Part 5: Eastern Sword
It's a different Meenya. It has to be.
A different "adorable little princess" Meenya?
She wasn't that adorable. Kinda trying too hard, if you ask me.
I have to go. I have to check.
Pretty sure she wasn't a princess either!
Hi. So...did you get in trouble?
Nope. I don't think they noticed. Everyone's ignoring me today.
Really? Ah, they're probably just busy. You know grown-ups.
But I'm bored! I hate being bored, and it makes you old.
Does it? I didn't know that.
Yeah, 'cause an hour takes aaages when you're bored, but it goes really fast if you're having fun. So an hour makes you more old if you're bored. 'Cause it takes longer. That's my theery.
Uh-huh. So if you keep having fun, you never get old.
Look, here's someone now. He'll ignore me too. I bet you he won't even look at me. Bet you bet you bet you he won't.
He will. Pull his coat or something.
So you bet me? If I win, you have to play with me!
Okay, but I-
See, what did I tell you? She's a perfectly healthy...
You have to play with me now. That was the bet.
Nothing. What do you want to play?
I Spy. For an hour.
She was a smart girl. Devious, even. She knew that "portal" could refer to a door, and I needed five hints before I guessed it. At her age. I'd have struggled with "theery." Eventually I asked her to spell some of her best ones, so I could write them down.
It did go by quickly. If anything, I felt younger afterwards. And a great deal more literate.
One more, one more!
Okay. One more, then I have to get going.
I spy with my little eye, something beginning with "F".
You're never gonna get this one.
You're not gonna get it.
Alright, I give up.
Yep! And you know what friends get to do? They get to borrow my favourite doll! Oh, but you have to take care of her and don't get her dirty.
I don't think I should do that. What if you get bored again?
It'll be okay. I'll find someone else to play with. They can't ignore me forever, right?
I've got a better idea.
I had to use the book. The alternative was to take the ghost doll from her ghost hands and explain why it fell through my fingers.
It was a morbid thought and I hated that it came so readily, but at least she wouldn't be able to tell anyone.
How'd you do that?
This is a very special book. It can do all kinds of things.
What kinds? Like magic?! I wanna see!
Meenya. I really have to go. I'll come by another time and show you then, alright? I promise.
...okay, if you really really promise. It's seven years bad luck if you break a promise! Remember that!
I think that's mirrors.
Is it? Well, promises are more important. That's like seven hundred years.
You know, you don't have to keep hiding. I think we've worked out how she saw you.
True, but I'm still not big on kids. No offence.
Couldn't I write her back to life or something, though? I have the book.
Yeah, that's a little beyond limitations. Sorry. No raising the dead.
You told me the book could do anything I wanted.
I embellished. You were gonna throw the friggin' thing away. I had to say something.
So what, though? So you're not all-powerful. Big deal. You're still awesome. Let's just go over the benefits again.
Any sword that comes out of that book, you'll swing it like a pro.
If you see something you like, all you have to do is scan it and you can make a copy. As many copies as you want.
If some monster comes along thinking he's hot shit, take away everything that makes him strong, give him rickets and kick him in the shins.
And if all else fails, use fire. Just gimme a shout and all you'll have to worry about is getting ash in your boots.
All you have to do in exchange is write some stuff down. How is this not the sweetest of deals?
You'd make a good salesperson.
Huh? Huh? Startin' to seem good?
Wait, where are you going?
There's something I want to do.
Remember when I said I'd had some sword training? This is where I got it.
Cool. Going in for some sparring?
Are you going in at all?
Yes. Let's go.
My mentor was Gustav, master of the "Eastern Sword" school, a style utilising two blades and relentless, sweeping strikes. His countless scars testified to his ancestry and its world-renowned tradition for swordsmanship, undefeatable in both in the arena and the battlefield. Rhoan's humble training hall seemed beneath him, dwarfed by his presence.
To have him teach me was a privilege. So naturally, I hated him.
Do you realise how much practice you've missed? I should think you have something to say for yourself.
No? No sprained wrist? No exotic diseases? Or are you admitting laziness this time? At least the honesty would be refreshing.
If you're here for a lesson, you're late. Go home.
Did you hear me? Class is over. I do not make concessions for tardy students.
I'm not here for a lesson.
No mumbling in my hall, boy! If it's not worth shouting, it's not worth saying!
I said I'm not here for a lesson!
Oh? What, then?
I want to duel you. Here. Now.
Don't talk nonsense. You're still a novice. What's this posturing all of a sudden?
I can beat you. I can and I will.
You're just scared you'll lose, aren't you? Afraid your student might show you up?
...hmm. I see your stance has improved.
Ahh. That's what this is. Been training in private, have you?
Something like that.
And I suppose now you want to show off.
Two conditions. First, if I win, you will start attending your lessons again. No more excuses. Understand?
"Fine" is not good enough.
I promise, then.
There is a special training area behind this door.
I'll be in the back. If you can reach me in a fit state, you'll have your duel.
What's in there?
That's for you to find out. Combat isn't drills and training dummies, boy. Sometimes you won't know what you're up against. You obviously don't.
Be quick. I'm not going to wait forever.
I'm sensing some tension.
Little bit. Teeny bit. What's the story here?
Story? He's Gustav the master swordsman who expects his students to be perfect. So now I'm going to give him what he wants. That's the story.