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Post Reply Last of the Lions Volume 2
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Posted 12/22/09 , edited 6/28/11
Twenty One

“Ash!”

That frantic shout was what the Okami girl was unfortunate to wake up to that morning.

“What, Kale?”She growled, unwilling to leave her bed yet.

“Where’s my guitar?” Kale asked, lifting up a basket of herbs and scanning the walls.

“Oh. That.”

Kale dropped the basket and stared at her, eyes burrowing holes.

“That?”He repeated.

“Well, the cold had snapped all the strings, splintered the neck and made the wood brittle…” She trailed off, and then started again. “We used it for firewood before you even woke up.”

Kale gazed at the ceiling sorrowfully.

Ash dug around near the bed, then produced five and a half bent wires of various widths.

“Here are the strings.” She offered in a consolatory tone.

Kale took them and muttered “I’m going back to bed.” And so he did.

Twenty Two

“Kale.”

Kale awoke to see Nobody staring him in the face.

“Leaping lizards on a stick!” Kale half shouted, only somewhat quiet because of Nobody’s signal for silence.

“Follow me. Bring your sword and a change of clothes.” The nameless man said.

“Uh…”

Nobody stood Kale up and pushed him to the old trunk that the village supplied for him.

Kale picked up a sense of urgency in Nobody’s voice so quickly grabbed his sword, Gregor and a change.

“What’s up?”

“Shh.”

Nobody led Kale out of the hut, sneaking around Ash’s bed, surprisingly not waking her up.

In fact, no one in the village was awake except Kale and Nobody it, seemed.

The cowboy wouldn’t say anything until they were half up the hill to his living area.

“Kale, do you know what day it is?”He asked out of the blue.

“Wednesday?” He ventured.

“Friday. But that’s not the point. Do you know what kind of astronomical event happens tonight?”

“Why don’t you just tell me?”

“The full moon.”

Kale glanced back down at the Shimo Pack. “They’re Okami. That means…”

“Right. They’re subject to being much rowdier, louder, rougher, more prone to fighting and… you could say friskier.”

“Egh.”

Nobody nodded. “Shimo Pack is a rather tame one though, not much ever happens, but it’s no where a human wants to be during a full moon.”

“So what, do we just sit back all day and watch the fireworks at night?”

“No, we’re going to spar.”

“Says you?”

“That’s right.”

Kale stared at the nameless man but then grinned. “Alright, when do we start?”

“After breakfast.”

Kale patted his grumbling stomach. “Oh. Right.”

Twenty Three

The breakfast served its purpose.

It was simply an assortment of fruits; light but filling.

Nobody entered his nearby hut and returned outside shortly, carrying a sheathed katana.

“You do know how to spar without actually cutting your opponent, right?” The man asked, looking up at Kale.

“Oh, yeah. Lots of training. I can handle myself.”

The cowboy pulled out the blade and pointed it at Kale. “Alright then.”

Kale barely deflected the stab.

As the katana skidded across his own blade, he pushed off, knocking it away further and slashed towards Nobody.

The katana blocked the broadsword easily.

Nobody grabbed Kale by the collar and slung him down, holding him there by the neck with his elbow.

“Holding back will only get you killed.”

“I don’t know what you’re-” Kale was cut off when Nobody shook him roughly.

“I’ve been around for a while. I’ve seen a lot of fights, more than you for sure. I know how to tell when your opponent is holding back.”

He dragged Kale back to his feet. Kale stared at him with a troubled expression.

“Why don’t you fight like how you were trained in the military. They didn’t teach you to hold back.”

Kale hefted the broadsword with one hand experimentally.

He locked his gaze on Nobody and nodded almost imperceptivity.

He swung around backwards, smashing his sword onto Nobody’s with great force.

He countered with a flurry of attacks, pushing Kale to retreat slightly.

Nobody back-stepped to give Kale some breathing space. “See, Kale, this is what you need. You’ve been sitting on you ano for too long. You won’t get any exercise if you hold back. Now, should we carry on?”

With that, Nobody leapt at Kale, brandishing his katana.

Twenty Four

The soup was almost done.

Kale and Nobody sat on either side of the fire.

Kale was sporting a few small bandages; on his right arm, his left shoulder and his left ankle.

Only glancing cuts.

Rather sore.

He was grinning though.

Nobody had a thing bandage across the bridge of his nose.

The only hit he scored in their sparring match.

The sun was setting and dinner was over the fire.

But following the sun, rising in the east, the moon loomed.

“It’ll be starting in a few hours.” The cowboy mentioned.

He tossed Kale something from his hip.

“Your pistol?” Kale asked in incredulity, “Come on, we won’t really be needing these now will we?”

Nobody was staring down the barrel of his rifle.

Satisfied, he glanced at his companion. “More than likely not, but better safe than sorry. They get pretty wild. Hey, you know how to use one of those, right?”

Kale looked out onto the quiet village, then down at the revolver. “Yeah. You pull down the hammer, aim and pull the trigger.”

“Don’t worry. They shouldn’t try anything. Don’t expect any sleep though.”

Twenty Five

And no sleep did Kale get.

Down in the village, it was loud.

It was rowdy.

And it was, at some points downright scary.

The pack members seemed to continuously egg each other on to greater and louder feats.

Great bouts of howling would be taken up at times, chilling Kale’s bones.

It was an odd feeling for Kale.

Many times, when the pack didn’t sound completely wild, it actually seemed like a festival Kale would enjoy.

There was a long stretch of more subdued partying, where Kale almost slipped into a dream.

He was snapped to reality by blood-thirsty howling down in the village and by Nobody dragging him to his feet.

“Not good,” The cowboy stated. “Next pack over got too wild. They’re attacking.”

“What can we do?” Kale asked.

The howling grew fiercer. “We need to break it up. Don’t kill anyone and don’t let anyone be killed. That will only cause a counter attack later.”

The pair rushed down the hill together, Kale truly dreading what they’d find.

‘Isn’t there some kind of warning about not getting into the middle of a dog fight?’ he wondered.

Then he saw a great, ferocious looking Okami bearing down on Ash.

His feet collided with the beast-man before he realized he was there.

“Ash!” he called to wolf girl he owed his life to. She was a bit battered but she stood as if she didn’t feel any pain.

‘She probably doesn’t…’ He remembered.

She snarled when she saw him and Kale truly thought she was about to tear his throat out until a glimmer of recognition flitted across her eyes.

“Kale! Why weren’t you down here earlier? We could’ve been having fun!” She hooted and made her way to him.

“Previous engagement with Nobody.” Kale replied, now back to back with Ash to ward off attackers.

“Aw, come on! He’s no fun!” She laughed over her shoulder as she knocked out another attacking Okami with a well placed blow to the head.

“I heard that.”

Nobody dropped from the air next to them.

As usual, his face held no emotion. He probably said that just to say it.

He was carrying a bundle under his arm.

“Hey, Nobody! You should’ve been here too! You could’ve won the drinking contest!” Called a friendly Okami who was brawling nearby.

Ash agreed enthusiastically.

“Yeah! Why not have some fun for once?”

He didn’t answer but instead, lit the bundle’s end with a match, setting off a stream of sparks.

The held it, pointing up and it quickly fired off into the air.

The whole melee came to a halt to watch as the rocket flew towards the moon.

It exploded loudly, sending a dark cloud across the great silver disk.

At first there was a small outrage as the clouds blocked out the moon, but when the light was cut off, the Okami suddenly fell into a dumb silence.

Nobody’s voice broke the stillness. “Alright. Everyone needs to get back home. Fun’s over.”

No one seemed to know what to do.

Some casted hopeful glances skyward but the clouds wouldn’t move or dissapate.

“Kale. You get everyone here back in their homes. I’ll take the rest back to their pack.”

With that, Nobody began herding the invaders away.

The Shimo Pack members realized that there wasn’t going to be anymore partying tonight and headed to their respective huts, shuffling their feet.

There were tight patches of Okami huddled around a few injured, whom Kale and Ash brought to the medical hut.

Now that the moon was obscured and she had a responsibility to attend to, Ash was sobered up from the moon’s effects but was much friendlier to her indentured servant for the remainder of the night.

Twenty Six

Unfortunately, Kale wouldn’t be getting any sleep the next day either.

Between cleaning up the ground around the village and helping repair a few huts, he had no opportunity to rest.

Halfway through the day he met up with Nobody, who was busy working on the same hut Kale was.

“Hey, Nobody, How exactly did you do what you did last night?” He asked the man.

“What? Jumping out of the air? Simple. You see, there’s a hut right there; i jumped off it.”

“No, no, no,” Kale said, shaking the sleep from his brain. “I meant the thing with the moon and stuff.”

“Very specific. Did you miss your bedtime or something?”

Kale just glared at the cowboy.

“The rocket. It’s pretty much a firework. Just more smoke than sparkle. I didn’t think to bring one along at first and i had to run back to get one.” Nobody explained.

“Okay. But it was so effective. How do you make something that specific? The cloud stayed right in place and didn’t fade away.”

“I know a bit of alchemy.” Nobody muttered past the piece or roofing he was tying down.

“Oh. Yeah, I guess that’ll do it then.” Kale said, nodding his head.

“I’m about finished here. Why don’t you see if there’s anything Ash needs you to do.” The cowboy offered.

Kale agreed and walked off to Ash’s and his shared hut.

“Hey, Ash. Anything you need me for?” He asked.

“Yeah, could you grab those jars, right there, for me? The green and the blue ones?” She requested, pointing to a shelf next to a window.

She was busy organizing herbs for later use if they were needed.

Kale stared tiredly at the shelf.

Then at his bed in the next room.

“I’ll go get them for you.” He muttered, proceeding to walk straight past the jars on the shelf.

A minute later, Ash realized that the items she requested had not been delivered to her yet.

She turned and stomped to his assigned room and found him face down in the bed.

She quickly checked and confirmed that he was still breathing.

Ash was tempted to throw him out of the bed and work him till he passed out.

But then a thought crossed her mind.

She pulled the blankets over him and patted his head.

She crossed the hut to her own bed and promptly curled up in it.

“Huh, not a bad idea, actually.”

Twenty Seven

The strain of the past two days was not good on Kale.

The whole day, he was reduced to sporadic coughing fits, laying him up in bed.

Ash was finishing yet another kettle of that tea.

“Well, Kale, I recommend a few days of rest for your lung there. And no more extra extraneous activity. Your lung there hasn’t acted up for quite a while now, so now we know you need to make sure to sleep right. But you can’t be a lazy sod either.” Ash said, bringing a fresh kettle.

“You sound like a lame doctor,” Kale managed between coughs.

Ash grinned dangerously and prodded his forehead with her finger. “Yeah, the lame doctor keeping you alive.” She reminded him.

Kale took the hint and remained quiet while Ash went about her business.

Kale turned his head to the window and sighed, which turned into a cough.

More tea.

Twenty Eight

Kale sat on a stump, admiring the small village.

The morning sun cast a bright glare off the snow on the hut’s roofs.

Besides the roofs and the surrounding forest, that was all the snow left.

The thaw is here.

The ground of the village was a wet brown color. In some patches, it was downright muddy.

Quite a hassle for him and Nobody to walk around in, with their heavy boots.

He watched as the inhabitants of Shimo Pack wandered around on their own little errands.

Snow was falling off the trees in a wet slush.

He took a sip of the tea from a flask that he was holding.

His sword, Gregor, was point-first in the ground by him; as if they both were enjoying the view.

“I feel like there’s some traveling to be done.” Kale muttered.

There was just that feeling in the air.

Perhaps it was just a shared feeling with the animals that have been hiding out against the frost, finally able to begin stretching their legs.

A hat-wearing figure approached from the forest behind Kale.

“Hey, Nobody,” Kale said over his shoulder. He had just about gotten used to noticing when Nobody was around. “How goes it?”

The nameless man shrugged silently.

They both watched the village for a while.

“Yuki wants to speak with you.” The cowboy said at last.

“Really?”

“Really,”

“Now?”

“Now,”




“You sure?”

“Yeah.”


Kale sprang off the stump, swiping up Gregor.

“Well, I ‘spose I ought to see what she has to say.” Kale chuckled.

Twenty Nine

“Nobody told me you wanted to see me.” Kale said, grinning at the statement’s strangeness as he stepped into Yuki’s hut.

It had been a harsh winter but that allowed Kale to become rather comfortable with the village and its inhabitants.

A little too comfortable for Ash’s taste though; he got on her nerves more and more frequently. Like now, how he strutted into Yuki’s hut with what seemed to be a lame joke flinging through his mind with every step.

She trailed behind him, waiting for him to give her a reason to stamp on his foot.

“Yes, that’s right,” Yuki said, glancing up form some papers. There was no trace of annoyance on her face from Kale’s confident attitude.

There was a distinct gleam of ambition in her eyes.

“So how can I help you?”

“Nice traveling weather, wouldn’t you agree, Ash?”

Not at all take aback by her being suddenly addressed by her sister, Ash coolly replied “I’d say so, Yuki, once the ground’s dried a little more.”

Yuki nodded then turned to Kale “How influential are you in the House of Rastor these days?”

“Well, a fair amount. I’m… wait…” Kale stared at the ceiling for a while

When did he ever mention the House of Rastor while he was here?

“We have communication with the town you left prior to arriving in our own,” Yuki said, seeing the confused look on Kale’s face. “There was a messenger in Briggs. With his description, combined with the story of the townspeople, we concluded that we have quite the powerful indentured servant here.”

“Great. You guys know.”

“Don’t worry, Kale,” Ash said, leaning on Kale’s shoulder from behind and speaking into his ear, “We aren’t using you for ransom.”

“In fact, consider yourself a politician now.” Yuki said.

Kale groaned. “I dislike politics… You want to be the Head Alpha, don’t you, Yuki?”

Yuki raised an eyebrow “Very good, Kale,”

He sighed and continued “The last full report on the Okami packs was that the term for the Head Alpha was coming to a close. The report gave a description of all the registered packs’ apparent status… Shimo Pack wasn’t very high in the list of candidates.”

“I’m aware of this,” Yuki growled, poking Kale in the chest, “That’s why we are having this discussion.”

“Right. So you think that just because I owe my life to Ash here that I’m going to go out of my way to help you guys to just get to the top of the food chain?”

Ash leaned on Kale harder and Yuki leaned in further and with cheerfully menacing voices, they replied in unison, “That’s right!”

Kale closed his eyes and squeezed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.

“Jeeze, I hate politics. Fine.”

“Good boy!” Ash patted him on the head hard and roughed up his hair.

“Woof.” Kale growled.

Thirty

“Well I think everything’s packed,”

Kale cinched the last bag of supplies up.

Yuki wanted Kale and company to be straight off now that the ground was dry.

Kale and company.

Who’s this company?

Well it's definitely not the door knob company Kale would start in the future, working with the Grazaston Special Forces, to apprehend a radical organization that supposedly earned its funds through a door company

As the Alpha’s sister, Ash made a very good ambassador.

Yuki then went to speak to the Shimo pack’s strangest resident slash laborer, Nobody.

Though he would be marvelous to have around for the work in spring, Yuki decided that would be extremely useful to keep Ash safe during the trek to Grazton, the capital city.

Kale picked up the three bags.

“Here you are, Nobody,” he said, handing one to the cowboy samurai.

“And here’s yours,” giving the next to Ash.

“And one for me,”

“To for you,” Ash said, dropping her bag into Kale’s arms.

“Aw, come on”

“Hey, indentured servant,”

“Sigh,” Kale said, shouldering the extra pack.

The packs aren’t very heavy, or big, just food supplies for when they couldn’t find their own out in the wilderness and a blanket. They also had a few medical supplies just in case.

“You didn’t just say ‘sigh’ did you?”

“I actually did,”

Ash shook her head, and then glanced over at Nobody, seemingly hoping to see a glimmer of hope for an intelligent conversation for a while.

Contrary to her hopes, he seemed to be having a grim staring match with the sun.

Ash groaned inwardly then looked up the path ahead, “Well you two, let’s get going,”

They began their trek on the dirt path, Kale and Ash waving at the pack members behind them.

Nobody turned once and held up his hand in goodbye but then became occupied in staring at his worn out glove.

The trail took a turn into dense woodland and slowly turned into an incline.

This incline turned into a low mountain and once the party reached the summit, they stopped for a quick break.

“Northwest from here and quite away,” Kale muttered not unhappily to himself, staring in said direction.

Ash who was sitting on a stump looked to her companion. “Hey, Kale,”

“Yeah?”

“What exactly were you doing way down here to begin with?”

“Getting away from there!” Kale said, laughing and pointing towards their destination.

“I never was really cut out to hang around there. Started traveling south and came upon Briggs. I had heard a couple stories and since I was near I decided to check the place out. A blizzard moved in as I entered town. Nearly didn’t make it to the tavern.” He continued.

“Hmmm. Then you nearly died in a blizzard and got stuck with me,”

Kale chuckled for a second before replying “Yeah, worst winter ever,”

Ash turned on Kale with a joking hurt expression “Aw but don’t you like me?”

Kale grinned broadly and looked thoughtfully off into the distance.

Ash and Kale decided to make a meal.

Nothing out of their packs; mostly berries and a rabbit Ash caught.

By the time they finished, they realized the sun was going down.

“Well, that was a fast day!” Kale exclaimed, “Think we ought to just stay the night?”

“Sure why not, we’ll just make more ground tomorrow” Ash said, pulling out a blanket from the bags.

As Kale crawled under his, he glanced at Nobody, who hadn’t moved for much of the time that they were there.

He was sitting hunched over on a log, staring to the west and south.

He had an odd expression but not an unnerving one.

He sighed once then stayed quite.

Thirty One

Up early the next day.

Leisurely pace along the intended path.

Kale admired the mountains that they were passing.

Unfortunately, Kale really should have been admiring the trees around them.

Fortunately for him, Nobody and Ash were much more observant.

“Kale!” Yelled Ash, yanking him back by the collar as a tree trunk of a club crashed into the ground where kale had been less than a second before, wielded by a massive Cyclops.

“Holy son of a-!” The rest of his expletive was cut off by the scraping of steel on steel as Nobody blocked a devilish slash of a Triclops’s scimitar.

There was a stand-off for a moment before the red-skinned Triclops began chuckling evilly. “Lookie, here, Brother! We got ourselves a meal that can fight!”

The Cyclops just stared dumbly, if not hungrily at the party of travelers.

Kale took a second to examine these beasts.

The Triclops had wild black hair and tattered leather clothing and the scimitar was rusty and ragged, but terribly sharp; the Cyclops simply wore a leather loincloth. The brute had no hair on its brown head.

He would’ve noticed much more if the Cyclops hadn’t begun to lift its club from the ground to set up for another swing.

“Just to be polite, before you all die, I’m Seekiel, and one-eye there is my little brother, Cedge.” The red, three eyed Goblin said arrogantly.

Seekiel suddenly launched a stream of fierce slashes against Nobody, who parried them easily.

In the mean time, Kale was staring up at Cedge, the Cyclops in some sort of disgusted wonder as it lifted up its massive club above its head in preparation to crush Him and Ash.

“I really hope you plan to move, Kale” Ash growled.

The club began its descent, gaining speed as it hurtled towards the two.

Kale watched, gripping his blade in two white knuckled hands.

“Gregor!” He roared as he brought the sword up in a skyward slash at the Cyclops’s wooden mace.

There was a searing flash of flames and half of the club flew into the air, the half the giant held slammed into the ground, rattling its hands.

Realization of what just happened dawned quickly on the fast witted Okami girl, who whipped in behind the Cyclops under its arms.

She kicked the back of its knees, forcing it to the ground then leapt up and snapped spine with a sharp kick to the back of its neck.

The beast gurgled in surprise as its eye gazed down at Kale dumbly and slumped over.

Seekiel didn’t even have time to show shock as he was instantly cut down by the cowboy-samurai.

The three turned to view eachother after a moment.

Ash, shaking her foot above the ground and popping her knuckles.

Kale, looking down at the still steaming broad sword.

And Nobody, sheathing his katana.

Kale shook his head “Well damn, aren’t we just the most kick assed little group?”

Thirty Two

The trio set foot into the heart of Grazston, the capital city.

They had arrived on the outskirts of the city the previous night and checked into an inn.

It took tem the better part of the day to get this far into the sprawling city on the southern main road the next day.

Here, anyone and just about everyone was trying to sell something, calling out at passerby, the more successful from inside shaded stalls.

At first, the crowds and noise stressed Ash to the point she had to walk with her hand clenched to Nobody’s sleeve but now she shifted her gaze around excitedly around the open aired market street.

Kale stopped and leaned back as he inhaled a breathe of the dusty air.

“Ahhhh.” He sighed, releasing his breathe, “Finally back.”

Ash tugged on his arm.

“Hm?” he glanced at her.

Ash pointed to a stall where deer meat was being stewed and sold. “I want some of that.”

“I’m not made of money” he said, grinning at her.

She grinned evilly back at him, “I never said you were. But you’re buying me some.”

Kale glared back at her and they had a stare of for a few moments before Kale gave in and slouched over, leading her to the vender.

“I give up.” Groaned Kale.

Ash giggled and approximately five minutes and a lot of money later, she was walking away with an armful of food.

“Where’s she planning to put all that?” Kale grumbled exasperatedly, trailing behind the now happy wolf girl.

“I’m guessing in her stomach,” Nobody said, noncommittally as he adjusted his hat to the sun.

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Posted 12/22/09
FIRST POST BE MINE 8D

Aww, poor Guitar DX
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Posted 12/22/09
hehe

thought i'd start it out a little funny
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Posted 12/22/09
that's always a nice idea XD
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Posted 12/22/09
heh heh. I feel the urge to yell at them if they get hurt =w=
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23 / F / What? Your mom di...
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Posted 12/23/09
Lol I love it <3 More! I demand it!
Posted 12/24/09
W e e e e e !
I read ittttt :D
Wee x3!

Did i mention i read it?
yup.

ANYWAY!
Nobody is cool!
AHAHAH
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Posted 12/24/09
XD
Nobody's ALWAYS cool :3
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27 / M / Archangelus
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Posted 12/24/09

ember1116 wrote:

XD
Nobody's ALWAYS cool :3


Indeed. =3
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Posted 1/20/10
There!

Two chapters for the wait!
Posted 1/20/10
Yaaaay >w<
awesome ^^
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Posted 1/21/10
lol nice!
They're all like "YOU SHOULDA BEEN HERE XD"
and Nobody's like "Meh."
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19 / Desert Bluffs
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Posted 1/21/10
I lol'd when ash said that! XD AND THAT 'Nobody's no fun!' LOL XDDD
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Posted 1/21/10
Hehe

Thankee, all!

^_____^
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Posted 1/23/10
Ahahah XD
nice one Ash =w=
I also like how Nobody probably knew exactly what Kale meant, he was just being a smart-Alec
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