Tuesday, November 06, 2007,11:52 PM
Traveler ch. 28


28

“They’re coming” announced Kaoru, who had her ear stuck on the door.

“I told you that we should have waited ‘till night!” shouted Takahashi almost hysterically seeing that their escape wasn’t going to be more than a try.

“What a brave soldier you are...”

The lieutenant glared at Maki who had just made fun of her and was now walking towards the door. She put Kaoru aside and held the knob. It was locked but probably wouldn’t be a problem and they could even use it to get some advantage.

“Move backwards” ordered the bandit.

The other two girls, seeing what Goto had made to the doors of their cells before, weren’t going to question any other request from the older so, they stepped back and waited.

Maki waited too, leant against the door with her right hand holding the knob strongly, hearing every step that the guards were doing towards them.

“I’m telling you” she heard one of them saying while the key began to unlock the door “It’s impossi...”

Before he could end the sentence, the apparently harmless door hit him on the face, directly to his nose, and made him fall dragging the other man along with, too. The youngers couldn’t deny that Maki was smart. She had waited behind the door, knowing that the men would be unprepared and, the first moment that the door was unlocked, she pulled with all her strength and then push it against the soldiers with a sharp blow. Now they were on the floor, one half unconscious with his face covered with blood and the other trying to get up.

Kaoru and Ai-chan ran towards the door where Maki had kneeled already to disarm the broken-nose guard.

“Raise the alarm!” shouted the other guy still on the floor.

The bandit stood up without paying attention to the other man and threw the soldier’s sword to Ai-chan, who was quick on the uptake but didn’t know what to do with it.

“Why me?!” she asked to Maki.

“You’re a soldier, right?”

“And you a bandit” complained the younger “Do your job!”

“I can’t”

“Why?!”

Suddenly, she found another sword aiming directly towards her chest but, luckily, she was fast enough to stop it in time. The guard had already stood up and wasn’t going to let them go so easily.

“I promised that I wouldn’t hurt anyone, ok?” said Goto answering the Lieutenant question. She had leant against the door and was watching the fight with her arms crossed “Do you really think that I let those inepts capture me if it wasn’t that way?”

“But you knocked that guard!” replied Ai-chan that had began to sweat trying to repel her opponent’s attacks.

“Technicaly, the door did it”

Takahashi was so puzzled with that answer that she lost all her concentration for a moment, something that the guard seized to disarm her and throw the sword where she couldn’t reach it at the same time that three more guards came into the room.

If Maki was decided to not move a finger to do something, they were helpless.

But shomehow, when Takahashi was seeing herself again inside the cell, and this time with reason, a silhouette stood in the way between her and the guards waving the sword that she had lost seconds ago.

------------------------------

“Time to practice, little girl!”

“...early...” grumbled Kaoru under the sheets.

“Come on, sleeping beauty”

The sheets suddenly flew away from the bed, leaving a young woman wearing just a tank top and pants exposed to the look of her teacher.

“Goto-san!” exclaimed the younger trying to reach the sheets.

“Ayumi hasn’t woke up yet so, we have plenty of time to practice before breakfast” Maki throw a pair of jogging pants and left the room to let her pupil some privacy to change.

Kaoru was seventeen and she was living with Shibata since her mom died one and a half year ago because of an accident at the laboratory where she was working. Since then, she had never got time to be alone. Her mom’s family seemed to be disappeared before she was born and, since she never met her father, Ayumi, Ishikawa’s best friend from childhood and Kaoru’s godmother, took charge of her. After all, she had seen her grow up.

Then, there was Goto Maki. That woman always seemed to her a bit... odd. She visited her mom often, sometimes once a week, but hardly talked to Kaoru, as if she was trying to avoid the younger. Sometimes, she was convinced that Maki hated her or something. But then, there were those times when she caught the woman staring at her with a sad expression in her eyes. She was really an enigma.

After her mom’s dead, everything changed and that almost stranger had got the habit to appear in her home early every morning to do what she called ‘training for the future’. Kaoru didn’t understand the sudden interest in her safety, but Ayumi told her that it was her mom’s request and then she couldn’t deny -not to mention that she liked to see her aunt happy and, for some reason, the Goto Maki mere presence in the room made Ayumi’s eyes shine- So, two reasons to do it. Some exercise couldn’t be so bad.

Well, wouldn’t be bad if Maki didn’t wake her up at 6 in the morning every day...

“You’re slow” said the older throwing a new weapon to the garden’s floor.

Kaoru stared at her a moment and then at the object on the ground.

“A sword...”

“Yes” answered Maki.

“Why I need to know how to use that? I like a gun better”

“You know enough about guns. From now on, it’s sword time”

The pupil, resigned to do what her fussy teacher wanted, took the weapon from the ground and glared at the older. Then, something strange happened. Maki smiled, something very unusual in her, and said something that Kaoru wouldn’t understand until some time later.

“If you’re a bit like her, you’ll like it”

------------------------------

Good bless morning practice...

Kaoru looked with the corner of her eye at Maki, who was still leaning against the wall, but this time with a hint of surprise in her eyes. Then she concentrated her senses on the guards. Two against five, or one, if we take into account that Ai-chan was disarmed.

“Lesson two” she whispered.

The five guards charged against them at once.

If you’re in disadvantage, take the weakest link and use it against the others.

“What if there’s no weak link?!”

They were all like giants compared with Kaoru, and she was just a little girl with a sharp toy. At least, her weight gave her advantage.

One first sword passed almost grazing her ear, but Kaoru could avoid it in time and counterattack with a quick movement that, for a moment, destabilized one of her opponents, who lose sight of his objective.

Weak link.

The girl ducked quickly and, turning on her feet, she achieved to make him fall. And the wardrobe that was the guard took two of her friends with him to the ground. Just two more to take care of.

This time, and being a surprise for the two younger girls, Goto Maki moved from her spot at the wall. It wasn’t too much. She just approached the fallen soldiers and took one of the swords. Then she turned to Takahashi and threw the weapon to her for the second time in that day.

“Help her a bit, pet”

***

There was a girl in front of Ishikawa’s door.

She had knocked, twice, but, seeing that no one had intention to open and hearing some noises coming from inside, she doubted that the Princess would had actually heard her.

“Rika?” she asked opening the door slowly and sticking out her head a bit, wich almost caused her to lose it when a silver plate flew just a few inches away.

It was the girl’s shout of panic what made the Princess turn to look at the door.

“Shiba-chan? I’m... I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to...”

“Don’t worry” replied her friend with a smile “As long as I can keep my head with me, it’ll be ok”

Shibata, then, took a look at the room around her. It was all messed up. The bedsheets and pillows all over the floor, some food, wich Ayumi deduced that was minutes ago at the flying plate, spread on the table and part of the ground, a chair with just three legs crashed against a closet and the missing leg inlaid in a near paint hanging in the wall...

“You’re going to tell me what happened here?”

“I was pissed of”

“Well... That’s pretty obvious. But, why?”

Rika sighed and sat on the bed.

“Can we talk about that later?

“Of course”

Silence flooded the room. Shibata looked at the mess again and then at the Princess, who was now lying with her back against the mattress and her eyes closed. She must be really exhausted after almost destroying the place.

“By the way...” said Ishikawa again with her eyes still closed “Hadn’t you got plans today? What are you doing here?”

“Change of mind?” answered the older laying next to her friend and sighing as deeply as Rika did it before.

“But you were really excited about today. Something happened?”

“Let’s just say that I’m a fool who trust people too much”

“Well then, welcome to the club”

***

“Time to split up, ladies”

The two youngers stared at the bandit while trying to recover some air after the running. Someway, they managed to escape from the building and arrive to a little forest inside the walls of the palace where the trees keep them hidden from the patrols.

“Thank you” said Kaoru. She knew that nothing that she could say would make Maki change her mind and help them. It was a waste of time to try it.

“Why? It was you who took us out of there. You fought against the guards and pretty well, may I add. Thanks to you, I’ll be able to appear in front of her without breaking my promise”

“You still broke that guard’s nose” grumbled Ai-chan.

“I told you, pet. The door hit him, not me”

“Yeah... Of course...” said the resigned lieutenant.

With a satisfied smile, Goto Maki turned her back to the girls and got ready to continue on her way but before making any step forward, she stayed quiet, as if she was thinking about something important, sighed and then kneeled to remove something from her ankle.

“This will help you if you have to scape to the mountains” she said walking again towards Kaoru and wrapping around the younger’s wrist a little yarn bracelet. When she finished, the bandit stared at Kaoru for a moment.

“What?” asked the traveller a bit uncomfortable.

“It’s just... There’s something familiar in your eyes...”

“Familiar... how?”

Maki raised her right hand and tapped the younger’s shoulder.

“Some other time” and said that, the bandit turned her back again and began to run “Tell Yocchan that I said hi!”

Soon, Goto’s silhouette disappeared from their sight.

“Now what?”

“Find Yocchan” answered a resolute Kaoru.

“You’re calling her like that, too?”

“You’ve got a problem with that?”

“It’s still weird... Anyway, where are you planning to find Captain?”

“I... don’t know?”

“What a great plan”

“Any better idea?”

Takahashi thought for a moment. If Captain Yoshizawa was, as the stranger said, inside the palace walls, and she wasn’t in the jail with them, there was still a remote possibility that she wasn’t captured and was safe somewhere. There were only two women who would risk everything to protect Yoshizawa Hitomi, just one of them with power enough to keep her hidden from the others at the very center of the palace.

At least they’ll have something to start, even if it was like going into the wolf’s mouth.

“Well go to see Princess Ishikawa”



To be continued...

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posted by Lorena Enciso
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