

Oh, and she had glowing, pulsating purple hair that left streaks of light into one’s vision during night, like glowsticks.

“Yeah. Just give me a sec,” I finally answered. Then, realizing my head was currently firmly on AIBO’s lap, I frowned at her. “What did I tell you about doing things that might cause misunderstandings?”

“I apologize, Master. However, I deemed it best to support your neck until you had recovered to ascertain you had not suffered any fatal damage,” AIBO answered in her straight-forward manner. “It seems that my worry was unnecessary, however. By analyzing the way you act, I can ascertain that you have suffered nothing but bruises and some minor cuts, unlike the person we crashed into.”

“You got that right. While it certainly hurts, I didn’t break any bones, or anything,” I answered. “And what’s more, I… wait. What did you just say?”

“I said that your damage was not as bad as the person we crashed into,” AIBO answered. “I do not mean to imply that she has suffered extensive damage, however. She merely has few more cuts and has suffered a mild concussion due to your collision to her.”

“What!?”

I jumped up from the floor, and for a moment, the world spun around me thanks to the sudden dizziness that struck me. However, I was able to see clearly soon enough. Not that I would have wanted to, mind you. After all, when I looked around me, I realized I was in a place where I had never been before.

“W-where… where are we!?” I shouted, and looked at AIBO.

We were in a very traditional-looking Japanese-style room, and everywhere around me I smelled the fragrance of old wood and untold years. The tatami under us was old but well-kept, just like the rest of the room by the looks of it. The only thing that looked rather beat-up was the cupboard on the side of the room, under a window that seemed to be staring straight into the night-sky.

Well, that was my initial assessment. After looking at it again, I realized that we were simply very, very high.

“What is this place!?” I yelled at AIBO as panic started riding me like a cowboy rides a bull. “What kind of crazy place have you brought us, you stupid machine!?”

“On the contrary, I am nothing but stupid. I have been installed with a multi-core processor that is unique in its capability to—“

“I don’t care. Anwer my question!”

“Very well.” AIBO seemed to imitate a sigh. “We are currently on the roof the very same high-rise building that very crashed to approximately two hours ago. Since your goal was to lose our pursuers, the local law enforcement unit, I took the liberty to remove your physical presence from the scene after silencing the alarms of the building. The most logical place in the vicinity to hide in was this Shinto temple that lies on the top of the said building. It has been out of use for a long time, and thus the local citizens barely acknowledge it, according to the records.”

So that was what this place was. A temple on top of a high-rise building? Just what sort of crazy things did these Japanese come up with? Well, at least it had saved my ass for now. And not only that, the place wasn’t that shabby looking. It might have truly had that atmosphere of a temple in it, but judging by the traditional room, a washitsu, that we were in, some crazy carpenter must’ve attacked it at some point of its life, as it certainly had a flavor of a normal house added into it.

Maybe I could explore this place a bit afterwards, since it seemed rather interesting. However, now, there were other things to worry about. Namely…

“… You said something about another person?” I turned to look at AIBO. “What was that all about?”

“Indeed. When I headed for this temple, I remembered the initial commands you had given to me on the day we met,” AIBO said. “Thus I tended to this civilian and took her with me, in order to make sure that you had not caused her fatal damage.”

Well, at least AIBO had done it because of a good reason. It would have been horrible if some girl had been injured because of our antics.

“Well, where is she, then?” I asked. “I’m not seeing her anywhere in here.”

“Master, that would be because she has been awake for quite some time, and has been doing her best to stay at your blind spot,” AIBO answered very matter-of-factly, pointing behind me.

I spun around and came face-to-face with a surprised looking expression, one that was rather similar with the one I remembered seeing right before my crash. There , under the moonlight that poured through the window, stood a human, a young woman, only a few meters away from me, her single eye staring at me quite suspiciously.

W-what the…

I must say, I wasn’t quite prepared for this. After all, no matter how I tried to put it, the girl was, well… somewhat of a beauty.

She had a long, silky, blue hair that was up on a warrior’s ponytail, like the hair of those samurais in old movies. But the similarities with traditional samurais did not stop there when concerning this girl; oh no, they just got started. First of all, she got an eyepatch over her left eye. And not just any sort of eyepatch, this was made out of a sword guard of a katana, one decorated very beautifully with images of flying swallows. On her lips was a long and lithe Japanese pipe, the type they called kiseru. The smoke from it gently rose towards the ceiling, framing her noble face.

The girl was dressed in a white kimono, one with a peculiar pattern to it. Both the hem and the sleeves were blue in color, starting out as a shapeless mass before turning into a flock of birds flying for freedom that was the sky that the white of the kimono represented. It was a beautiful array of simple colors, ones that really brought out the natural looks of the girl. Her blue, sharp eye and sharp facial features.

But while alone those facts might have been mesmerizing, there was one thing that made me very, very nervous. And that was the fact that this girl carried two long katanas on her waist, with a blue-and-white scabbards and handles with the same color-scheme. Her hand rested on that handle of the sword on the right, making it look like she was ready to draw the blade at any moment.

“Erm… hello?” I greeted the girl, who kept staring at me with an unreadable expression. “Are you okay?”

There was a moment of silence. Then, the girl opened her mouth. And with a clear, pristine and gallant voice, she spoke to me.

“To care of thy enemy tough she art defeated… My, methinks I hath met with quite the opponent,” the girl spoke.

I must admit, I barely understood anything she said. You see, she did speak Japanese, but not in the normal way. She spoke like the aforementioned samurais, with very archaic dialect and all. She referred to herself as “Sessha,” and even ended her sentence with “De gozaru.” My translation doesn’t make it justice, but believe me, she was darn hard to understand.

“E-excuse me? What did you say?” I asked, tilting my head in confusion.

“Do forgive me, stranger-dono. I hath assumed thou wouldst know of myself,” the girl spoke. “Alloweth me to introduce myself, as I am but a fledgling before the might of a warrior such as thyself.”

And then, giving me a bow so deep I was afraid she might hit her head against the floor, the blue-haired girl spoke her name.

“I art Yagyū Tsubasa, the humble swordsman thou see before thee,” Tsubasa said. “I, too, hath decided to take part in the esteemed Sentou Taikai, or as thou might refer to it: Tournament of One Thousand Blades. As regrettable it is, I must admit of my defeat before thine unparalleled technique. ‘Tis a fate, for thou truly art fitting guardian for the Temple of Senhime.”

Though she did seem to be giving me lots of information, my confusion just kept on growing like a rich man’s stomach.

“Wait, wait, wait, wait! Defeated you? Me!?” I asked, and when Tsubasa nodded contently, turned my eyes to AIBO. “What have you been telling her!?”

“Only the truth, Master,” AIBO answered. “That you did defeat her with a single attack to the forehead.”

Once again I wanted to strangle a machine that did not even breathe.

“Ugh! I have no idea what you are talking about,” I said and pointed at the blue-haired girl. “First of all, I’m not here for some tournament. Second, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Third, I’m here simply because of unwanted circumstances.”

“Dost thou mean that thou art simply here due to thine respect for Senhime? How admirable!” Tsubasa said, getting oddly excited because of her misunderstanding. “Stranger-dono, ‘tis a joyous occasion, for I feel even more honored now, having lost to such a noble warrior.”

Idiot! This girl is a huge idiot!

“No! J-just, gimme a break!” I groaned and turned my back to the girl. “I didn’t defeat you, you blockhead. You just got in my way. I didn’t… argh, stop looking at me with that respectful expression. I need some air…”

Seriously, the girl’s gaze was too much. She was staring me like I really was some sort of divine warrior who came here because of religious reasons. Thanks to that, it made me feel slightly bad that I wasn’t what she thought I was. Her eyes shone in a manner that made it not easy to break their expectations. Maybe that was why I headed straight to the sliding door, determined to get some fresh air and to clear my head.

Well, whatever the reason, it proved to be a mistake. The moment I had opened the door and stepped into the dark corridor, I could hear AIBO suddenly jumping up.

“Master! Watch out!”

Many things happened at once during that moment. First of all, I felt a powerful force strike me from the side, sending me straight to a wall and through it. Thankfully the wood was old and fragile, or I might have actually broken bones this time. I heard two voices shout after me as I rolled outside of the temple. I hit a patch of grass, and ended up rolling straight into one of the stone lamps that guarded the paved path to the entrance of the building.

Somewhere at the back of my mind I realized hazily that the place truly was a temple. I saw the big, red building and its tiled roof, few half-destroyed komainus that stared at me accusingly, and a side-building that was not far away from me.

But none of those were important at that moment. What was important was the large man that jumped from inside building, through the hole I had made, after me. He landed not far away from me, and though I tried to retreat, my shocked body refused to listen. I could only lean against the stone lantern, stare at the approaching man, and fan the flames of anger that kept building inside me, with no way of getting out.

“She called you a warrior, but your awareness is awfully lacking. Was it because of the accident you had earlier?” the man asked with a low voice, before chuckling mockingly. “Well, no matter. If you really are the guardian of this temple, then it isn’t important. What is important is that you die; right here, right now. Afterwards, I shall become the guardian, and take over this holy place.”

As the moonlight finally hit him, I saw my assailant well. He was a tall man with a nearly shaved head, except for the long, black braid that extended from the back of his head. His moustache was sharp like his black eyes, ones that told him he was not from here, but from the land to the west: China.

The man wore peculiar clothing. It was what they called shenyi back in China, a white-and-black attire with shirt and skirt that had been sewn together. It had a large belt with two long ends that fell all the way to his ankles. The attire would not have looked on a scholar, but this man was anything but. He was muscular like a jaguar, a warrior whose sole purpose was survival. Even I could see that much.

But the most striking thing about him was the weapon he was carrying. It was a jian. A sword that was called the gentleman of weapons in the Chinese folklore. It was a lithe sword, accurate and deadly, with a double-edged blade that was straight as moonlight. There was a red tassel attached to the pommel of the sword, marking it as a quality craftsmanship, and a weapon of someone who knew how to use it. The man held the scabbard on his right hand, while the sword stayed in his left.

With a joyful move, the man raised the sword. He aimed the deadly blade straight at my neck, and chuckled under his breath.

“Too bad, guardian. I would have liked to fight with you, but if you are able to defeat that girl, that Yagyū Tsubasa, then it is in my interest to take you out as fast as I can,” he said. “And no method is too underhanded for that.”

With those swords, the man prepared a strike. A strike that was supposed to finish me off in an instant.

This day had been a nightmare. Wrong decisions and stupid results that just kept happening. I had no idea how or why I had gotten myself to this situation, in the end. Unreal, most would call it. Unlucky, others would shout. Personally, I preferred the word “played by the gods of irony”, because that would imply that I had no part in getting here. Then again, I can’t really say that either.

The fact that I was staring death straight in the face, seeing my own reflection in the jian at the hands of that man, being unable to move from the spot, all this… well, honestly, I guess it was kind of my own fault. If I had not repeated the same type of mistakes that had gotten me so far, maybe I would have…

—Maybe, maybe not. I hated that wishy washy stuff. ‘Ifs’ were better left for those who wanted to know regret.

Sweat trickled down my forehead, and the icy-cold grip of foreboding death grasped my heart. There was nothing funny in this situation, no matter how much I tried to play it for laughs. If I didn’t, I would be probably begging for my life right now. Or shouting at the man, if my Spanish blood took the control again. Whichever the way, I would end up dead.

Therefore…

It was a good thing…

…that I had a protective angel by my side. One that I did not even expect.

An angel who wielded a sword and had a blue hair. One that rushed forward, and with a furious lunge, intercepted the sword that aimed to end my life. The steel of her sword shone brilliantly in the night of Tokyo, becoming a star of salvation for my pitiful existence.

Sparks flew in the night. Two swords intertwined before my eyes and created a web of clashing steel, so sharp that it could cut the very fabric of air. Never stopping, the insane speed increased to the point I could barely follow it with my naked eyes. The girl, dressed in a white kimono adorned with pattern of blue swallows, stepped forward. Her single, blue eye stared straight ahead, mercilessly looking down on the man taller than her. The scar on her right cheek was the single testimony of someone harming her.

But in the span of only fifteen seconds, she had delivered over twenty of such scars to the man before her.

The cloud of smoke from her kiseru, the eastern-style pipe she smokes, reached for the air, before it was cut by the whistling swords. Even in the midst of the heated battle, she did not drop the pipe. Her movement, graceful as water, was stable enough that I could have probably balanced a tower of plates on top of her head, and she would not have broken any of them. She sidestepped by spinning quickly around, her balance kept lower in order to bring the whole weight of her lithe body behind her attacks.

And the man she fought, the man who should have had, by all logic, more experience, was forced back. The deadly swords, Japanese by design, displayed its brilliant superiority at the hands of my rescuer. I was left in awe, watching this beautiful fight to the death.

Truly, she was the bluebird of my current and future happiness.

But how much, I would only come to realize later.

And, her name was—

Yagyū Tsubasa.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next time on Fight-ON!

“I’d rather die than face this shame. But mark my words, I shall be avenged.”

“You both are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, let me tell you. Ain’t no way I’m staying here! It’s far too dangerous.”

“Master, I presume that you are worried about that a scenario often found in local comics will occur if two or more female beings live in the same house as you?”

“Thy humbleness suits thee, Leon-dono. Thou art truly a model swordsman. Methinks I should strive to be as thee in my training!”

“Be advised: my chassis was not meant for stress release by wanton violence.”

“Well, if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it right! Vamos, you two!”

“Nin-nin.”

Guardian of thousand blades ~ New life in a new world

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author Notes: Well, I did promise it. So here it is, all new and improved.

Lycodrake
April 10th, 2013, 07:32 PM
Very nicely done, Verg; definitely gives the feel of a potential-packed starting chapter.

ItsaRandomUsername
April 11th, 2013, 11:22 PM
If I hadn't read the previous version I'd have never expected the genre shift. And now here I am, longing for a manga version of this already.

Tobias
April 11th, 2013, 11:28 PM
Motercyvle...with...androids...wait...and....stree tracergang and and and




*begins frothing at the mouth*

Verg Avesta
April 12th, 2013, 12:24 AM
Motercyvle...with...androids...wait...and....stree tracergang and and and




*begins frothing at the mouth*

Oh dear. I think I broke tobias.

ItsaRandomUsername
April 12th, 2013, 12:28 AM
Now he shall forevermore be fichungry for Verg's thick, throbbing stories.

Verg Avesta
April 12th, 2013, 07:06 AM
Now he shall forevermore be fichungry for Verg's thick, throbbing stories.

Don't make it sound like such a sin!

Lycodrake
April 12th, 2013, 07:32 AM
Now he shall forevermore be fichungry for Verg's thick, throbbing stories.
Yep, sounds like high quality manga to me.

R.Lock
April 13th, 2013, 04:01 AM
It returned. With mecha-girl... mecha... girl... WHAAAAAAAAAAAT???!!!
That's cool. So cool. That means that... Leon's going to do more than he already did? Hm...
Waiting for Rin to appear.

eddyak
April 13th, 2013, 02:27 PM
So good. Sooooo good.

ratstsrub
April 13th, 2013, 09:10 PM
"Illegal street racing? Ok."

"Talking motorcycle? Ok."

"Talking transforming android motorcycle? Fine."

"...Your title needs to be a sentence and egregiously long."

Verg Avesta
April 14th, 2013, 09:02 AM
"Illegal street racing? Ok."

"Talking motorcycle? Ok."

"Talking transforming android motorcycle? Fine."

"...Your title needs to be a sentence and egregiously long."

"My samurai freeloader can't be this ye olde butcherede english!"

Grant
April 14th, 2013, 10:20 PM
Nice to see this back, even if it's going to take a while to get back where it was. Not sure why the robot girl was added in.

Verg Avesta
April 15th, 2013, 09:05 AM
Nice to see this back, even if it's going to take a while to get back where it was. Not sure why the robot girl was added in.

AIBO was actually a planned character in the original version, so it's not like she was a last minute addition. I simply saw that it made more sense for her to be in the group from the very start.

Kotonoha
April 15th, 2013, 09:07 AM
AIBO?


http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press_Archive/199905/99-046/aibo.gif

Verg Avesta
April 15th, 2013, 02:23 PM
AIBO?


http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press_Archive/199905/99-046/aibo.gif

Congratulations, you have found the joke!

Kotonoha
April 15th, 2013, 02:25 PM
Hooray!

Verg Avesta
April 15th, 2013, 02:27 PM
Hooray!

You may exchange your joke to one of the fabulous prizes, or try your luck in doubling your score!

Leftovers
April 18th, 2013, 08:33 AM
FIGHT-ON! rewrite?

http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/gallery/yes/yesjacknicholson.gif