The Man Slayers - Chapter #6: A Call To Kyoto
Well, she wasn't kidding about this training being rough, I can hardly keep up with it. And this training keeps getting harder with each day that passes. I have also found that Lasto does not take kindly to mistakes, I have around twenty or so bruises to prove it too. Oh well, I am no where near done with this training.
"No, no, no, not like that." Lasto slammed the flat side of her sword into Mononoke's side again, making it about the 20th time she had done that today. Mononoke fell to his knees, holding his side. "Now get back up." Lasto ordered.
Mononoke slowly stood, still holding his side. He weakly held his weapon up again, and got into a battle stance. Lasto put her sword away. "No, enough for today, you need rest." She turned, and walked back over to where they were camping out.
She knelt down next to her pack, and pulled out some Lembas that she had made not too long ago. She tossed a wafer of the way bread to Mononoke. "Eat up lad, I have a feeling that the next few days are going to be tiring for both you and I." She began to eat the wafer she had pulled out for herself. The food felt good once it was in her stomach, it had been quit a few days since she had eaten anything, she had forgotten to, while she was taking care of Mononoke.
Mononoke quickly ate the wafer, for he loved the Elvish bread that she was always giving him. He had noticed that it had been a while since Lasto had eaten anything, and was glad to see her eating something now. The food felt so heart lifting, that it made him feel like he was, more or less, flying.
After eating the wafer, he felt better then he had earlier, and the ach in his side was almost gone. He looked over at Lasto, who was now sharpening her sword. Her red blood red hair blew into her face, her icy blue eyes sent a shiver up his spine, and the her body motions left no doubt that she was a killer.
She finished sharpening her sword, and leaned back against a tree. Suddenly there was a rustle in the bushes. Lasto jumped up, and tackled the bush. Someone cried out, and Lasto looked at who she had tackled. It was a young boy, about sixteen years of age, with black hair, and dark eyes. He had a sword at his side, and a short sword, that was in his hand, lying on the ground nearby.
Lasto picked the kid up by the throat, and looked into his eyes, her eyes flaming with the thirst to kill. "Tell me, and be truthful, what are you doing here, and with a sword?"
The kid looked horrified into her eyes. "I was just looking for the great Lasto Lalaithamin, Katusura Kogoro. He wants you to go to Kyoto. I also searched for her so I could have a chance to learn her skills."
Lasto lightly sat the boy down on his feet, and picked up his short sword. "Why did you have this drawn?"
"I was fearful that you may not be her, seeing how I heard that you were travelling with no one, and yet you are travelling with this person."
Lasto looked coldly at the young boy. "Very well, to Kyoto then, you may accompany us, but be careful boy, I still don't know if I can trust you." She put the short sword on her belt, and began to walk away. Mononoke followed, giving the kid the same type of cold look as Lasto had given him, although it was not as spine shivering as hers.
The kid looked at them, stood, and followed. Lasto looked back at him, "seeing how you will be travelling with us, what is your name?"
"My name is Yuki."
"Well, enjoy what you can of yourself while you are travelling with us, I may not train you in the arts that I know, for I have already chosen someone to train them to, and he may be the only one."
Yuki looked over at Mononoke, "well, if you can train him, can't you train me as well?"
"Life is a cruel game Yuki, I killed his parents, and, before his mother died, she made me promise her to take care of her son. She did not care that I was a killer, I knew because of the sparkle in her eyes, she only cared that her son grew up with skills like mine, but that he only used them to protect, never to kill. That is all that I strive to teach my skills for now, and that is how he is learning them. Now, if I train you are that is a different story."
Lasto stopped and picked Yuki back up by the throat. "I train only those who I know can pass my tests young one, I have not yet seen your strength, much less how you fight, so I do not know yet if you could survive my training. Be thankful that I have just chosen not to train you, for you properly would not pass the test."
"What would the test be?"
"There are many tests, one would be how much pain, mentally and physically, you could stand. Another would be how much patients you have for others, and that's just the start of it. Look at the one I am training now, he looks strong, but he is no where near to finishing his training. If he cannot complete the final test at the end of his training, I'll have to kill him. He knows this, and is willing to take the risk, but I know that you are not. It is something I can see in peoples eyes, and I see it in yours, be thankful that I choose not to train you." She sat him back down on his feet, and began to walk away again, Mononoke followed suit.
Yuki looked at her, somewhat surprised by what she had said. He merely breathed to himself, "is she right? Am I not willing to die to learn how to use her still?" It was obvious that he had not expected to hear anything like this out of her when he asked her if she could train him in her arts.
Lasto looked back at him, her face as emotionless as ever, she then looked over at Mononoke. "[What do you think?]"
"[He seems strong, but you are right, he doesn't look like he'd be willing to die if he were to fail the training.]"
"[Yes, it was in his eyes, even if he didn't know it. Many people don't know it, but their eyes can say many things, I have learned this over the years. If you look close enough you can tell what they are felling, what they are thinking, you can tell anything that you want to by looking into their eyes. Now, what I must teach you is how to be able to tell what everyone is thinking or feeling, and how not to show your feelings and other things in your eyes so others won't know what you are feeling.]"
Mononoke nodded, "[I will endure anything that you throw at me sensei , you are after all the one who has been taken care of me for the past few months.]"
"[I wish that it were not me taking care of you, I would rather have your own parents be looking after you. If I-]"
"[Sensei it was not your fault, it was theirs. You were just defending yourself, you even gave them a warning.]"
"[I usually don't give warnings, I just kill. It has been my life for so long I don't even know why I gave them a warning.]"
"[Maybe because you meet someone who got close to you heart recently?]"
"[I don't see how that is possible.]"
Mononoke stopped, "[you can't lie to me sensei, I know that you have fallen for someone somewhere, who is it?]"
Lasto stared straight ahead, not allowing her feelings to show for one second in her eyes. "[I cannot be with him, so I will not speak of him. He also has feelings for me, but we can never be together, and for many reasons.]"
"[Is one of them that you are a killer?]"
"[Half correct, we are bother killers. He is back in Kyoto, at the place that we are heading now.]"
"[Is there any other reason why you cannot be with him?]"
"[I would have to give up my immortality, and face the chance of not having a kid. I am the last of my kind Mononoke, I have to stay alive, or I will let the most wisest and fairest race die.]"
Mononoke nodded, and began to walk silently, thinking to himself. Lasto, too, began to walk in silence, but was not thinking about anything like Mononoke. Yuki followed, wondering what they had just been saying, for they had been talking in Elvish, and very, very few knew elvish. Lasto could feel his curiosity in the air, and thought, `with such curiosity he would have died the first night I set him lose to protect a town.'
A few days later they arrived in Kyoto, Lasto, knowing Kyoto by heart, was able to quickly lead the way to the Inn in which they were suppose to meet Kogoro at. She lightly stepped into the inn, Mononoke and Yuki followed. No one knew that they were there until Yuki made a noise, which he got a cold look from Lasto for, as she did not want to be noticed by everyone in here, as her job was to be silent as the wind, and as quick as hawk after it's prey.
Kogoro looked up from a bunch of work that he was doing and forced a faint smile, which quickly disappeared when he saw Mononoke. "Lasto, who is this?"
"My student, now what do you want Kogoro?"
"I am in need of your help, we have been overrun, and I have no choice but to pull all of our forces back, and put them into hiding for a while until we have an opportunity to strike, and strike hard enough that we will win this war. I need you to keep our men safe until we can pull them all back and put them into hiding. The Battousai is already too overwhelmed to continue to carry out this task on his own, other wise I would not have called you here. You and the Battousai will have to now work side by side, our men depend on you to keep them alive."
"Keeping people alive is not what I am good at, it's killing them that I'm good at."
Kogoro nodded, "I know, and that's why I was reluctant to call you here in the first place, but the Battousai needs your help, he cannot complete this task on his own. Your student there, how good is he with a sword?"
"Good enough, but he is only being taught how to protect, and never to kill, so don't even think about putting him on the front lines for one second, or I might have to cut your head off."
Kogoro looked a bit surprised by her statement, but knew that she properly would, for she never said anything like that unless she meant it. "I see, well, we may need his help later on, keep that in mind. Now, I guess you should be on your way. I will provide rooms for your student and this other young lad I sent to get you." He stood from the table that he had been sitting at, and patted Yuki on the back. He handed her a piece of folded up paper. "This is where you are to go, I will send someone to retrieve you when our men are safely hidden."
"In these times, there is no such thing as safe." Lasto turned, and walked out of the inn before anyone could say anything to her about that.
A few weeks later...
Lasto perched on the roof of a building, staying in the area that she had been told to go to, having never gone back to the inn, or seen her student or Yuki since leaving it. She had helped many soldiers escape the hands of their enemy without them even knowing it. It was the way she did her job, very few knew how, or even sometimes, what something happened to the enemy that was chasing them.
Finally, after a few weeks of this, a messanger was sent to retrieve her, and brought her, not back to the inn, but to a bridge. Her face was covered in dirt and blood, as was her clothing, showing that she had done her job well. On the bridge stood Kogoro, Mononoke, Yuki, a woman that she did not know, and Kenshin Himura, the Battousai, who she had not seen in so long.
Kogoro turned to her and smiled, even though she was covered in blood, "I am thankful that you carried your duties out so well, you saved many of our men, and now, it is time for us as well to go undercover until we can find a way to strike our enemy, and strike them so they can't come back to fight again."
Lasto grabbed a chunk of hair that was plastered to her face by blood, and tucked it behind her ear. "But how is a killer like me suppose to just disappear?"
"Don't worry, you just will. You, your student, and young Yuki here shall accompany me to a farm on the east side of Kyoto as my wife and children as a cover. I hope that you won't have any problems with this."
Lasto kept her cold face on, "Why should I care, it's you who is risking your own life."
Kogoro frowned, and looked back to Kenshin and the woman. "Kenshin, you are to go to a farm on the western side of town. And Lady Tomoe, I was hoping that you could join him as a wife for a cover, for he is in need of someone to be a sheath for his anger." Kogoro bowed his head, turned, stepped up to Lasto, smiled, and gestured for her to come.
Lasto began to follow Kogoro, but turned one last time to look at Kenshin and Tomoe. "Take care, Himura Kenshin, and Lady Tomoe, though I do not know you, I will warn you now, take care of my Kenshin, or I will track you down and kill you. Goodbye." She bowed her head, turned, and began to follow Kogoro again. Mononoke and Yuki followed, saying their goodbyes to Tomoe and Kenshin.