File 129389614272.jpg - (5.31KB, 300x300, spear.jpg) [iqdb]
You pick the long javelin back out from the pile of weapons and give it one more look over. The hilt is nice and sturdy, as it should be for a spear. The blade at the end protrudes a decent length, maybe enough for a small dagger or a bit longer, without the long reach of the handle. It's double edged, and is a little thick, good for absorbing blows you think. Realistically, from the world you came from, you have no real experience with weapons like this at all, but in a world full of magic and demons, going in fists flying is, as Yukari might suggest, not exactly the best idea. You have something to really defend yourself with, using this. You thought it over, but this weapon, you think, suits you best.
"Mmm, quite a long one, are you compensating for something~?"
Not for all the wrong reasons, though.
"Leave me alone, I don't even know how to use half this stuff. Why would I have ever needed to?"
"Well as you can see, this world is quite different. Don't worry though, there's one weapon that I know you're very well acquainted with, but I'll leave that to whoever you stick it to~"
What...what is that even supposed to mean?! Was it even necessary?
"Lady Yukari, am I to use my blades still for teaching Satoya?" Youmu asks as Yukari turns around and walks away from you.
"Yes, that's fine, Ran will even help so I'm sure things will work out." Ran doesn't seem to respond. Her stoic nature is showing again. You believe she has some emotion under all that concrete that she occasionally moves out of the way, but in the context of Yukari it seems like she's always putting on a strong face, and trying to be more professional for her.
You guess if you felt like Yukari really was your boss, you'd be the same way. But Yukari is just far too whimsical for you to see that in her. It's like having a seven year old for a superior.
"Is this how it will be then? Satoya as the brave knight in shining armor?" Yuyuko says with a smile as Yukari sits back with her and Ran steps back forward towards you and Youmu.
"Seems that way. It's just as well, any skill Satoya gains in physical combat will surely compliment the sheer magical power Ran has~" You hear Yukari say all this as Ran is conversing with Youmu. You're trying to listen to the two of them but your senses seem to be gravitating towards Yukari at the moment, possibly due to the lack of trust at this current moment.
"He chose to be stronger and even chose such a fitting weapon for such an endeavor...though isn't Ran adept at fighting melee too?" You don't hear much else then Yukari chuckling to herself seemingly, as Ran succeeds in catching your attention just before Yukari says anything else.
"Satoya, we are to assume you have absolutely no experience with that kind of weapon, correct?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, you're right about that. I'm not sure where to even begin."
"It starts with learning how to handle it properly, of course. You'll learn how to fight with it once you can wield it effortlessly. Doing things one step at a time is the best way to go about teaching someone a method of battle." Ran sounds so inherently smart when she says all this, like...sorta like some of the professors back home actually. You get this sneaking feeling should make an excellent teacher.
"A proper stance is important, so we'll work on that first. It will help you get a feel for the spear you chose, Satoya." Youmu continues along Ran's drawn line. You feel kinda lucky, being tutors by a cute girl and a beautiful lady. At the same time though, you feel rather...insignificant.
"A-A proper stance huh?" You want to ask what exactly that means, but you're too afraid of sounding stupid by asking what is probably a very obvious question.
"Yes, Satoya, so that you may be ready for any oncoming attack aimed at you, or so you can take the offensive effectively and efficiently. Being ready is the first and most important step." Ran informs you, and thus achieving a bit in what you were trying to avoid; feeling dumb. You're quite positive at this point that not only are you highly inexperienced at this, you know absolutely nothing about how to go about it. This is going to be a very long day.
"Er, right. So how would I go about...doing that, then?"
"Keep your weapon raised and poised for combat," Youmu starts you off with. "Being able to strike at a moment's notice is important, but the main idea is to survive anything thrown at you. You cannot retaliate from an attack if you are injured too gravely from it." After a bit of taking that in, you look back down at the spear that's been laying in your arms like a wounded little baby. You can't say you know very well how to hold one effectively, apart from how people in television hold it. Taking the spear in both hands, you look back at Youmu, and she makes a short gesture to hold the spear up a bit more, and you follow through. She doesn't seem satisfied with that however and comes closer. "You have to keep your hands further apart then that. A spear is not a sword, so you must keep your hands across the longer handle accordingly."
...why are you getting embarrassed now? It could be for a variety of reasons. For one, Youmu's hands are clasped over yours. You know she's all business right at this moment, trying to adjust your hands to the length of the spear, but they happen to a lot softer then you expected them to be. They're like the hands of a young child, befitting for her height to say the least, but not for her actual occupations for all that. The way Ran is studying you also makes you nervous. It might be because of the peer pressure you've always felt throughout your school life, both as a student and as a teacher, but the sharp observation she's laying upon you now feels as if she's expecting something from you. It's hard not getting goosebumps over it. Another thing that bothers you, is the way you're stroking the handle of this beast...it's not a sensation you want to be totally familiar with, particularly with Yukari watching, and even more especially after the obscene comments she gave you when you chose this weapon.
But one thing's for sure. Your face is getting red. You need to get this over with as soon as possible.
You try your best to get through the somewhat haphazard lessons you receive from both Ran and Youmu. While Yukari and Yuyuko watch you contently, and Chen simply takes a nap beside them. You guess for as much energy as she has, she needs to take more time to restore all of it as a result. A few awkward lessons in your battle stance later, which you still need improving on, Youmu is trying to get you to swing the spear. It's not working out too well, because to be quite honest, you're a little afraid of wielding such a dangerous and offensive object. You don't want to hurt anyone.
"You need to put more effort into it, Satoya. You will never strike the enemy down with such a friendly blow." Youmu's words are sharp and stinging, but you can't help it.
"Gah, I'm sorry, maybe I'm not cut out for this after all..." Ran tries to console you while you're sulking about this.
"Don't say such a thing, Satoya. Lady Yukari chose you for a reason. Your potential is there, you just need to unlock it."
Unlock your potential, huh? You've been hearing so much about that ever since you came here. It's like some big responsibility was shoved onto you and forced you to lead an entirely different life. You didn't choose to be this way. Well, maybe you chose to be spirited away the way you were since you were foolhardy enough to fill out that false survey. Man, you are never falling for unsolicited mail ever again.
"I get it, I get it. It's just a little...more unwieldy then I thought it was at first, okay? Gimme time, I'll get it...I hope..."
You spend roughly another half an hour trying to master the spear you chose, much to no avail. The thing is a little heavy. You feel strength sort of draining out of you rapidly, like you're losing touch with the ability you tapped into a while ago fending off Youmu. It feels very awkward just holding onto it, and you can't get a firm grip on it as you swing it, so as a result you swing very weakly trying not to let it slip out of your hands, or cause an accident. Youmu and Ran watch you, practically in despair.
"Satoya...perhaps you're going about it in the wrong way."
"Perhaps you should reconsider trying at all."
Needless to say, Ran's words are a lot less piercing then Youmu's.
"Ugh, this is really hard. I'm just a college professor, I'm not built for fighting or anything like that..." Youmu goes ahead and walks over in front of you to try and regroup yourself.
"Satoya, every road is fraught with peril, and no path is ever easy. Such is the way of life, but if you want to step down that path then you must keep your chin up high. A lack of confidence is going to get you nowhere. Maybe a reevaluation is in order."
"A reevaluation, huh?" You ask her, trying to figure out what that means. "What kind are you suggesting?"
"Well, maybe Lady Ran is right. The earlier method seemed to work well, maybe the skill will come through shock?" As much optimism as you want to have, you're not sure if you want to go through with that again. Especially with weapons. You know, ones that could effectively and efficiently kill, or decapitate on a lesser scale of death. Danger such as that is something you're quite allergic to, particularly after being away from the comfort of your home for so long.
"Err, no, I don't think that will work, really. Could we try something else, maybe?"
"Well, if that is how you feel, then I suppose I canno--Satoya, behind you!!"
You thought for a brief moment that maybe Youmu was trying to falsely shock you into turning around and unleashing some sort of innate, hidden skill with the spear, trying to scare you into doing what she suggested as a ploy.
You thought that, but for a brief split second, you realized she was paying attention to whatever was behind you as she was trying to finish that sentence, shortly before bursting out like that. You also realized something that came back to you, a sense that you were afraid you would feel once more, and are afraid that you'll soon become very familiar with.
The sense of impending death.
In a quick flash, you barely understood what had happened, but the more you look at it, the more clear it becomes. A clash that was brought about by your spear, being quickly swung around to deflect the oncoming danger. The short sword embedded in the ground in front of you, after having met your spear with such incredible speed that it was flung high up into the air, enough to stick itself deep into the moist dirt on it's way down. Yukari, just standing there on the porch with an arm stretched out.
A mischievous grin sits on her face. A grin you've grown to hate. A grin that fans the flames of rage within you. You can't possibly comprehend how much you want to slap that stupid little smile off her pretty little face.
"What...what the hell?!" You're pretty sure that the loudness of your voice is enough to cause an echo, even in this wide open area, but if there was one, you couldn't possibly hear it over the rapid beating of your heart, sent into a frenzy from the intense close proximity doom came to your fragile little life. Despite your objections and aggressive shouting though, Yukari just laughs at you, making you feel even more insulted.
"Is something wrong, Satoya~?"
"Y-You tried to kill me!! With a sword!!!" Yukari seems to laugh even more, like it's some cruel joke.
"Oh please, we both know that there was no chance of you not perfectly deflecting that attack with absolutely accuracy." A mature, yet somehow obnoxious smirk, Yukari seems to be one step ahead of you yet again. You can't take much more of her.
"What...what makes you say that?! Without Youmu here, how else would I have known you were going to do tha-"
"Instinct." Everything seems to go silent for a moment. You look behind you to where that word came from. Ran is avoiding your gaze, seemingly uncomfortable with speaking further, even though she continues anyways. "The natural instinct of a living being, telling them that danger is near..."
"See, Satoya? Ran is right. You are no different from what she is, down in essence. You are a youkai, a vicious beast whose number one priority is self preservation. Survival is something your body is keen to uphold and will expand your limits gratuitously to help achieve that." You look back at Yukari, you can't believe you just heard that. That's nonsense! How could...you don't....you can't understand that quite fully.
"But you're not a youkai? Please, Satoya, don't make me laugh~" Yukari's smile is becoming more and more unnerving the more she goes on. "Are you to tell me that even if not for all this, you wouldn't have reacted in a similar way? Your innate abilities are what gave you the strength to fend off that attack, but that natural instinct to survive is something you had all along, even when you were believing you were still human." Yukari's eyes then narrow a bit, keeping the same nerve wracking smile she's been giving you. "You shouldn't go on believing anymore that your pedestrian human way of life is as complicated as you would make it out to be. A beast you may be, but that doesn't change the fact that as a human, your reaction would have been no different. Had you even killed a person to keep that blade from piercing your neck, your instincts would have done it without a single sliver of second thought."
You want to deny it, but for some reason, you can't. That is what disturbs you most. You couldn't possibly think of taking another's life. It's far too much of a responsibility that you could never bear it. The thought of bringing death upon someone else to save your own life, as well, would give you intense guilt beyond belief. Despite this, Yukari sounds about right. You cannot deny at all that if your body had to choose, no matter how much your mind protested, it would gladly steal the life of another person to preserve it's own.
The thought that your instinct rules over your mind is the most disturbing thing to you right now. It's a fear many humans share, but yours is amplified right now due to the sheer fact that your humanity is no more. Your fear of losing your sanity has become a stark reality, because the one thing that told you that you were still human, you can't fall back on anymore. The fact that you really aren't human anymore.
Perhaps this is the reason why you were in such denial of it at first. Because the thought of no longer being human, and becoming something else, awakened a sleeping fear that rests in the sanity of many humans like you. Or, the most depressing thought, humans like what you used to be.
You look over at Youmu hastily, trying to find solace in someone that could argue against Yukari. But no luck. Youmu looks a bit pained, but she isn't saying anything. She too, is avoiding your gaze. You look back at the spear in your hands. This is what saved your life, what kept that sword from burying it's sharp death into the back of your skull. Yet, you're afraid of it. You want to let go of it, you don't want to touch it ever again. You've come to realize just how much of a bad idea this really is.
If the fact that you can't deny Yukari and that you're losing your humanity to instinct is what disturbs you most, then the fact that you're going to shed blood with this weapon...it's probably what disturbs you second. She's making you into a heartless killing machine and you're not sure if you have any choice in the matter.
"Well, Satoya, having come to that realization, you know what the only way to go about this now is, right~?" You look back at Yukari, you probably have the most unsure face possible right now. But this doesn't faze her. It doesn't change her in the least. She knew you would be like this. She knew what she was going to turn you into. You think she's enjoying every minute of it too, but instead of enraging you further, this is more frightening now. You can't find the courage at all to speak until you feel a hand come onto your shoulder. A brief look behind you tells you that Ran seems to know what you're dealing with at the moment. Her stoic gaze says to you that you should try to move on, as difficult as it may be. Being strong is all that matters right now.
After all, that was your original wish to her when you came here to train, right? This is less to kill...and more for protecting. Yeah, if you tell yourself that, maybe you can find some bravery to continue with this after all.
"...I have to rely on my instincts to wield this weapon, right?" Yukari's smile brightens up at the sight of you learning what is possibly a very elementry fact at this point.
"Correct~! You learn so fast, Satoya, just why I picked you." You're really starting to become unsure if she's being sarcastic or not. She makes it very difficult, to say the least. "I think we can forgo the blindfold this time, since it's clear that with enough motivation, you can bring it out on your own. Of course I don't expect this to be simple either, so don't strain yourself too hard~" With Yukari's whimsical attitude slowly returning you to some sense of normalcy, you return a reply to her with a much straighter face.
"So I guess it's just more sparring sessions with someone, then?"
"If you want it to be that way. Letting your instinct use your spear for you is probably the best way to start going about this until you can learn from it and be able to replicate it on your own. Of course, not everything will work the first time you do it so don't get discouraged by any mistakes now~"
In other words, what she's saying is, that you will likely be doing everything trial and error relying on what your body is telling you, and that not every time you try to save yourself, it'll succeed. Sounds very thrilling. Your innate fear is picking up again, but you try to dumb it down as much as you can. Right now, your fear of losing your humanity is being overpowered by your fear of looking and being weak and helpless. You feel rather conflicted right now, but that sort of torment will have to wait until you can get this done. You'll think about the morals of things when you have time to relax and be by yourself.
[ ] Continue sparring with Youmu, then
[ ] Ask Ran for help with this one
[ ] You want to try sparring with Chen
[ ] You think maybe going alone is a better idea