CHAPTER FIVE

Shadows of the Past

Owen and Jackson look upwards as the mechanical being hangs above them, motionless. Without so much as a warning beep, it fires a large burst of flames from the rocket sockets in its hands. Jackson and Owen both jump out of the way at the same time, and the flames stop.

'Hey, that was aimed at me, what gives?' Owen wonders aloud, 'Am I your favourite?'

Owen flies up into the air and hangs in front of it, looking the metallic monster in its face. It tries to throw a punch, but Owen flies backward.

'I knew this would be hard…' Owen sighs, 'Keeping concentration on your energy to fly while trying to use it to fight is like-' Owen dodges another attempted blow, '-trying to pat your head and-' This time the machine launches itself forward with the blow, catching Anderson enough that it breaks his concentration, causing him to fall to the floor.

Just as soon as Owen lands on the floor, a blast hits the machine in the back. The machine uses its rockets to steady itself and turn around to face Jackson, the man who fired it.

'I knew it.' He says, and then turns to Owen, 'He can only concentrate on one fighter at a time. It's like he has to lock-on to them. If we fight him at the same time but from different places, he should only be able to dodge one.'

Hughes jumps backward to avoid another wall of flames, this time directed at him.

'Hell, it's worth a try.' Owen replies from the other side of the burning ground.

A smirk appears on the observer of the fight, Alistair Knight III.

'It seems they've figured out a weakness. Your plan is going to fail, Ms. Volkov.'

The female scientist looks angry, 'Yes… seems like it.'

'Ha. Fool, a machine fighter that can't handle more than one opponent? And didn't you say this was Series 700?' Alistair laughs.

'Oh? You laugh? Have you tried to build a semi-sentient fighting machine before?'

Alistair continues to laugh.

'That's it!' Volkov pulls a small device from her lab coat. It's not unlike a gun, though with its large barrel and flashing buttons, it looks more like something out of a cheesy sci-fi film from the 60s. Alistair stops laughing.

'It's true that my information told me you only had one bodyguard, so I took an unfinished prototype with me. But I can still accomplish my mission.'

Anastasia fires a large blast of energy from the gun, but it bounces off a green dome of energy that suddenly surrounds her target.

'What the…?' the scientist wonders.

'It's a perfect defence barrier. My grandfather invented it. It's called "The Knight's Cloak". It's such a strong barrier that I can't attack you, but you can't attack me. My grandfather could make it appear and disappear almost instantly, which made him a war hero. Me? I can keep it up for a while, but it takes some time to set it up. Lucky I don't want to fight, no?'

Volkov looks furious. She then turns around to see Owen and Jackson either side of her machine, which is turning its head from side to side, being unable to decide which is the bigger threat. The two bodyguards put their palms in from of themselves and start charging energy. Anastasia Volkov is a woman of great knowledge, but even a simpleton could see her plan had failed. She runs off into the distance as Jackson and Owen's blasts meet in the middle of the sky, followed quickly by an explosion and a rain of metal and electronics.

Jayden and Goto are walking back to the dojo, Jayden figuratively licking his wounds.

'That's one dangerous opponent you've found.' Goto says, with a smile.

'Yeah…'

'Are you going to tell me why you hate each other so much now?'

'I… No. Not yet.'

Goto walks ahead a few steps, and then stops right in front of his young student.

'I'm afraid you are. That man took out both of my students in one day, as your teacher I demand to know why this has happened, and whether or not you're worth the effort.'

Jayden looks annoyed, but then gives up with a sigh. He sits down on some steps that lead down to the path where they stood.

'Fine.' Jayden says, 'I'll tell you.'

Goto sits down next to him.

'Growing up it was just me and my mum. We weren't well off, but she managed to support me enough that I could go to school. I was a bit of a trouble maker… jealousy, I suppose, that so many other people had it better than me. Then one day, when I was about 12, my Mum passed away. Accidental overdose, apparently. Strangers started trying to take me here and there, but I refused. I wanted to stay in my house, where my mum … lived.'

'I'm sorry, Jayden…' Goto says, supportively.

'Yeah, well… thanks, but so were a lot of people, it didn't help. Eventually I just ran away from it all, ended up living on the streets. It was here where I met Vincent. He appeared when I tried to steal food and got caught. He tripped the market stool salesman and we ran off with several bits of fruit. He was three years older than me, and also had no parents, or so he told me. I guess I kind of looked up to him like an older brother. He said that I reminded him of a little brother he had left behind, so I guess it wasn't hard to see why we became such fast friends.

He was travelling from place to place, just drifting by. He was also well trained in fighting and energy projection, so he taught me some basics, mostly get-away stuff like flight. He always said that he was the one who will do the fighting, if necessary. Fast-forward to two years ago, and we had been everywhere… apart from Sarushima, for some reason. Anyway, he had this big idea where we could get rich and stop travelling, maybe open some sort of fighting dojo for the people who were homeless, like we were. All we needed, and these were his words, not mine, was to stop and steal from an armoured van that was taking funds to the nearby banks. I was worried, but he said not to worry and that he'd do any fighting that was needed.'

'What could go wrong, eh?' Goto says, sarcastically.

'Yeah… so, we stop the van, and Vincent starts fighting the guards. They're well trained, obviously, but they were having trouble with him. I was knocked backwards by a strong elbow when I tried to help him, but that just got him angrier. He saw me on the floor in pain and… well… he killed the guard that hit me. Then he killed the one of the other guards! It was horrible. I managed to talk him down from killing the last one, saying it wasn't necessary and that we could take the money. We drove off, silently. I couldn't believe that he was capable or willing to kill so easily. Suddenly we were surrounded by police; they used their energy to blast the wheels. Vincent was going to try and fight he way out, but there were too many of them, he realised that an attempt at violence would just get him killed. We were both arrested there and then.'

'Well, I don't know why you were ashamed of telling m-' Goto gets cut off.

'The worst was yet to come. In court… I was offered a reduced sentence if I backed up the surviving guard's claim that only Vincent actually killed anyone, and that it was his plot… and that I tried to stop him. I agreed. I got just two years, reduced by a month or so thanks to good behaviour. I ratted out my best friend… my only friend.'

'You told the truth. You did the right thing.'

'It doesn't feel like it.'

'So, when you got out, you wanted to learn how to fight, so you eventually travelled here, the one place you knew Vincent wouldn't come to based of his past actions.'

'Yep, that's it pretty much. Except while travelling across Saarland to get here I heard that there was a prison breakout in Britland, and that Vincent was among those that escaped. I knew he'd come looking for me, but I didn't think it would happen this quickly.'

'I guess you were so close that he knew you'd come here because he didn't want to. He then started checking training dojos… really, it's not that surprising.'

'Thanks… that makes me feel a lot better.'

'Ha, sorry. I didn't mean it like that. Thanks for confiding in me. Now let's get back to the dojo!'

Jayden smiles, knowing he still has a teacher, 'Right!'

The two begin walking down the street again, but Goto stops, catching a glimpse of a TV in a shop window. They both walk over too it and see Alistair Knight III and the caption "The final Obelisk of power to be found tomorrow?"

They both walk into the shop to get the sound with the picture. In the back of their heads, they knew this would be important…

'Mr. Knight, Mr. Knight!' an eager news reporter shouts as a news crew runs up to the delighted traveller.

'Yes?' Alistair replies, happy to be in front of a camera.

'Is it true that you're here in Choume to find the final Obelisk?'

'Is this going out live?'

'Yes sir.'

'Great! Yes, I'm here looking for a fabled final Obelisk. It shall be my crowning moment, the ultimate discovery!'

'Aren't you worried, Mr. Knight? They say Obelisks store power and discharge it to people, but if this has been sealed away…'

'Don't worry; I have all the necessary equipment. Plus, I mean you don't really think they have elemental and other powers, do you? I mean, do you really believe that the royal family of Straana have Ice powers thanks to the Obelisk in their palace grounds, do you? I mean, how many men have tried to prove that? I mean, what happens to them? Hmm?'

'Their bodies were found outside the palace gates, frozen to death.'

'Er… yes, well, as I said, I have all the equipment with me.'

'But Mr. Knight, don't you think that if ancient civilizations sealed it away, it must have some sort of evil power?'

'Look, we shall find out in due course. I'm not afraid of danger, for I am a member of the Knight family!'

'Mr. Knight-'

'No more questions.'

'Wait, Mr. Knight…'

'I see. Sounds like it would be interesting.' Vincent thinks to himself, watching a small TV in a clothes shop, putting on a new set of black clothes as the cashier cowers in fear.

'At the very least, I think Jayden will think the same.'

Vincent walks out of the shop, happy with himself.

Chris, Yui and her father watch the broadcast with interest. Yui looks at her father, who nods.

'They will be there.' Yui's father says, ominously.

Yui starts putting her sword around her back, and grabs her mask.

'Woah, woah, wait a minute.' Chris says, confused. 'Do you mind filling me in?'

'No time.' Yui replies, 'You heard that broadcast. The AFWP will undoubtedly be there. I need to ask… questions.'

'General Maximillian Schulz is not a man who can be trusted. It's something myself and Goto learned long ago. I have been trying to find out the AFWP's true aim for a while, this might give Yui a chance to find and question a higher ranking officer.'

'I see… well, sort of. I'll go too. I have regained quite a bit of energy, I should be able to keep up with you at least. Consider this half-way to paying back your kindness.'

Yui nods and the two set off. The old man smirks, 'Not to mention your friend and his enemy will undeniably be heading there as well… I'm not that foolish, you know.' He turns and heads back into his room.

A scared lady, holding a child, is looking out of a door. Her husband is leaving the house.

'Satsu, please, you don't have to do this. It's too dangerous!'

Satsu freezes in place, and turns around to look at his wife and recently born son.

'I have to. He's my brother, and he deserves to hear the truth. One way or another, I'm going to bring Kichirou back.'

Satsu walks over to them and give them both a kiss, and then walks away.

'Jayden, wait!' Master Goto shouts and Jayden starts walking in the opposite direction of the gym.

'No, he's going to be there. I can't let him have more power! Think of what that would mean, not just for me, but the whole world!'

'That's fine, I understand that. What I meant was, let me teach you something first. Come back to the gym, it won't take long.'

'I guess so. So long as it won't take too long. I doubt we're the only people who heard that message. Choume is going to be packed with fighters, so something bad is going to happen, one way or another.'