Chiharu Star Fortress, Fencing Grounds
Takeyu glanced about, amazed he was able to actually find a place to practice. The fencing area was vast, with various rooms for people to practice in private, and a central room where people could practice together with others. In this case, Takeyu choose a side room, mainly because he didn't want to risk interrupting others.
The walls were covered in mirrors, which afforded the person who was practicing to keep an eye on his surroundings to avoid hitting someone behind him. Takeyu strode over to a bench and set down four Tamahaganes, one for him and one for Kiko, though he had two extras just in case one of them broke. "Happens," he muttered as he picked one up and started practicing on his own while waiting, all the while wondering if Kiko got his message - he was in a bit of a haste considering what had happened earlier. The sounds of someone kiai-ing could be heard outside of the room.
Kiko strode in wearing one of her exercise uniforms
and an impassive expression. She was still surprised that she'd misinterpreted Takeyu's delay of the lesson, but she didn't let that show.
Takeyu swung his sword downward, then brought it around up and then stepped forward, before reversing his stance coming up behind. He then slowed down slightly, then brought the blade around so hard it made a loud 'crack' in the air, before he replaced it within it's sheath. As Takeyu let out a sigh, he looked into the mirror took of Kiko as she came in. He planted the sword onto his shoulder and turned toward her. "Good evening, Inoue-san," he said to her.
Kiko bowed. "Good evening, Nayasescen-sensei," she said quietly. She walked over to the bench and sat on a part of it that wasn't covered in swords.
"Glad you got my message," said Takeyu as he pulled the sword out. "In my haste, I thought I had sent it to the wrong person," he smiled nervously and looked over at the door before glancing back at Kiko. "Did you want to start or observe for the time being?" he asked and turned around and began to walk toward the center of the room, thanks to how small it was, he would still be able to hear her - sound traveled rather well in a room like this with a lack of furniture.
"Ah, the other recipient was a typo? Then I take it you don't have another student coming," Kiko said. "I would rather begin the lesson, but if you would prefer that I observe I can do that instead," she answered.
Takeyu tapped his shoulder in thought, pondering whether he should start the lesson or have her watch. After a moment, he walked over to the bench and grabbed another sword and tied the sheath to his belt. "Go ahead and watch, you remember when my little sister stated that she was better than me at this?" he asked.
Kiko nodded. "I assumed that she was lying for entertainment purposes. Was that not the case?" she asked.
He shook his head and stopped at the center of the room before turning back toward Kiko. "Not exactly, though she was bragging a bit, she actually is
good and I dare say better than me," Takeyu sighed and then looked down at the sword he was carrying. "In my family, I'm proficient with a single sword, however, Layven is proficient with two swords, that's why if she ever was to attain her dream of being a Samurai, she'd impress those around her," he shrugged. "Then again, she wasn't one for showing off," he then turned back toward the window.
"Our style was designed for defense in mind, though attacks are also thrown in. Being that we were on a ship located outside of the lawful areas, we had to figure out some way to protect ourselves. Guns are a good option, but not always available, sometimes you have to use what's in our area. A pipe. A board. A crate full of razor blades if you will, it just depends on what's available," he explained. "Meaning that this form isn't JUST for swords, it can be used with whatever you have on hand. Though a sword is a good idea regardless, after all, what the chances you'll get in range of hitting someone with a razor blade?" he asked rhetorically. "Variable, but lower than with a sword," Kiko answered. Smart ass,
he grinned, "Questions?" he added quickly while turning and looking at the mirror.
"Has Layven-san reco-" Kiko started.
Kumiko poked her head in right about then, wearing a nice pair of workout pants and a new shirt. "Oh! Takeyu-san. It's you. I was actually looking for someone to work out with, and someone said they noticed a couple people headed this way with swords of their own."
Takeyu blinked, having not expected anyone else. "Kumiko-san...." he said before adding. "Aye, I was going to teach Inoue-san here some of what my family knows, want to join in?" he curiously asked.
Kiko turned her head toward Kumiko and looked at her without saying anything.
Kumiko shrugged. "Sure. I know next to nothing about swords, other then how to make them, so I'm completely willing to learn something new."
Takeyu smiled approvingly. "In that case, I guess I have another student. Go ahead and watch for a bit, so you can see what I do. Anywho, you were asking me a question Inoue-san?"
"I was inquiring after your sister's health, but I would prefer not to disrupt the lesson," the neko answered calmly.
"Nah, go ahead and ask," said Takeyu as he held the blade firmly.
"In that case, has she recovered from the incident earlier?" the neko inquired.
He sighed, and glanced over at one of the far mirrors. "She has, the doctor there checked her out and bandaged her hand. It seems that her fear of blood got 'worse' while as a slave or at least that's what he can figure based off what I told him earlier, he could only guess as to why, and I don't need to him tell me," he scowled and his expression showed his utter hatred of whatever had been done to his sister.
Kiko held back a frightened wince at Takeyu's expression. "My apologies, sir."
His expression changed quickly, "nothing to apologize for, you didn't do anything to her, nor harm her," he said and awaited to see if there were anymore questions, or perhaps, concerns about Layven. Then again, he knew that Kumiko probably knew very little of who they were talking about, before continuing he walked over to the door and closed it so that they wouldn't be disturbed.
"In any case, you said that the style was designed for defense. Do you mean defense of the ship or a focus on blocks and dodges?" Kiko asked, all business again.
"A little bit of both to be honest, but more on a focus of blocks and dodges. The goal is to injure the pirate to the point where he'll flee and not continue his fight, but sometimes just dodging and blocking doesn't work," he held up the sword. "That's when you have to take a more aggressive stance," he added. Kiko nodded.
He turned back around then glanced over his shoulder toward Kumiko. "Kumiko-san? Did you have any questions about what has been discussed so far?" he asked.
Kumiko shook her head, leaning up against the wall with her sword still in her hands. "Nothing so far. It seems fairly sensible to me."
Takeyu nodded his head, feeling that there was no longer any need for explanations, yet. He looked down as his sword hand and stared at it, then took up a stance with the sword outstretched behind him and his left hand in front of him.
He waited for several moments, taking in breaths, then a long, slow one, then moving forward and slicing the air in front of him, he then reversed his stance and sliced behind, turning his body around and was now staring straight at Kumiko and Kiko. However, his stance changed again, this time at a forty degree angle as he spun the sword and 'cracked' the air as he swung hard, almost hitting the ground, and causing the sword to be behind him.
Standing there for a few moments, he stabbed the air in front, then changed his position to behind and swung again - his eyes never moved, always staring straight forward as if he was fixated on something that only he could see, but as he came around for a second pass, his sword slapped the ground and the top end broke off - spiraling across the floor and stopping just a foot from the mirror. He blinked and looked at the sword, and sighed heavily at himself.
Kiko picked up one of the spare swords and held it out to Takeyu. "While that does give an effective impression of the amount of force involved in your movements, it may become expensive if you continue to demonstrate in that manner, sir," she said calmly.
He had to agree. "True, then again, I'm not tired nor worn out," he winked. "After awhile, you learn how to control your breathing and movements. You can execute techniques without wasting or using excess energy, saving it up for when you truly need it," he said and accepted the blade. "Thank you," and handed her the broken one. She sheathed it so that nobody would cut themselves on it by accident.
Takeyu was a bit embarrassed though, no matter how many years he had been training, he always had that small issue of misjudging distance - he was only glad that in this case it didn't hurt anyone, unlike the first time. "You two up for starting?" he asked them and took a few steps back.
Kumiko nodded, pushing herself away from the wall. "I'm willing to start whenever. I'm probably going to be a bit clumsier then most people you've tried with before though. I'm good with my hands, but not my feet."
Kiko stood up and nodded, picking up the unbroken practice blades and handing one to Kumiko. "I am, sir," she said simply.
"Very good, we'll start out slow and simple," he said and held the new blade with a single hand. He then took up a stance with one his left foot forward and right back, while holding the blade upward. "Copy what I do, but I'll keep an eye on what you are doing and correct you as we go," he said.
He moved forward with his right, and slowly brought the blade down with his right hand on the back, then brought it around and back forward. He then stopped and held the blade out to his far left, and kept an eye on Kumiko and Kiko.
Kiko copied his stance imperfectly, but her feet were in a position that was as viable as the one his were in. It would be somewhat more difficult to dodge in her position, but she could swing a bit harder.
Kumiko followed suit, lining her feet up as best she could to how Takeyu's were, and followed up with her own imitation of his swing. The swing was probably much closer then her stance; she really wasn't joking about the relative skills of her extremities.
"If you make a mistake," he started and brought the blade out forward and grabbed it with both hands before swinging right, and changing his stance so he was facing right. "Don't worry too much about it, you won't be perfect on your first go," he wondered if he would have to say it and decided to just to be on the safe side. "Don't rely on stances during combat, trust me, your opponent won't," he said and released his right hand from his blade and then stabbed the area in front of him slowly before bringing the blade all the way behind him.
Kumiko frowned, following suit, but letting her feet move into a more natural position for her. She was a bit more squared off then before, but was much more balanced.
Kiko nodded and mimicked his movement with the sword, not changing her position.
He finished off the practice by bringing the sword back forward and grasped with both hands, then swung downward and brought the sword off to his left. "Alright, we'll do that sequence over again, but this time, I'll keep an eye out and correct any of your movements," he said and looked at the two of them in the mirror in turn before going back through the motions.
Kiko repeated the sequence almost exactly the way she had done it before.
Takeyu watched them both, observing them closely. "Your blade a bit lower than it should, Inoue-san, raise it up a bit," he said and showed her. She repeated the sequence again with her blade slightly higher.
When he nodded he turned toward Kumiko, noticing that her stance was a bit off and stopped and turned to fix her footing a bit. "Like this, how you had it before risks breaking your ankle, " he explained.
Kumiko frowned, readjusting her feet like he told her. "Really? I had them like that because I felt more balanced than that."
"Perhaps so, but if you suddenly have to bring your sword around quick, you'll actually be off-balance and could fall," said Takeyu as he stood up and got back to running them through the motions.
As they continued; Takeyu noticed another mistake being made and turned toward Kiko amd Kumiko. "Keep a firm grip on your swords, I was noticing that they are a bit loose," he told them. Kiko started holding onto her sword harder during her repetitions.
Kumiko slid her hands slightly, adjusting so that it felt as though the sword was resting more firmly in her hands, then tightened her grip. "Like this?"
"Yep," replied Takeyu as he watched her. "Loosening the grip will run the risk of the sword flying out of your hand, and there's nothing more embarrassing than fighting an opponent just to have your sword fall out of your hand," he said and it sounded as if he was speaking from experience. "Now, I want you two go do that again, only this time without me showing you. I'll correct you if you make mistakes, but otherwise, do exactly as I told you," he placed the blade back into its sheath and folded his arms over his chest and watched.
Kumiko nodded, and started to go through the motions again, piece by piece. She started to shift her feet back, remembered his instructions, and automatically fixed her stance, trying to keep a firm grip on her blade.
Takeyu walked around the two, keeping an eye on their foot movements and their motions. He nodded approvingly to himself, noting that Kumiko and Kiko were doing their best not to make mistakes.
"Very good," he said to them and walked out in front and kept his eyes on them. "Let's go through that again, this time try and pick up the pace a little and put a bit more power into your swings," he said and folded his arms over his chest again.
"Yes, sir," Kiko said, increasing her pace gradually so that Takeyu would be able to spot any accidental sloppiness.
Kumiko increased her pace as well, having to concentrate to keep her stance from slipping back into something more comfortable.
He watched them and walked in between them to keep their stances again. "Not bad," he said with a hint of satisfaction in his tone and walked 'behind' them to keep an eye on their stances again. He could feel a rush of cool air come in from the vents, and rubbed his shoulder a bit before turning his attention back to the two students he was training.
Then, after a moment, he slipped into motioning with them and kept up pace. His movements fluid and flawless, though his stances didn't exactly match what he had shown to the two before-hand, but that might've been because he was used to it already.
"Once you're done with your motions, you may stop and take a break," he said.
Kiko paused for a moment to consider taking Takeyu up on his offer when she finished her current motion, then repeated the form again.
Kumiko paused after she finished that set, resting the tip of her sword on the ground and slowing her breathing a bit, not used to exerting herself this much outside of an armor.
Takeyu smiled and slowed his pace, then stopped and rested his sword on his shoulder. "Think of it as a workout," he said when he saw Kumiko. "One of these days, we might get into a battle where we can't really use our armor and where we may need to push ourselves further than our bodies can technically go," he said and placed his sword back into its shealth and glanced over at the door and noticed something pass under it, but then shrugged his shoulder and walked over to the bench and sat down.
"Kumiko? What do you know about the Ketsurui Samurai?" he asked her.
Kumiko frowned, not expecting a question like that. "To be honest, not much. I was stationed on guard duty for one of the International Peace Conferences, and I saw one there, but I honestly haven't had much contact." As she sorted through her memory, she remembered something else. "The only other thing that comes to mind is that the Taisa hasn't had a Samurai bodyguarding her in a while, though I know she used to."
"I do find that odd, I mean she's a princess, I kind of expect her to have a guard. Unless---" he thought for a moment and tapped his lower chin. "Perhaps due to all of the combat the Eucharis undertakes, it's believed she doesn't need a bodyguard due to her dedicated and loyal crew?" he shrugged his shoulders, it was merely a suggestion. The notion made Kiko somewhat nervous, but she didn't show it.
Kumiko cocked an eyebrow. "I suppose it's possible. Not that she ever listens to us when we try and keep her safe, but we haven't messed up yet." She was just about ready to get going again though.
"She entered the tank when Papadopoulos-Nitô Hei suggested that she do so," Kiko pointed out.
"True, though then again, I'd feel sorry for anyone who tried to take the Taisa on first hand," Takeyu grinned and got back up. "Then again, there's no way we'd allow anyone to get close to her. I'd give my life before that'd happen," he said and looked down and flexed his hand before pulling the katana back out. Kiko nodded her agreement.
"I'm pretty sure most of us would, especially those of us who have been around for a bit. Still doesn't explain the lack of a Samurai though. She had one before, and she had a solid crew back then as well." Kumiko moved back into motion as she finished speaking, going through the forms again.
"The war could be the cause too with all honesty, but who knows," Takeyu shrugged his shoulder and got up off the bench and started moving over toward the center, but he stopped partly when he heard a knock on the door to their room. "Were either of you two expecting anyone to join us?" he asked them.
"I was not," Kiko said, finishing her current repetition and turning to face the door.
Kumiko paused in her motions, surprised by the knock. "I wasn't expecting to be joining you in the first place, so that would be a no."
Takeyu pondered for a moment, then another knock came. "It's open," he said casually. The door parted way, a station security officer bearing the rank of a Nitô Juni walked in, in front of him was a young girl and Takeyu recognized her right away and looked down at her.
"Excuse me, but is this your sister?" asked the Juni. Takeyu nodded his head and knelt down in front of her. "She was wandering the station and approached me, asking if I knew where you were. I asked the computer, and was told you were here in the fencing area. She didn't know the way, so I brought her here," he looked down at her.
"My thanks Juni," said Takeyu as the officer nodded and stepped out.
"Good evening, Layven-san," Kiko said pleasantly.
"G-good evening," said Layven nervously as she glanced around and her eyes fell upon Kumiko.
Takeyu smiled and stood up. "Kumiko? Meet Layven, one of the people we rescued on Mitsuya," she said and Layven bowed to her.
Kumiko put the point of her sword down again and bowed back. "It's a pleasure, Layven."
"Nice to meet you," said Layven with a smile on her face. "So, what are you three up to?" she asked but before she could get an answer Takeyu interjected with his own.
"How about you tell me what you were doing wandering the station when you are supposed to be in bed resting a bit." He stared down at her with his arms across his chest.
"Err...." Layven froze, not liking the stare and looking away. "I.... well..." she stuttered and thought for a moment. "I was hoping you'd stay until I feel asleep, but you left before I did, and I was getting nervous being alone, so.... well...." she rubbed her hands nervously and looked between the three people.
"You're not one to get nervous about sleeping alone," said Takeyu.
"YOU weren't captured by slavers and forced to do their work," she shouted and then folded her arms over her chest. "I spent two years without seeing you."
He sighed. Perhaps I should've stayed,
he thought and looked at his two students. "Well, it'll be awhile before we finish up here," he said.
"That's alright, I mean... I know you told me to go bed since tomorrow I'll be leaving for Yamatai," she said and looked at Kiko, then at Kumiko. "You sure your not trying to form a ... umm.... ummm... what was it called?"
"Dojo?" Kiko suggested innocently.
Takeyu blinked several times, before realizing what Layven was trying to say, and promptly sighed. Where in the HELL did she learn that word?!
Kumiko laughed out loud at that one. "Well. I don't know about these two, since I wasn't planning on being here, but..."
"Not dojo, though I wish it would've been," said Takeyu with a shake of his head. "Let's just say, it seems my dear little sister has learned a few things she shouldn't know at her age."
"Just kidding," Layven giggled and sat down on the bench and placed her hands between her legs and observed.
Takeyu gripped his sword and walked back over to the center of the room and then turned back around. He tapped his shoulder thoughtfully, then nodded. "Kiko-san? Go ahead and go through your motions again a few times, Kumiko-san? Let's spar for a little bit. You attack, I'll defend, during so keep aware of your stance and your posture," he said and brought his sword up in a defensive posture. "Also, switch out to a practice sword please," he added quickly. Kiko watched the bout in the mirrors while she continued to wear the forms into her muscle memory.
Kumiko smirked at Takeyu. "What, is teacher not sure of himself anymore?" Despite her words, she walked over to the bench, re-sheathed her blade, set it aside, and picked up one of the practice swords, swinging it once or twice so she could feel out the weight difference.
"Sure of himself hmmmm?" Takeyu grin deepened. "Let's just say I don't think the Taisa wants to her about one of her crew losing an arm," he winked.
Kumiko settled herself in opposite Takeyu, grinning. "Oh, I don't know. We can grow it back pretty easily. A bit of pain never kills anyone around here, you know that." She attacked as soon as she finished speaking, sticking with the forms for now.
Takeyu fell in line and started blocking Kumiko's moves. "True, but still, I'd rather not piss off the Taisa. She has enough to worry than two crew members trying to beat each other up," he smiled.
Kumiko snorted, starting to warm up into a rhythm. "If I wanted to beat you up, I'd go switch into a better body for it. This is just playtime."
"Take... Kumi-chan is playing with you..." Layven said with a smile. Kiko got a nearly invisible glint in her eye at that.
"L-Layven, you know better than to give nicknames to people without as---!" said Takeyu before he almost got hit by Kumiko and was forced to bring his other hand around to block it.
Kumiko grinned as she almost landed on one Takeyu, but couldn't help but flick a dirty look at Layven, since she felt like she was doing fine for the moment. It turned out to be her downfall though, since the temporary distraction combined with her increased speed ended up with her misstepping and tripping herself up, falling over backwards as a result.
With a shake of his head, Takeyu helped Kumiko back up and whispered into her ear. "Layven has her own way of training people when she isn't the one actually doing the training, such as distracting others," he said.
Kumiko gave Layven another dirty look once she was back on her feet, before leaning over and picking up her sword from where she'd dropped it. "I know exactly what you mean. Start from the top again?"
"First, Layven...." Takeyu looked over at his sister who gulped down and got up off the bench.
"Sorry," she said.
Kumiko waved the apology off. "Nah, I know better. I've always been bad about it, and I got used to it during training. Just been a while."
"Very well," he said and walked over to the bench and grabbed another sword. "Time to take a page out of your book Layven." Kiko's ears perked up and she tensed in anticipation of a change of targets.
"Yet you're not as good with two blades as me," she snickered and sat back down.
"Meh," Takeyu rolled his eyes and spun the two practice blades around before getting in front of Kumiko. "Same deal, you attack, I defend," he said and kept both swords by his side, ready to defend against Kumiko's attacks. Kiko relaxed a bit and went back to her forms.
Kumiko nodded. She settled her breathing a bit, thinking hard about how to handle this. Fighting someone with two blades worked completely differently then one, so she'd have to be careful. Coming to a decision, she started out again, warming back up to the same speed they'd ended at last time.
Takeyu used only one blade for now, deciding instead to save the other blade for when Kumiko started putting more pressure on him. Though when he saw Kiko out of the corner of his eye, a thought came to him, and a grin formed on his face yet again that he quickly wiped away and went back to focusing on Kumiko.
Kumiko sped things up a bit, trying to stay within her limits, but still push them as best he could. She had a plan, but nothing she should do yet.
He blocked with his left, then switched to his right hand to give his left a bit of a temporary break and continued blocking her constant attacks, though he pondered if she would try or do anything that he wasn't expecting.
Deciding to take her plan into action, Kumiko suddenly sped up much more then she should've been able to, kicking her inherent gravity control into gear to lighten her arms and sword.
He blinked and changed his position, he brought up his second sword. Aha...
he thought with a smile and put more strength into his defense.
Kiko raised an eyebrow at Kumiko's reflection, wondering why she'd been holding back before.
Kumiko gritted her teeth, trying to get past both swords at once by sheer speed at the moment, though she had one more idea on a possibility to get past him.
Takeyu wasn't going to give up, he decided to take the gloves off and spun one of his swords around to the pointed end was behind him, this gave him the ability to better block than having the sword out in front.
Kumiko decided that she hadn't had much luck working with just speed, so she decided to try her second trick. Right before their blades connected, she reversed the polarity of her gravity manipulation around her arm and blade, increasing the pressure they exerted upon impact.
He felt it, as the blades connected, one of his practice blades bore a crack along the edge that lead down to his hilt. He was impressed, partially anyway, but with the shake of his head he tossed the blade aside - where it broke in four separate places upon hitting the ground. He then wrapped his free hand around his last remaining blade and pushed against her.
Kumiko gritted her teeth, dropping the gravtiy control for a moment, backing off only slightly to try and catch her breath.
Takeyu saw his opening and took it; he dropped his sword down onto Kumiko's blade, then swiped her leg out from under her - though in the process he felt some pain shoot up his leg but ignored it.
Kumiko's eyes went wide as she felt her legs come out from underneath her, though her recent use of her gravity control was a saving grace here. She kicked it in right before she hit, making her impact much softer then it should've been. She grimaced up at Takeyu anyway. "Okay. I guess I had that one coming, didn't I?"
He could only smile. "Gravity control works wonders, and it can be of a great asset in a fight if used properly," he motioned as his practice blade which was on the floor broken. "But against a person with two swords, it's best you try and break 'both' blades at the same time," he brought his down to look it over and was amazed as how there wasn't a crack on it. Oh, she just figured out how to use her gravity control properly,
Kumiko grinned, deciding that the ground was much more comfortable then standing, for the moment. "Hey, I've never tried that on anything other then a wrench before. I'm just glad it worked as well as it did."
"Your turn Kiko-san," said Takeyu as he turned toward her.
"Yes, sir." Kiko finished her form, turned around to face him, and bowed.
Takeyu took up his blade and beckoned for her to start her attack. On the side lines, Layven sighed, she wanted some action, and glanced down at one of the practice blades with a mischievous grin on her face.
"Should I attempt to break your sword as well, sir?" she asked, moving into the ready stance that he'd shown her.
Kumiko glanced at Layven from the ground, and shook her head. She pointed her finger at her, and shook it. "Nuh-uh, little one. I know that look, even if I don't know exactly what you're thinking about."
Layven smiled nervously, darn...
"Let's try not to break blades this time, just try and land a blow on me," Takeyu said and spun the blade around his hand before getting into a stance.
Kiko advanced with unnatural speed and started a flurry of strikes, each one mimicking parts of the form she'd been shown. "Should I restrict myself to techniques that you have shown me, sir?"
She asked telepathically."Up to you,"
was his reply. Kiko kept using the same blows without a reply. Takeyu defended effortlessly. "Put a bit more speed, and bit more into each of your attacks, try and throw me off guard or off balance, or attempt to knock the sword out of hand," he offered and gripped it with his other hand in response to what he had said.
Kiko started hitting a bit more aggressively, knowing perfectly well that she was leaving openings for Takeyu and wanting to see if he'd take them.
With the shake of his head, he stayed on defense, not desiring to take the opening that Kiko was leaving. Either they are intentional, or she's just baiting me,
he said and kept his free hand behind his back so he could focus entirely on his sword hand.
Kiko's blows started to come from varying heights, including some that were too high for her to have possibly made them with her build. The observers, and Takeyu if he looked down, could see that her feet were no longer touching the ground much of the time.
Kumiko levered herself up off the ground, picking herself up but staying out of the way. She walked over to the bench and sat down next to Layven, rolling her neck. "So. Takeyu says you're pretty good yourself."
"He does? I hardly hear him admit it," said Layven as she watched Kiko and Takeyu.
"Maybe not around you, no. I mean, he is a boy. Have you ever seen them compliment a girl when they're around? All the boys I've known always get flustered and trip themselves up." Kumiko gave her a look that was more then a little knowing.
Layven sighed, then shrugged her shoulders. "For him to compliment is rare," she said and then stuffed her hands between her legs while still watching.
"Too slow," said Takeyu as he parried Kiko's attack, he was set up to remove the sword from her hand but decided not to.
"Indeed," Kiko replied, and suddenly started using her gravitics to speed herself up, now that she was sure enough of her form to fight at full speed. She started changing the horizontal angles she was coming from as well, darting around Takeyu with unnatural speed and agility.
This he wasn't expecting, Takeyu watched her as best he could. "Huh," he said with a crack of a smile on his face and waited to see what she would do before doing anything in turn.
Kiko stopped her intentional openings, now that she was reasonably sure he was going to stay entirely on the defensive. She kept using only the strikes that he'd shown her as she continued her assault. At one point, she jumped over his head and slashed down at him, then again from where his back had been at the start of her jump.
Kumiko shrugged, leaving that one for Layven and Takeyu to sort out for the most part. "Well, I haven't known him all that long, to be honest. I've never seen him having trouble complimenting people, though."
"Not bad," said Takeyu as he blocked the attacks but then served up his own, he pulled the scabbard out and swiped Kiko's feet, to see if she was keeping an eye on her balance or not.
"A lot seems different about him, I noticed; back on our ship, he was a lot more serious... stern... but he seems.. different now," Layven shrugged with a mild confused look.
Kiko rolled with the blow to her ankle and floated perpendicular to Takeyu. She didn't stop her attacks at all or bother to right herself, retaliating with a swing from lower than she'd have been able to get her arms normally.
He gripped the scabbard tightly and used it in conjunction with his sword to continue blocking her attacks; though he knew of a way to end this, he knew doing so would possibly result in injury so his intention was to now wait for an opening to disarm her.
Kiko kept at her assault unrelentingly and started to use her gravitics to gradually increase the force of her blows as well.
With the the shake of his head, he pinned Kiko's blade between his with the use of his scabbard and then kept her locked there. She tried to wrench them out of his hands, but without the spectacular strength of the earlier models, she failed. When she couldn't get her sword out of the lock normally, she let it go, stepped back, and bowed.
"Very good," he said with a nod and bowed in turn. "Never let your opponent lock you like that, it could very well mean the difference between life and death."
Kiko raised an eyebrow. "Oh. So it would have been acceptable to start kicking you, then?" she asked mildly.
Kumiko cocked an eyebrow, partially at Layven, and partially at how the sparring match had ended. She turned to look at Layven though. "Different how? He's been like this pretty much the whole time I've known him."
Layven blinked as she looked over at Kumiko. "He has?" she asked.
"Kicking is acceptable, just be mindful of your strength," he winked at Kiko.
The corners of the Neko's mouth twitched downward. "Always, sir," she said solemnly.
"Yep. Never been too serious. Except, you know, when it's needed. He's good in combat, and I haven't seen him back down from anything. I think we get along pretty well." Kumiko nodded to Layven. "How was he different though?"
Layven pushed off the bench and stood up. She thought on Kumiko's question for a moment, "Umm, I can't really put it into words, he was just more serious is the best I can tell you," she said with some noticeable embarrassment.
Kumiko chuckled, watching Layven. "Don't worry about it. I can figure it out later." She glanced over to the ended sparring match, then back to Layven. "You going to join us in working out, or just watch today?"
A grin formed on Layven's face as she grabbed the practice blade. "I'm hoping my big brother lets me join you guys, even though the doctor said I shouldn't be overdoing it..." she said.
Kumiko gestured to Takyeu. "Well, why not ask him? I'm sure there's something for you to do, even if you're not allowed to work yourself too hard." She stood up herself, smoothing her pants out.
Takeyu tapped the sword on his shoulder, then looked past Kiko. "Go ahead and practice a bit more, or take a break if you want," he said and placed his hand on her shoulder before walking by. Kiko paused a moment to wonder what he meant by the touch, then sat down.
He was about to ask Kumiko a question, when Layven spoke up. "Say Bro? May I join in," she asked.
"No," said Takeyu simply.
"Mer... you didn't even think about it!" her voice raised.
"Exactly, the doctor said you can't do anything strenuous for the next few days. That includes training," Takeyu folded his arms over his chest and said, staring down at her.
"Awww, come one! Please!" She pleaded with him.
Takeyu stared, and sighed. He always had issues saying no to his little sister. That damned pleading look...
he said with the shake of his head. "Very well, but I don't want you overdoing it. If you get hurt, I won't hear the end of it," he said. Not just from the doctor, but from Yaichiro as well most likely...
Layven smiled victoriously. "Umm, do we another sword that I can use other than what I have?" she asked and looked around. Kiko held out hers, hilt first.
"Thank you," said Layven as she accepted the sword and held them in front of her. Kiko bowed her head and watched with interest. The one she picked up off the bench felt off to her, so she would have to deal with that during the bout. She walked past her brother and toward the center of the room, Takeyu watched her and followed.
"No, how do you want to do this?" asked Takeyu as he kept his eye on her. Layven stood there for a moment, then smiled. She pulled her first sword out then tossed the scabbard at Takeyu, which he caught with his free hand, before bring his sword down to defend against Layven's attack.
Takeyu pushed against her blade, but Layven pushed back, before backing off and pulling her other sword out. She didn't grab the scabbard this time, instead keeping it where she had it before rushing toward him and swinging ahead. Takeyu used the scabbard she had thrown at him and blocked one sword, but then Layven came at him from a lower angle and almost got him had he not side-stepped out of the way, causing the blade to miss him entirely. From here, Takeyu could've grabbed her but he didn't want to risk injuring her, so instead he pushed her away with the scabbard, as Layven stumbled backwards a bit before regaining her composure.
"Now that was mean, pushing me like that," Layven pouted as she glared sideways at the wall before looking back at her brother who shrugged his shoulders.
She watched him for a moment, then saw something that she could use. The bigger they are...
she giggled which made Takeyu blinked for a moment. She rushed him again and then tossed her other scabbard at him, this one mised and clattered across the floor, landing under the bench just a few feet from Kumiko. Takeyu's attention was taken for that brief moment, and Layven used it to get right up to him and smack his sword hand with her blade, then she grabbed one of his legs and yanked on it, causing him to fall flat on his back.
Kumiko snorted, trying not to laugh out loud at her crewmate's misfortune. "What happened to not exerting yourself, Layven-san?"
Layven shrugged. "It's my own brother, can't take it easy on him," she said with a smile.
"Obviously," said Takeyu as he picked himself up.
"Well, I don't know about that. And for the record, you strain and hurt yourself, and I'll carry you over my shoulder to the hospital, whether you approve or not." Kumiko gave Layven 'the look', but was still trying not to laugh, which probably degraded it's effectiveness.
"I'll be fine," said Layven with a dismissive hand, she did however have a pained expression on her face which she tried very hard to hide. Takeyu didn't notice it.
She gripped her sword tightly, and said. "Shall we go for another?"
"Actually, are we ready for a new form, sir?" Kiko asked quietly. She had seen Layven's expression, but she didn't want her to get into trouble.
"We could, though," he checked the time. "It is beginning to get late, may want to call it a night," he suggested. "We could always train on the Eucharis during down time."
"As you say, sir," Kiko said. "Layven-san, what hurts?"
Kumiko nodded. "I'm fine with that as well, though I suspect that with your current run of luck, we may not get much time to ourselves." She glanced at Kiko, then back to Takeyu. "Especially the two of us, with as much damage as we've been taking of late."
Layven blinked and looked around, somewhat startled for some reason. "W-w-what was that?" she asked more to herself than anyone else.
"Telepathy, Layven-san," Kiko said patiently. "It's used to speak privately, so you may want to invent something innocuous for me to have wanted to say to you privately."
"How.... does it work?" she curiously asked and looked over at Kiko.
She sent over basic instructions in telepathy, hoping that her Yamataian body would use it similarly enough for them to be helpful.
Kumiko cocked an eye at Kiko and Layven, ruling out the possibility of Takeyu, since he probably would've just said it out loud (or at least explain it beforehand). She wasn't sure what was being discussed, but wanted in on it, since she guessed it was a joke about something.
Layven thought for a little bit, taking in what Kiko said. "Umm... l-like this?""Correct. Now, please tell me what was causing you pain earlier,"
Kiko replied."I-it's nothing, I'm fine really"
, she sent with a weary smile. This time Takeyu was getting curious, pondering what was going on. "Nothing I can help you with? If it is something that gets worse and you leave it untreated, you will worry your brother more than if you were to tell him about it now,"
the Neko pointed out.
Layven looked away and looked down at her swordhand. Now Takeyu realized what was going on, as he watched her he walked over and placed his hand on hers. "Show me," he asked.
The girl blinked, and loosened her grip on the sword, which caused it to clatter onto the ground. Through her bandages was red splotches. "I see you took your meds like the doctor told you," said Takeyu, though he could tell that Layven was a bit shaky.
'The look' was back on Kumiko's face, but this time she wasn't trying not to laugh. "Didn't I tell you not to push yourself that hard? It's going to take longer to heal the more you bust it open like that."
She didn't say a word, an expression of shame on her face.
"My apologies," Kiko said stiffly. "I should have found a way to fix this without you finding out."
"I would've found out anyway," said Takeyu as he held Layven's hand in his own. "Considering that it looks like the stitches beneath have broken open," he added as Layven winced from the pain.
Kumiko smiled evilly. "Does that mean I get to throw her over my shoulder and carry her to the doctor? I think it does."
Layven looked scared now at what Kumiko said. "I-I don't need to be carried, I-I'm not a child ya know!"
"Says the child," Takeyu grinned. Layven glared at him before looking away, pouting. "If you want to carry her to the medical center I suppose that's fine, just not over your shoulder of course," he said with Layven looking back at him with a look of embarassment.
After a moment, Kiko softly said, "May I walk her there normally instead, please?"
Kumiko grinned. "Nah, don't worry about it. I'm just kidding." She paused, a thoughtful look on her face. "Mostly, at least."
Layven nervously laughed. "That should be fine then," said Takeyu in response to Kiko's question. "Want to come Kumiko?" he asked.
Kumiko shrugged. "Sure. I'm not up to anything, and who knows? Maybe she'll give me an excuse to carry her on the way." She winked at Layven, letting her know she was kidding. Mostly.
He smiled. "In that case, let's get going, the sooner we get there, the sooner the doctor can tend to your hand," he said and Layven slowly nodded her head, still a bit ashamed as they started for the door to leave, along the way Takeyu picked up the broken practice blades. "Gotta get these replaced," he muttered.END