Sepia No Hi By Crystallic Star

A:N I finally got off my lazy butt and wrote this...

Chapter 5: Challenge of Strength, Akio vs. Yoshii

WHOOSH!

Akio swung her staff around. She had been practicing staff fighting her whole life. But at this time in her life, she didn't get to do it as much as she used to. Staff fighting was on sport she actually enjoyed. Her staff wasn't magical, but was a normal one. Violet in color.

"Nonononononono!" She heard Mako shout.

She turned to see Mako trying to get Z-chan to stack blocks. Z-chan just kept staring at the blocks(Or attempting to throw them at Mako), and Mako was trying to get him to stack them.

Akio giggled just watching the amusing sight. Stopping for a while, Akio walked over to the duo.

"A! A! A!" Z-chan squealed, instantly lunching himself at the sage.

"What's going on, munchkin?" Akio asked, ruffling his hair in an affectionate manner. Z-chan turned and blew a raspberry at Mako.

Akio then pecked Mako on the cheek, and watched him turn a bright red. Mako tried to put on a mocking face while looking at a horrified Z-chan, but failed miserably. He was only able to smile goofily. Akio just giggled.

Z-chan pouted and crossed his arms, giving Mako a glare.

"Don't worry. That doesn't mean I lo-Uh...I mean like more then you." Akio told him.

"C-come on, Z-chan. Let's leave Akio to her practicing. It's your naptime." Mako stuttered.

"No, it isn-" Z-chan was cut off as Mako hauled him into the house.

After closing the door, Mako sighed as he leaned against it.

"Why did you do that?" Z-chan demanded," don't you like A?"

"It's just- it's just...I couldn't stop blushing and she might be able to find out." Mako tried to explain," and I didn't have a smart remark at the moment, and a whole lot of reasons!"

"But-" Z-chan's protest was cut off.

"Come on, Z-chan. Naptime!" Mako chirped.

'I swear she enjoys making me blush.' Mako thought to himself.

~~*~~

Akio sighed and went back to her training. She didn't have any clue(Even though there are actually plenty, but Akio doesn't know anything about human emotions) what was going on with Mako lately. But she hoped he would tell her. And every time she DID ask and try to get something from him, he just started stammering and blushing. He looked like a glow in the dark tomato!

Somewhere along her thoughts, she sensed something at the edge of her senses. Something that was right behind her.

Pausing for a moment, she tried to figure who or what it was. When she didn't get anything, she whirled around on the person and swung her staff...only the person caught her hands in mid-swing.

Blinking rapidly in surprise, she stared into dark brown eyes. For a long moment, she couldn't register who it was. And then it hit her like a ton of bricks.

"Yoshii!" She hissed, backing away from him. Taking a fighting stance, she eyed him warily.

"Is that how you treat an old friend who just wants to have tea with you?" Yoshii asked, faking hurt.

"T-tea?" Akio stuttered then sighed," Yoshii, yoshii, yoshii...How you do surprise me at times..."

"That's my name and don't wear it out!" Yoshii chirped.

"That's actually very out of character for you to say that." Akio pointed out.

"Yes...but I'm on the side of...Alright, I can't tell if it's good or evil at the moment. Let's just say it's near evil or is evil..." Yoshii tried to explain.

"Still not too bright?" Akio asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Hey! I planned a perfect plan on getting Z-chan to use his powers! You, of all people, should be awed and grateful." Yoshii fought back.

"Planned it all on an unusual burst of a good plan, ne?"

"Actually, yeah. Now about the tea...?"

~~*~~

"I got to say, Yoshii...you always did surprise me." Akio told him, taking a sip of her tea. They were on the balcony of her house, overlooking the gardens.

"Kind of like old times."

"Kind of...since old times consisted of a chessboard and a temper tantrum." Akio chuckled at her joke.

"That wasn't funny..." Yoshii muttered darkly.

"So, what brings you to your enemy's home?" Akio asked.

"A challenge. A challenge of strength." Yoshii said," I arrived to see you training in staff fighting. Perhaps a challenge in that?"

"You've got a deal!" Akio cried before adding," And it better not involve some life risking thing in it..."

"It doesn't. It's simply a little...'test'." Yoshii said.

"Set the time and date." Akio said calmly.

"All right then. Tomorrow at afternoon. During Z-chan's nap, that is. Don't want him shooting me." Yoshii chuckled at his own little joke.

"I have two remarks for that. #1: Awww...you know when Z-chan's naptime is...does that mean you've been studying children? I can just imagine you as a father. And #2: That was just a poor excuse for a joke. It's probably your evil taste of jokes. I just don't get you evil people." Akio said.

"And I see after one and a half years, you've still got that quick mouth of yours." Yoshii grumbled.

"And for you, you're still as evil-minded as ever. But now, you've actually gotten good at planning." Akio commented.

"That's it! I'm leaving!" Yoshii shouted and disappeared in a puff of yellow smoke.

"And ironically, his name means goodness..."

~~*~~

"For you." Mako said, handing Akio a pink bag with a white bow on it. It contained jellybeans...

"What are these things?" Akio asked, eyeing the jellybeans Mako had given her.

"They're called jellybeans. They're kinda rare to find now a day." Mako explained.

Akio unwrapped the ribbon and stared at the contents with a confused expression.

"They're actually really good to eat." Mako explained further," Sweet."

"To eat? Oh! I thought they were some magical beans or something..." Akio said, looking at the jellybeans in a new light.

Mako chuckled.

"A! A! A! A!" They both turned to see Z-chan running into the room, waving his arms. He looked a bit frightened.

Akio quickly glanced at the clock to see it was near afternoon.

"Big scary guy in backyard!" Z-chan shrieked.

"Could it be-?" Mako started before Akio shoved the jellybeans into his hands.

"It's nap-time for Z-chan!" Akio chirped, in an out of character manner before whispering to Mako," You have to get him to sleep."

And with that, she ran out.

~~*~~

Once she had found her staff, she had ran out into the yard. She spotted Yoshii right away and stalked over to him. He was holding a dark green staff.

"You're early." She told him.

"I couldn't wait. I hope I didn't interrupt anything." Yoshii said.

"I'll make the rules. Since you're evil and my enemy at the moment." Akio said, a bit nonchalantly.

"Fine then. I couldn't possible be trusted, ne?"

"First of all, no magic using or anything. Second, no cheating! Thirdly, no unfair hits. And lastly, follow these rules."

"Fair enough. Now lets start." Yoshii said, taking a stance.

"A!"

"Akio! What are you doing?"

Both hunter and sage turned to see Mako and Z-chan walking up to them.

"Please don't interrupt." Akio pleaded.

"But why? And what's happening?!" Mako demanded.

"It's a simple test of strength." Yoshii explained.

"Bad guy!" Z-chan shouted, pointing at Yoshii.

"He's very bright, isn't he?" Akio asked Yoshii.

"Does putting up a shield to keep them from interfering break the rules?" Yoshii asked.

"No."

"Good then."

That's when a barrier wall appeared around Akio and Yoshii.

"What are you thinking Akio?! You'll get hurt!" Mako yelled.

"A!"

"I can take care of myself in a battle." Akio told them, her eyes never leaving her opponent," And besides, it's not a battle to the death. Just until on of us gets hurt enough and retreats."

"But!" Mako growled in irritation. He knew Akio too well, and he knew she was too stubborn to listen to him. Akio was an expert staff fighter, but he still worried for her.

Yoshii ran at Akio and swung, Akio blocked. Akio swung at Yoshii, he dodged. Akio swung again, her staff met his. They pushed against their weapons, hoping one of them wasn't as strong. Then they broke away.

Taking a quick breather, Akio tried to use an old trick she knew at Yoshii. She attempted to hit his legs, he jumped, and that's when she swung at his legs again, knocking him to the ground. But he quickly rolled out of the way as she attempted to hit him in the stomach.

'Damn.' Akio thought, trying to get hit his stomach again, but he rolled away.

He swung at her legs, direct hit. Akio clenched her teeth, and tried to swing at him. Direct hit. Yoshii shook his head to get rid of the buzzing.

They both backed away from each other. Both haven't even broken a sweat yet, but knew they would have bruises by the next day.

"You're good."

"Probably the best."

Staff met staff as Akio and Yoshii pressed against each other then backed away. Then it was swing after swing, block after block, and dodge after dodge. In around five minutes, they were only beginning to tire and had battered knuckles.

Akio took a deep breath, trying to get some air in her lungs. She was really sweating and he temperature was rising. She could it was the same thing for Yoshii.

"Perhaps I've finally met my match." Akio told him.

"Likewise." Yoshii said with a smirk.

"Should we stop at that?"

"I think not...We can still go on."

Akio charged at Yoshii, he dodged. He swung, she blocked. And it went on for another ten minutes. At last, when Yoshii swung at Akio's back, she whirled around and swung at him. His staff hit her shoulder and she yelped. Her staff hit his thigh and he grunted.

They stood like that for some time, trying to catch their breaths. And after a few seconds, Akio started to giggle at their current situation, Yoshii soon following. And in a minute they were laughing.

Outside the barrier, Z-chan and Mako blinked rapidly and stared in confusion. They thought that the battle would end with one of them on the ground, not both of them on the ground LAUGHING.

"You know...I can't seem to understand these people..." Mako told Z-chan," I mean, Akio is mystery, but when put together with that guy...it's like trying to solve a hundred piece puzzle with only three pieces."

Yoshii was the first to calm down, and cleared his throat. Akio abruptly stopped giggling.

"That was too much like our first fight." Yoshii said.

"Deja vu, ne? And we were only 14 at the time. Who would have thought that battle would repeat itself?" Akio asked, smiling slightly.

"Then...it ends in a draw." Yoshii said.

"We can still go on." Akio told him.

"I don't feel like it." Yoshii answered.

"Eh...me neither..." Akio confessed.

"Next time we meet, the battle will be much more serious." Yoshii told her.

"Until then we will meet each other again."

After that being said, Yoshii disappeared. The barrier wall vanished.

Akio collapsed to her knees as Mako and Z-chan rushed up to her.

"I thought he would never leave." Akio whined to Mako and Z-chan

"That probably wore you out." Mako told her.

"A all right?" Z-chan asked worriedly.

"Yep." Akio said, trying to stifle a yawn," I can barely stand."

Akio finally yawned and totally collapsed to the ground," I just...need...some rest..."

"A! A! A!" Z-chan cried to totally out girl.

"We should get her to the house and unto her bed." Mako told Z-chan as he picked up the sleeping sage.

"A be all right?" Z-chan asked.

"Of course she will. You saw how she did in that fight, of course she will...she has to be..." Mako whispered the last part.

~~*~~

"I thought I would never get away...I thought it would just be a simple hit on the head and that would be it..." Yoshii told himself as he collapsed on the marble floor.

"Master? What were you thinking?" Yami asked, scolding the mage/hunter.

"I was thinking of hurting Akio's pride. But apparently, that's not going to happen." Yoshii said, looking up at the dream manipulator.

"Her pride?" Yami asked.

"I knew her for a quite a while, and she has enough pride to fill a hot air balloon." Yoshii answered.

"Like you, huh?" Yami said, chuckling.

"That's not funny. Now if you would be kind enough to take me up to my room, since I don't feel up to doing it at the moment..." Yoshii said in annoyed manner.

As Yoshii was carried up to his room he whispered to himself," This sucks..."

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