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TOTGDK EP 9: Trial of the Hunter: First Trial (Part 3)

"Naxio, duck!"

Naxio-Yi ducks down, narrowly missing the axe the Cender clan boy swun directly at his head.

They had been fighting for what felt like an hour, both parties were growing exhausted but the Cender boy just wouldn't go down peacefully.

"He really not gonna go down easy it seems."

"I want to try the Song of Calming but he refuses to stay still so it is impossible to get a full play off." Naxio said, sending a blast of sound.

Moushira followed up his attack with one of her own, her wires once again trying to wrap around the Cender boy to restrain him. Though it was clear his ears were bleeding, the boy still stumbled away. However, the wires still catch him and instantly start worming around.

"Ah, got him!" Moushira cheers.

She then jerks her wrist to get the wires to coil tightly leaving almost no room even for arm movement. The boy goes down hair, growling like an animal. His hand is still gripping the handle of his axe, however his hands shake with the pressure. He struggled futilely against the wires, they dug deep into his body.

"Naxio now!"

Naxio doesn't need any further request as he begins the Song of Calming. The gentle tone that comes is unlike the tension that hangs in the air. Each plunked sound echoed in the chamber. The Cender boy reacts violently as the sounds reach him. A dark and bitter black smog wavers from his body as he let out a loud roar. A surge of power formed out of nowhere and burst out in a wave around him. Naxio and Moushira instantly cover their ears as the piercing sound echoed loudly in their ears.

That was all he needed to get freedom. A small slack in the wires and with a large jerk of his body, he breaks free of his bindings. The once dying flames of his axe renew and he charges instantly.

Straight at Moushira.

"Shit!" She yells, and creates an almost barrier of wires in front of her.

The axe slams into the wall, the creaking sound of the wires and the heat of the flames make Moushira back up a bit. Her wires obviously don't break but the force that it puts into the blow knocks her back.

"Moushira!" Naxio yells out to her, throwing another sound blast.

His fingers were crying in pain as he had been playing non-stop but there was no choice. The blast of sound was a bit stronger, fueled by his anger, and slammed into the Cender boy. He is tossed a distance before landing with a loud crash. He uses his axe to slow his backward slide but it is clear from that blast he was actually hurt. His already tattered appearance looks worse than ever, deep heaving breathing and eyes just barely keeping open.

Naxio makes it to Moushira without issue however it was clear from the last blow, she took some damage. Her wires hadn't fully blocked the blow it would seem, there was a clear diagonal cut across her chest. Beads of blood were starting to form in the wound already.


The Cender boy appears to be trying to move however for the most part it would appear he was well tired out. Moushira was conscious but letting out rough coughs.

"Ugh, that hurts!" She said as she tried to move.

"Hold on." Naxio says as he reaches out a hand.

His Yang flows from his hands to her form. The feeling is gentle, much like Naxio himself. It takes a few moments however her wound does close. The sting of pain however isn't something he can do much about. She sits up and then stands with a grunt. Her eyes never leave the Cender boy who appears to have finally begun to slow down.

"He's finally showing some wear. This is our chance!"

"Yeah, but I'm not sure if he was tired enough to sit still during the whole song." Naxio said as he stood up next to Moushira.

"Don't you worry about that Naxio, I'll deal with him." Moushira said, her string seemingly agreeing with her statement as they coiled around her.

Both nod to each other and turn back again to the boy across from them. As for the Cender boy, though he has stopped moving at the moment, stubble and low inhuman growls continued to rumble from him. Moushira then charges at the boy, her wires whipping around her. The boy dodges however he's significantly slower than before. Though he dodges the initial attack, the wires turn and catch his leg. He tries to swing with his axe only to have the wires also wrap around that arm. He is slammed to the ground instantly and like a snake, the wires begin to wrap tightly around. He struggles obviously but they are laid out in a manner which pins his body directly to the rocky ground below him.

"Naxio now!" Moushira said as she pulled her wires tight.

Without missing a beat, Naxio begins once again playing the Song of Calm. A slow, and methodical rhythm that picks up speed ever so often. The string sounds echo in the chamber once again. The Cender boy struggles even more as the same black smog starts to waver off of him. But this time Naxio's own Yang forms around his body and then swiftly floats onto the Cender boy. A strained look comes to Naxio's face as now his Yang energy clashes with the corrupted dark Ying energy that is plaguing the Cender boy. The music almost seems to act as background music to their battle. Slowly Naxio's energy plucks and pulls away from the dark tendrils. The Cender boy who was struggling and yelling out, slowly becomes calmer with each strum of music. Moushira who was keeping the boy pinned couldn't help the sense of awe at what she was witnessing. There have been many tales of the music from the Mizune clan but to see if upfront was a treat.

The song lasts for about 5 minutes, and as the music dies down, so does the energy swirl between Naxio and the other boy as well. The Cender boy at this point is completely unconscious, a gentle rise and fall of his chest with a slight snore was their evidence to that. Finally with a loud sigh, both Moushira and Naxio slump to the sides.

"Ahh.. finally! I thought We were never going to take him down." Naxio says with a slight shortness of breath.

"Yeah, tell me about it. I've heard stories of the Cender clan but I guess they really do live up to their legends." Moushira said, throwing the other boy a look.

Naxio also turns to look at their newest addition. Besides a rough-up appearance, the boy appeared normal. Dark-colored hair and slightly tanned skin. His axe had dropped a few paces away but neither were really up to trying to get it at this moment.

"We should rest for now. Who knows what else is in this damn place." Moushira said.

"But we're in a pretty open area? Sho-shouldn't we hide or something?" Naxio asks as he looks around him again.

He was correct in the statement that they were quite out in the open. Fortunately, it didn't appear like anyone else had come by or discovered them. But then again that could be more due to the very massive shape and side of these caverns. A fact that is now truly starting to dawn on the pair.

"...So they were serious about the 5 months...I didn't think it would be like this though." Moushira says absently.

"Yeah.. these caverns go on for days, and it is like a maze at least from my experience."

"Ugh, I don't want to think anymore! Too tired~" Moushira whines as she lays back flat on the ground.

"But Moushira-"

"Don't worry Naxio. I'll put an alarm system." She said then flicked her wrist.

Her wires extend again and float toward the two exits/entrances to the chamber and set up a small weblike covering over them.

"This way at least we'll know if someone is coming."

Naxio nods, however, it was clear that both of them were too tired to really do much else anyway. The next day or what they assumed to be the next day given there was no visual confirmation came quickly. Naxio could feel all the aches and pains from the rough battle yesterday as he tried to stretch out in vain to relieve some of the soreness. He also noticed, much to his surprise, their "new" addition was still heavy in sleep, a fact Moushira seemed especially concerned about given that she was leaning over and eyeing the unconscious boy since Naxio first woke.

"Worried he might snap again?" Naxio asks her.

"Honestly? A bit, but I wasn't expecting him to be out even now?" She said with a tone mixed with confusion.

Naxio nodded in agreement with her to that statement. The boy appeared fine otherwise, his breath was even and there wasn't a hint of Ying energy coming from him anymore. However he was still in a deep sleep even as long as it's been since Naxio did the calming song.

"Hmm, I'm not sure what's wrong? Maybe he just needs more time to process? Even though Ying's corruption is gone, his consciousness appears to be lost." Naxio said.

Currently Naxio was leaning over the boy, hand outstretched and his Yang energy wavering from his hand attempting to reach the boy's consciousness but finding it muddled. A frown forms on Moushira's face as she stands up.

"So do we leave him here? But what if he gets corrupted again.. He would probably come after us." She mumbled to herself.

"I think we should bring him with us for now." Naxio said as he too stood up next to Moushira.

She looked a bit shocked over at him.

"A-are you sure about that Naxio? Wouldn't it be a bit dangerous, we have no idea how he will be when he wakes. What if he gets corrupted again while we are walking? Or worse, what if we get into another fight and then he wakes? We'd be at a huge disadvantage." Moushira argues, her expression turning a bit cautious as she looks back down at Cender boy.

Naxio doesn't respond immediately as he too looks down at the boy. His face was a mix of deep thought and concern. Realistically he knew that it was risky. Moushira was absolutely right about the possible danger this boy could cause. And given how hard it was to take him down originally, it wasn't really one that they could afford. But even so… he just couldn't shake that idea of leaving someone so vulnerable alone. He just couldn't!

Suddenly he nodded and his face cleared of any uncertainty.

"...If it comes to it then we will deal with it. I can't just leave him here, it just … doesn't feel right." Naxio said firmly as he turned to Moushira with an apologetic look on his face.

She watches him for a few seconds before letting out a chuckle and shaking her head.

".. I hope this isn't offensive to say but you really are unlike the famed Mizune Clan is said to be." She says with a smile.

"Ha, I'll take it as a compliment." Naxio mimicked her smile back.

And she did mean it as one. Truly Naxio was different from any Mizune clansmen that she had met. Kindness and open-mindedness to other cultures aren't traits usually displayed by the Mizune Clan. They were well known for being extremely closed off to other clans outside of the main ones. And even within the 8 great families, the Mizune Clan only tolerated the other main clans. They were standoffish, arrogant, and extremely strict with who they interacted with. It was also well known that the Mizune clan valued power, grace, and reputation above all else. Anything that brought shame or weakness to the clan was cut out with a knife almost immediately.

"So I guess we carry him then? And when we take a break or set up camp for the day, we'll just rest him down?"

"Sounds good to me!" Naxio said as he was down to grab and hoist the unconscious boy onto his back.

Moushira was actually pleasantly surprised that Naxio was able to carry the other boy given the slight size difference however Naxio has proven time and time again to her that he isn't quite as meek as she first assumed. She then also grabs that stray axe that the Cender boys were wielding. It was heavy but not enough to really prohibit their movement. And so with their newly added companion, the duo continued deep in the endlessly winding and turning caverns.

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