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A Push in the Right Direction [Training]

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#1Tomoe Tanaka 

A Push in the Right Direction [Training] Empty Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:39 am

Tomoe Tanaka
Tomoe awoke in a cold sweat from his bed. The nights were cooling down from Summer once again, and that made itself perfectly clear with the downpour outside. The windows in his room, an inn room in Hosenka that would expire at 6:30 AM sharp, were thoroughly closed. Despite this, somehow the air in the room was still damp and he could even see patches of wet around the window sill. How odd was that? After taking in his surroundings in the dark room that he could see through with perfect clarity, he began to calm down.

His heart was beating out of its chest, but as a minute passed with his mind firmly in reality, it returned to normal. This was further aided by the wooden metronome that ticked back and forth in rhythmic perfection. It would make its clicking noise sixty times every minute, which to some might get grating or repetitive, but to the Joyan it was ideal. The little bauble was something that grounded him in reality and kept him there, whether that be during sword practice or otherwise. It kept him to a beat, and that kept his thoughts and movements consistent and confident. At the same time, it also lulled him into a trance when he needed time to relax. Some swordsmen of Joya would train and meditate under waterfalls, but Tomoe often preferred the simplicity of the small wooden trinket.

“Alright, that's enough.”, Tomoe muttered as he stumbled to the other side of his bed and stopped the metronome's rhythm entirely, bringing the room to silence.

Well, silence other than the rain soaking the world outside and tapping against the window, and the vague and distant noises of patrons at the bar downstairs. The floors truly were paper thin when it came to noise prevention... had nobody ever considered these things? Ah, well, such was life.

He didn't know how much time had passed since he'd fallen asleep, but he knew that things would only get worse if he tried to go back to sleep. With how he woke up, there was definitely some kind of dream he'd been fearful of, but he couldn't begin to imagine what. Could it have been the carnage in Astera? Or perhaps it was abandoning Fairy Tail. A replay of his death, maybe. All of those and more were possibilities, and none of them he felt like exploring right now.

Black Hole: 401/600 (70% reduced; Int + event)
White Hole: 0/600 (70% reduced; Int + event)
Lesser Meteor 0/300 (70% reduced; Int + event)
Lesser Comet: 0/300 (70% reduced; Int + event)

#2Tomoe Tanaka 

A Push in the Right Direction [Training] Empty Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:42 am

Tomoe Tanaka
Instead, Tomoe made his way to the window that still had fresh drops of rain on the inside of the sill somehow. Pushing aside one half of the curtains and peering outside, he was met with as dull and dreary of a night as he expected. A storm raged outside, lacking only thunder and lightning to complete the sky symphony that Fiore was being subjected to.

“Well, guess there's nothing else to it.”

Opening the window to allow the storm to enter into and invade the room, Tomoe wasted no time in going against it. One leg in front of the other, the swordsman looked down at the streets outside the inn. A strange feeling surged through him in that moment, as if mana were being used, but he ignored it and jumped out the window. On the way down from the fall to the streets below, he would click his heels together. At first, nothing happened. But then, with a surge of mana as he nearly met the pavement, a gold glow surrounded his body for a brief moment. During this time, it seemed as if he was controlling his own fall, and slowed to a non-painful landing on solid ground below.

He hadn't gained full control over Meteor yet, but he would learn that in time of course. How he even knew the spell was called 'Meteor' was still a mystery to him, but not one he really questioned either for the moment. SHE had told him all that he needed to know, so undoubtedly HER knowledge would also pass into him as time went on; that was the simple truth of it, and nothing more could be said of the matter for now. He didn't need to worry about anything he kept in his room, nor did he need to say goodbye to anybody in the inn before departing; in the end, he kept everything he needed for traveling purposes within his pocket dimension ring. He was going to get kicked out anyway, so he'd be taking an early leave.

Black Hole: 600/600 (70% reduced; Int + event) Trained!
White Hole: 137/600 (70% reduced; Int + event)
Lesser Meteor 0/300 (70% reduced; Int + event)
Lesser Comet: 0/300 (70% reduced; Int + event)

#3Tomoe Tanaka 

A Push in the Right Direction [Training] Empty Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:46 am

Tomoe Tanaka
As he began walking towards the outskirts of the town to find a suitable place to begin casting his spells, however, he stopped in his tracks as the rain stopped its assault. All the lights in the houses around him went out simultaneously. The only lights were from dimming street lamps that dotted up and down the road. He was almost out of town, but he didn't continue walking. Not yet. Something was off. His eyes, still able to see in the dark, scanned back and forth for anything strange. Looking in front in the direction he was originally heading he found nothing, but reacted quickly upon turning around.

In an instant, Tomoe dashed to the side, nearly slamming himself into a building's wall on the right side of the street. A blast of dark magic soared forward, almost hitting him and continuing down the street until it faded after reaching its maximum range. That wasn't all, however, as the source of the magic closed in on Tomoe quickly: a cloaked figure with a jagged-looking dagger dashed at him, keeping on the offensive and near the wall. Tomoe would weave around the dagger hits, narrowly avoiding being stabbed.

The shrouded assailant mixed in a roundhouse kick during his dagger dance, hitting the Joyan in the left side of his stomach, the force sending him slamming into the wall. In some strange kind of trance almost, Tomoe felt himself reacting slower to melee combat than normal. Rather than being a beast running on instinct, he felt like a sloth moving through molasses. Giving no time for the swordless swordsman to process the kick, the hooded individual delivered a second kick to Tomoe's center, sending him backwards.

Tumbling away, the Joyan's annoyance overpowered whatever kind of mental hold was on him. His eyes blazed with anger as he landed on his feet after tumbling a good 5 meters away from his opponent. The cloaked man was charging some kind of immense mass of darkness in his free left hand, about to send it hurtling towards Tomoe. The Joyan's eyes sparked, and for a moment, stars began to glow brightly in the night sky above as well. He knew what he had to do to counter this darkness mage and his annoying attitude. He knew, because he felt a hand gently grip his shoulder from behind before fading. Without looking back, he knew that SHE was on his side.

“Black Hole.”, Tomoe muttered as he outstretched his right hand with defiance.

As the darkness mage finished casting their spell and tossing a writhing clump of darkness towards Tomoe, the Joyan responded in kind with the completion of his own spell. Just before impact, a dark void expanded outward in front of Tomoe. The offensive magic was absorbed inside the void, being swallowed into some other kind of dimension. In shock, the hooded figure took a step back in hesitation as Tomoe repositioned himself to maintain more stable footing. The casting of Black Hole was as natural as breathing, and it was obvious why. He didn't even need to know what was next. In the time between breaths where the cloaked caster stood in surprise at the vanished spell, Tomoe acted. With his hand raised once again in the same way towards his opponent, the Joyan just needed to open the void the opposite way. It was an odd feeling, not unlike trying to turn the key to unlock a door but twisting it the wrong way; only in this case, the door did indeed unlock no matter which way one turned it.

“White Hole!”

As if inverting in on itself, what could only be described as a white void ripped open right in front of the crimson cutthroat's hand. A blast of light erupted from the void and hurtled towards the dark mage, frozen as if stuck in time as the void blast alternated between light and darkness – it had absorbed the properties of the spell that Black Hole had absorbed, combined it with its own properties as light magic, and shot the combined powers of light and dark back at the assailant.

White Hole: 600/600 (70% reduced; Int + event) Trained!
Lesser Meteor 223/300 (70% reduced; Int + event)
Lesser Comet: 0/300 (70% reduced; Int + event)

#4Tomoe Tanaka 

A Push in the Right Direction [Training] Empty Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:49 am

Tomoe Tanaka
It impacted the dark mage and sent them crashing into the pavement, leaving a trail of broken bricks behind them as they stopped moving. Whatever the White Hole had done, it almost seemed as if it had brought some manner of light back to the streets. The street lamps that were dimming suddenly recharged as if newly sparked, and the lights in nearby houses began to turn back on. Was it due to White Hole?

“No, probably not.”, Tomoe muttered; despite being an amateur in magic, even he knew that casually draining all light from a city wasn't something any normal mage could manage.

No, it was more likely that the darkness mage had drained the light away, and it had come back with their defeat. It was such an obvious concept, Tomoe admittedly felt a little dumber for having not immediately caught on to such a thing. Regardless, battle was still on his mind. He knew better than to assume that the fight was over after one hit. Moving forward, Tomoe poured mana into his pocket dimension ring to equip his gear, and then stopped in his tracks suddenly.

“What the hell...?”

Normally this was the part where his gear would appear all at once in a magical light, but it turned out that the item would simply not do its job. No armor, nor cloak, nor sword would appear. Instead, Tomoe continued to stay in his casual attire without a single combat tool to be found on his person. That moment of confusion was all that was needed. In a single moment of the Joyan's hesitation, the cloaked figure raised their pointer finger towards Tomoe and blasted forth a sphere of dark energy.

That single moment of uncertainty was all it took, as the blast impacted Tomoe in the stomach and winded him temporarily, more out of shock than pain; he had endured worse and kept going, but he had no idea what was happening to his ring. More than that, to himself. He felt sluggish and slow to think, like he'd had way too much to drink. He hadn't, had he? Was he so drunk that he had no concept of time or memory? No. No, that was an absurd thought.

As the cloaked caster rose to their feet and made off in the opposite direction of the stunned Tomoe, the swordless swordsman maintained his footing through willpower to keep the bastard from getting away. He knew he hadn't yet mastered Meteor, but he needed to try. Maybe with less output he could attempt a less powerful version...? It was worth a shot, because the unknown mage was gaining ground quickly in a mad dash. A mad, yet wounded dash. Tomoe clicked his heels together and used less mana than SHE would have told him to use. Tilting his body ever so slightly forward afterwards, he was surrounded in a golden light and shot forth like a bullet. He was injured, but his magic wouldn't allow him to slow down despite that.

Lesser Meteor 300/300 (70% reduced; Int + event) Trained!
Lesser Comet: 300/300 (70% reduced; Int + event) Trained!

#5Tomoe Tanaka 

A Push in the Right Direction [Training] Empty Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:51 am

Tomoe Tanaka
It was only a matter of time before the shooting star reached its destination, Tomoe raising a fist and drilling into the cloak's fleeing back. An impact even harder than the White Hole sent the shady figure crumpled into the side of a building, leaving notable cracks behind on the wall as they bounced off it and to the ground. The dark mage's cloak was tattered beyond repair, and ripped off entirely as they struggled to stand, finally showing their... no, his face.

In front of Tomoe was... Tomoe. Granted, this other Tomoe was scarred, tattooed, and held a gaze that possessed no sense of self or emotion. Raising his injured body like a puppet on strings, the dark Tomoe raised his hand to prepare another spell to attack with.

The real Tomoe had no time to think. The weaker version of Meteor had run out in his stunned surprise, and he had no ranged options at the moment. But his body was still reeling and tired from the earlier exchanges, so he also couldn't muster the power to dash forward or dash to avoid just yet. Instinctually, he took a step back, and then felt a push forward. Faint, but HER presence lingered.

“Do your best.”, SHE would say with an encouraging voice before disappearing.

A light trail surrounded Tomoe and propelled him towards his enemy – himself. Despite sharing the same face, one that wasn't naturally his in the first place, he had no hesitation; that wasn't the real him, and he had to be eradicated. With an open hand, Tomoe grabbed his fake copy's face just before he could finish casting his next dark curses, and then slammed the clone into the building wall that had previously been cracked on the last impact. It wasn't enough to stop the clone's struggle, so Tomoe slammed him into the wall again. Then again. Then again.

“Die, you fucker! Die!, Tomoe shouted in desperation between labored breaths, smashing his copy's head into fine reddened paste against the wall, the structure finally collapsing and sending the doppelganger's mangled and lifeless corpse inside the building.

#6Tomoe Tanaka 

A Push in the Right Direction [Training] Empty Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:53 am

Tomoe Tanaka
With nothing but red stains all over the surrounding area, the crimson cutthroat picked himself back up, only to stumble a few feet backwards and stand to look at the scene with widened eyes.

“That is who you would be if you had kept on your path. That puppet there would have been you, and his death? Your ultimate end. Choosing free will was wise, because I know you will follow the right path no matter what it takes. You'll always do what's right, won't you?”

The voice was sultry and sweet, and the most motivational voice he had ever heard. The woman's voice was so close, and yet he knew he would never be able to reach HER true self; not yet, anyway. He wasn't worth that much, not as he was now. Between Aegis' dream and HER desire for a better and more wonderful world... which was the correct choice? Tomoe thought he'd left the path of a cultist behind him, but after experiencing... whatever this was... could he be so sure of himself now? Was heroism his true calling, in his heart of hearts?

“I will. I'll... do what's right. Once I know what that means, I swear I'll do what's right.”, Tomoe finally responded with what could only be described as uncertain resolve, not looking at HER presence right behind him, knowing he couldn't see HER despite how badly he wanted to; instead, his gaze was downcast as rain began to pour down once again.

It was then that Tomoe woke up. He was in bed, in aching pain and covered in bandages around his torso and legs. “What the fuck?”, Tomoe mumbled as he wiped sleep from his eyes and scanned his surroundings.

It was daytime outside, the sun out and the sounds of a bustling city at work outside on the streets below. After a few minutes, a young woman came into the room with a tray of food and drink, who looked relieved upon making eye contact with Tomoe. Setting the food down on a coffee table by the bed, she pulled up a chair to make sure he was okay.

“You took a nasty fall, mister. We found you just outside the building, unconscious and wounded. Seems to us like you... er... fell out the window, or something?”, the woman went on, rambling about how they had found his body, patched him up, and allowed him to stay with a debt to pay for an extended stay and medical treatment once he awoke.

Tomoe rubbed the back of his head, which was of course in so much pain that he felt like he'd split in two. With a laugh, the Joyan sighed in relief. All a dream. His fight, interactions with HER, and the spells he had used? All his imagination. Of course, it could never be like that, could it? There was no way anything that crazy could ever really, truly happen.

#7Tomoe Tanaka 

A Push in the Right Direction [Training] Empty Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:56 am

Tomoe Tanaka
“Thanks for your help, miss. I'm sorry to trouble all of ya like this, and I'll be out of your hair soon. Bills paid in full, of course!”, Tomoe laughed heartily, relieved that he hadn't actually undergone some kind of existential crisis and that it was all in his head.

The woman nodded and bowed. “Well, I'd better get back to work. Lots of other patrons need to be checked in on about their overnight bills too, so I'll need to get to it.”

As the woman left and Tomoe settled back into bed to let a few more hours of rest pass him by before leaving, she stopped and turned on her heel one last time. “Oh, and will the woman you brought in with you be coming back or should we be expecting just you to be staying here?”

Tomoe's eyes, which were closing for a few more hours of sleep, shot awake as he turned to look at the woman. His gaze was one of confusion, and he lifted a brow to express such. The woman clapped her hands together and elaborated. “Oh, you must not remember then. Maybe you hit your head too hard? Yeah, you were sharing the room last night with a woman? We never got her name on the sign-in sheet, but she was definitely here. She left shortly after we found you to go get medical supplies and never came back, so we were wondering if maybe you'd know where she would have gone that would take so long?”

If there was a face that personified 'stunned silent', it would be Tomoe's face at that moment. He could feel a bead of sweat begin to form on his brow, looking away from the woman for a moment to try to compose himself. Looking back, he shook his head. “No, I... I don't think she'll be comin' back any time soon.”

The woman would nod in response, acknowledging his answer. “Strange one, she was. She requested that we keep the window open, said you really liked it when a storm was raging so hard that the rain would leak in and drench the window sill? Really odd. Anyway, you get some rest and someone will be by to give you your bills in a while!”

At that, she closed the door, leaving the crimson cutthroat in shock. There was no way, right? How would he even forget something like that? Had he lost his mind, or the world? There couldn't be anything to it, but... there was no way some random inn employee would lie to him, either. Tomoe wouldn't acknowledge any of it even by thinking it. Despite this, his body told a well enough tale on its own.

His flow of mana had improved, and he could feel as if he could replicate the spells he performed in his 'dream' with ease if he put himself to the task. Seemingly overnight he had gained a noticeable improvement to the control of his magic somehow. Perhaps that was enough for now, and he should count his blessings. He was alive, and despite his injuries, feeling stronger than ever. Durable as he was, he'd make a quick recovery and get back out into his adventures - or rather misadventures, as of late - before long. Truthfully, he was feeling more unstoppable than ever before, for some reason!

Still, he couldn't help but wonder. The feeling of the push from behind that SHE gave him as he dashed towards his fake self to splatter him against a wall... it felt familiar to the feeling he felt as he prepared to jump out the window last night.

A simple push that accomplished so much.

- EXIT -

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