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A Sparrow in Thy Hand is Better Than a Thousand Sparrows Flying


Pundigirion

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It had been years since he'd seen her. Surely by now she was a beautiful young woman, and he hoped at least as smart as he remembered her, if not more so. She should've been in about her mid-twenties, the age most women thought about marrying and starting a family. Settling down. By now one had found their walk of live and was head strong on their path to greatness. The things she could have had, the life he wished for her after the conditions in which he'd found her in; That he'd saved her from...

"Nii-san!!!"

He heard a voice barely familiar to him, though the tone of it spoke with excitement and familiarity. His ears twitched at the sound, causing him to turn on his heels as he turned his chin and craned his neck. His charcoal eyes instantly smiled with sincerity as his hand rose to cover his mouth. It had opened, but when he tried to speak, nothing came out. His eyes swelled with tears; Both of joy and of sorrow. There she was, at least he'd kept his word. He'd found her, and yet he almost instantly cursed himself for not having managed to do so sooner.

Sitting in a wheelchair, she smiled warmly, rolling towards him slowly. Her green eyes sparkled just as brightly as ever, complimenting her smile despite the scars littering her visible skin. Her legs were covered by a blanket, though he noticed that at it's end there were no feet to be seen. She stopped about 20 feet from him, her arms crossing as she stuck her bottom lip out in a pouting manner.

"I guess you're not him after all..."Before she could say another word, before he could speak. He suddenly rand to her, squatting just enough to hug her with all of his heart. "K-Ko-k..Kotori! Gomenesai! GOMEN!!!" He exclaimed shamelessly at the top of his lungs as his emotions got the best of him. With a couple deep breaths, he wiped his tears from his face and forced himself to smile as warmly and inviting as he could.

"Ikimasho, let's grab a bite and catch up. Whatever you want, my treat." "Psh, how'bout a beer? They don't serve alcohol in these facilities. And stop apologizing, this is on me...All of it." While he didn't doubt her words, he couldn't help but feel guilty about leaving her the way he had. Regardless of what he was going through, there was no excuse. "Can you uh, let me go now, you're starting to hurt me." "Sumimasen!" He exclaimed more quietly, releasing her and yet placing a hand on each shoulder with a firm grasp. With a reassuring tap on one of them, his eye shut and his head tilted to the side, his smile widening. "Allow me."

Standing erect once more, he stepped around her and grasped the handles at the back of the chain. Once she gave a reassuring nod, they were off!

At her request, they first made a detour. Taking the long way around, she had him walk the trails in a nearby park as they began to catch up. Their stories of survival did not differ too greatly, just the finite details of what parts were better or worse for either of them. The closer each got to the modern day, the more their stories deviated from one another's. Jinsoku had found an ally and friend by chance while on the water world of Bel'shir. A beautiful blade maiden named Okina that he'd more or less kept up with for the past couple years. She asked Jin if he liked her, and yeah, he was quite fond of her. But after his heart was so grievously stolen and betrayed, he wasn't sure if he could trust another woman in such a deep way.

In contrast, Kotori had spent her time honing her skills. She argued that she kept her word by not joining the OFM, and that she never promised she wouldn't become a slayer. On this world however, she fell in with the more common hunters of this region. A foolish endeavor as many warned her, and yet she never even pretended to consider any outside opinion. For almost a year she had done well helping defend The City of Beasts from the very thing that gives it its name. 

One particular day, Kotori found herself feeling a bit arrogant. A creature known as an Amaroc, known to hunt solo was sighted nearby. Though it posed no immediate threat to the city or anyone near it, she felt compelled to hunt this one alone. Curiously enough however, she found herself alone with what wound up being about half a dozen of those things. Obviously reinforcements arrived in time enough to save her life, though he also clearly didn't walk away without loss. Despite dispatching the pack, what was recovered of her limbs was barely recognizable, let alone salvageable even with the improved tech in the other nations. And she was simply too poor to afford fancy prosthetics like Jinsoku had on his right arm. 

When he offered to pay for prosthetics and rehab for her now, she fought tooth and nail to decline the offer. Jinsoku had already decided no wasn't an acceptable answer. He'd pay regardless, and if she chose not to receive product or treatment that was being provided to and for her, that would be another foolish choice on her part. While he didn't condone, support, or encourage her to continue down the road of walking in shoes like his, he still wished for her to have the best quality of life possible. Especially while she was still young.

In return for his request at just living, Kotori requested that he get revenge for her. Not because she felt revenge necessary, but because Naga was embedded in one of those creatures when the surviving one's were chased off. The weapon he'd given her, that the late Queen Raven had given him prior. A shared responsibility he accepted without consideration.

When they finally found themselves sitting down somewhere to eat, Jinsoku made sure to order too much for himself as a means of making his sister feel more at ease when deciding what she wanted for her. Money was something he had plenty of, even after considering what he lost in the Great Calamity. It was also something he didn't spend often, and he couldn't take it with him when he died. It would take more than one day, one meal, to spoil her in a way that made up for the lost time. But he made it one of his main objectives in life at this point. Whatever amount of time she had left in this world, no matter what, he'd spoil her.

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After a couple of hours, he paid for their meal and drinks and he returned her back to where she was currently staying. While he didn't take the longer route as he had earlier, he walked at a slow enough pace that it was obvious he was in no rush. Most of this walk was silent, just enjoying one another's company. He made a promise to also not wait so long between visits, and of course to let her know when he's found Naga. With too long of a hug, and a gingerly placed kiss upon her forehead, Jinsoku said farewell to her for now. 

Despite her condition, he was relieved that she'd somehow survived through all the chaos. To survive the hell she put herself through after.

His original plan after meeting with Kotori was to check back in with Okina, but after speaking to Kotori he felt compelled to take action sooner than later. Naga was a fine excuse, but deep down inside, he really just needed to blow off some steam. He couldn't think of a better way to do such than by slaying monsters like the one's that got away. If he was lucky, that one still had the naginata lodged into it. 

Returning to his room at the inn, Jinsoku began to change out of his casuals and into his more familiar war gear. It was a pain in the ass unpacking his armor and weapons before finding a base of operations, knowing he'd have to pack them up again...But this simply could not wait. Arming himself with two microcomposit spears, one in tucked into each greave, his Executioner's Sword sheathed to his left, and while it could be hosted upon his back with ease, he opted to carry his halberd in hand.

Once he hit the streets, he seemed to garner some small amount of attention, though likely just because he was immediately armed. Heading straight out of Zemujin, he headed due west-northwest, in the approximately direction of where the creature was last spotted a month ago. He honestly doubted it would be in the same area it was precisely found in prior, but he was certain that it wouldn't be in a zone too far from that area unless something had provoked it to move further. Regardless, he headed out alone. Much like Kotori, against the warnings of the natives and the locals.

From his understanding, Madai was left in a state of perpetual darkness, hypothesized to be a side-effect of the corrupt leyline to the west. He'd been warned of a miasma, though he hadn't a clue how it could effect him. He simply believed that his control over his Tandens and his Dao was great enough that he'd be able to filter out most impurities, mundane or otherwise.

As he travelled, he had that eerie feeling he was being watched, and yet he saw and sensed nothing. His beaked helm gave poor sight conditions regardless, though there was certainly nothing near enough for him to sense its presence. He happened across some sights of remains of varying age, but nothing fresh as of yet. The skies were the only place he wasn't able to fully account for. Something about the way the corrupt leyline tainted the atmosphere in a way that limited the range of his electrolocation by at least half the range he'd grown accustomed to.

Suddenly, he came to a halt. He looked about himself, even pivoting a bit to actually check his blind spots and double check completely behind him. He couldn't be certain, but he though he felt the ground tremor beneath his feet for the briefest of moments. About ten seconds passed, nothing. Continuing on his path, he heard in the distance a lurid shriek of despair, the dying shriek of some poor creature echoed towards and beyond Jin. He came to a stop once again and took a knee facing the direction the shriek came from. Placing his free hand on the ground, he breathed deeply and slowly as he sought more ways to identify the source of these tremors.

They were too inconsistent with one another to even be sure they had the same source. Without anything else to go off of from here, he rose again and continued onward. His grip tightening on the halberd as he did so. A strange feeling hit his gut. Rei, the Raiju he harbored within himself began to growl a bit aggressively for just being weary. Something wasn't too far off. Something Rei could sense that Jinsoku couldn't, similar to how his senses worked outside of this region a decade ago. Whatever else he had to look forward to, it seemed in the least that this corrupt atmosphere chafed even his energy. Things with a range of self so far functioned normal, though application of his capabilities that carried out of and away from himself, the further from him the weaker his Dao seemed to become until is dissipated entirely.

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A couple minutes had passed since Rei growled, and now it was growling again; More ferociously, fangs barred and hackles raised. Jinsoku felt a presence ahead of him now. While it was an animated, humanoid figure, he did not sense any Dao coming from it. A strong odor hit his nose, akin to brimstone or the rot of a corpse. He mildly, physically recoiled as the scent surprised his sensitive sense of smell. As it came into view, he saw what he would best describe as a ragged wraith, yet it travelled on foot. A zombie or similar type of undead? No, they typically travelled in hordes, and the rotten smell would be more pungent.

That same shriek from moments ago suddenly escaped it, and the deteriorating figure of white began to charge at him. Beneath all that leather and metal it could tell Jinsoku was thick. A proper meal, the one it hoped would sate it. Its dry, decaying flesh hugged it's bones. Rags that looked like they used to be the tattered robes of a mage hung from it much like a ruined cape. What modicum of lips it had appeared dry, cracked, and bloody. 

The Merle Knight took his halberd in both hand now. His forward momentum halted once more as his feet stance about shoulders width apart, a slight bend to the knees as he braced himself to stand his ground. This gaunt creature before him had impressive speed for not really having any muscular tissue to be seen. Despite the ringing still in his ears from the proximity of the last shriek, and the preternatural physique of this monster, he was confident he could attack it outright and likely make quick work of it. One, maybe two strikes at best.

As the Wendigo entered his striking range, Jinsoku flunged into a thrust. With surprising intelligence and agility, it dodged his strike by rolling at an angle while still approaching him. The hook of the halberd tore a bit of flesh and tattered fabric from it in passing as it made a swipe at Jinsoku's cloak. Without any extra maneuvers taken but the Slayer, it grasped at the air where it perceived Jinsoku to have been, yet it wound up empty handed. As the creature regained it's footing and prepared to charge him yet again, he smirked beneath his helm. The enchantment of his cloak seemed to be working even in this environment. As his feet skid into the ground he pivoted to face the monster, using the momentum of clockwise rotation to throw the halberd at it.

The creature moved to deftly evade the weapon again as it watched yet another hunter attempt to throw a weapon at it. When the spear left Jinsoku's hand however, it suddenly come from a slightly different location than originally perceived. As it left his hand, it left the effect of his cloak, this it was no longer displaced to the monster's eyes. The fact that the creature moved too fast was in fact the spelling of its disaster in this very moment.

With a sickening crack, the blade spike atop the halberd pierced it's sternum. The halberd showed no signs of stopping though, the hook and axe head alike tore into it's torso before the entire weapon sailed through the Wendigo. The halberd continued until it ultimately staked itself into the ground, creating small crack about the impact zone. Sloppily the creature twisted and was tossed back from Jinsoku a few meters, about half the distance the halberd travelled. 

His left hand grabbed the scabbard, his right, synth-hand grasping the handle of his sword yet refraining from freeing it just yet. Dust and debris kicked up in the wake of the monster tumbling to a stop and ultimately charging him again without any lost speed or fervor from the damage it just incurred. 

As it charged him yet again, it shrieked terribly, using its arms in tandem with his legs to increase its overall speed. At this range with repeat exposure, Jinsoku felt the rupturing of his left ear drum. A warmth filled his inner ear that he was certain was blood. His eyes visibly shook, as did his brain and the fluid around it. His eyes slid shut completely as he grit his teeth and focused his Dao to reinforce him physically. It wasn't until the precise moment he sensed the creature lunging at him head on that he decided to draw his sword half way, standing angled at the beast in a way that hosted one of the sword's edges. 

The creature's mouth found the gauntlet of his right arm, biting against the steel reinforced with Prometheum as a hue of crimson glowed between them, shining off of the white of the creature's that almost made it seem like it was bleeding, though that was because of how the blade was already sinking into it as it merely pressed its body into it. Like a hot knife into a stick of butter. The creature shriek again, this time adding the elements of fear into its blood-curdling scream. With his arm free of its maw, he yanked the Executioner's Sword the rest of the way free, bisecting the creature from the right hip to its left should. With a flick of the wrist, he turned the edge of the blade and made another swipe horizontally. 

The shrieking died out as the creatures severed pieces of body seemed to forcibly part from one another. The blade of the sword remained unsoiled by any remnants of the Wendigo as it continued to exude the crimson aura. Jinsoku worked to maintain his breathing as his eyes slowly opened once more, verifying that he did indeed kill the creature. "Tch." He sucked his teeth in annoyance at the fact that it took four attempts and three strikes to fell such a small monster. Two weapons at that!

He walked to his halberd with his sword drawn. Once there he sheathed the blade once more and grabbed the halberd with a single handed grip yet again before ultimately continuing on his way. He still had perhaps a few more miles to go before he reached the end of his lead.

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As he began traversing the terrain again, he checked over his gauntlet from where he had been bitten. Some superficial damage that would be easy enough to repair, the prosthetic beneath it remaining unharmed. The light scent of metal his his nose, and he could taste it in the back of his throat. He refused to remove his Helm over it, though he was certain his blood was finally leaking from his ear. As miniscule of damage as it was, that shriek rupturing his ear drum had been enough to bypass the enchantment of his cloak; The bite that followed prolonging its reactivation. 

He'd, have to be careful about sighting attacks like that moving forward. He'd previously considered the likes of mental based attacks detrimenting him and his cloak's enchantment, but not the likes of sound. He merely assumed he was intelligent and fast enough to protect himself with his Dao. How sorely mistaken he was, and yet fortunate considering he hadn't really lost anything to gain this experience.

Another tremor shook the ground, and this time it felt a bit stronger.

The noises of some twisted swarm or flock rang out as they flew overhead. Though he could hear them he could not see them. Was it a response from the tremor? Was its intensity caused by a closer proximity? Perhaps it was an increase in potency of say seismic activity. Regardless, he pressed onward. Any moment now he should be reaching the end of his lead.

The Amaroc was the target. Known to hunt alone and only at night. Though Kotori found herself baited into an ambush of what sounded like a small pack. Was it a coincidence? Were they being controlled? Were they competing for territory and perhaps momentarily uniting over the threat of a common enemy arriving. A human. Did they even view man as a threat, or merely as prey?

Suddenly, he could hear howling. He couldn't tell how many there were, just that some were in unison and some weren't. He came to a halt as he noticed the sounds were approaching him from the direction he was headed in. As their presences became felt, he brought his halberd to both hand once again and took a defensive stance. As their scents grew, as did his anticipation. Already he could feel his skin growing slightly hotter as it had when he faced the Wendigo, though his heart seemed to be beating faster. Harder. Rei howled once between profuse growling as it too steeled itself for the conflict to ensue.

As they drew near, the howling died out. Some of them growled and some were silent. They made quick work of surrounding him, and remained in motion as they circled him. Whatever the case was with Kotori, her story didn't quite sound like this. Granted, the human mind was prone to losing some finite details when faced with traumatic experiences.

One or two at a time began darting through their ring of death, aiming claw and jagged maw alike at the Slayer. He danced about, pivoting around in a space no greater than two and a half meters in diameter. His cloak helped him to avoid them with his body, though the nature of their formation and their numbers over half a dozen made these large wolves rather tedious to deal with. He could dispatch them with more ease if he could get a good strike on one without leaving himself open to another. 

A task easier said then done.

One came from his flank, he pivoted to face it, his arms lifting the halberd and using the handle portion between his hands to clash with the beasts maw. Deflecting it as he committed to a V step to his left. With his arms winding to he left, he pivoted right, ultimately casting a wide swath to his right and cutting one of the Amaroc, causing it to careen sloppily into couple of the others as it returned to the death circle that seemed to be coming to a stop. The beast still surrounding him on either side.

Aside from being large black wolves, he didn't see much of a difference between them and say direwolves like the ones he recalled from Jigoku or Cobran. Just that these were black and rumored to hunt alone. Each one's back rose up to at least two meters, dwarfing The Merle Knight where he was already outnumbered. 

When he swiped the one, as it careened away before he could recover from his strike, another Amaroc lunged from behind him. Thanks to his cloak it failed to pounce directly on him, though unfortunately one of its massive claws managed to rake at his shoulder, ultimately spinning him counter clockwise before he fell. He rolled to a knee, though he failed to get his halberd back into his hand, only realizing he'd dropped it once he noticed his hand was empty. As another maw snapped open and came for his face, Jinsoku did not panic. Out of everything he'd learned from his master before him, there were a handful of lessons that stuck out more than the rest. One of them being the fact that sometimes you didn't need weapons, magics, or fancy tricks to get the job done. 

Sometimes all one needed was their fist!

Cocking his right fist back, he jabbed at that wretched maw that approached, smashing into it with extreme enough prejudice to reject the large wolf by a meter or so, but also throwing him back to the ground as he recoiled from the momentum of its lunge! His knee slid beneath him again as he pushed off the ground with his hands as he felt his other leg grappled. The wolf viciously tugged at the limb, attempting to peel that reinforced plate of armor out of the way of its prize!
 
Another came in as he rolled to kick the one biting his leg off. This one snatched up his Helm, a few of it's fangs fishing for a way to breach his ridiculously small eye holes. Likewise, thanks to how his head was turned, the beak of the Helm was tearing to the beast as it pushed to maul his head. This one he grabbed with on hand before using the other to punch it a total of three times before it relinquished him, though by then another had one of his legs. Another took an arm, and another taking the spaces about his trapezious. The others clamored, snarling and snapping at one another as they fought over which would get to tear that chestplate off first!

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His eyes slid shut, his breathing began to slow as his body went limp. No, he hadn't lost consciousness, nowhere near it. He was simply trusting in his armor to hold up while he focused his mind on his lower Tanden. Increasing the amount of Dao flowing out of it and throughout his body, he began to pool it into every ounce, every fiber of his being. Seeing as to how it was usually stocked to a degree, filling himself with it was quick enough work, but it didn't stop there.

His Dao continued to pool, concentrating within him as he willed it. Years ago he would have used one of his most familiar abilities already, though in the modern day he sought to mimic one of his past opponents. Albeit, his application of the technique would still incorporate the Raiju's Dao into it. Which in practice so far had yielded results akin to what he'd hoped for.

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Not that the beasts could see them, but Jinsoku's eyes shot back open as he released a guttural yell! His eyes glowing such a brilliant blue that almost appeared white. In unison from every point of his body, he releases torrential, cocussive wave of vibrant blue energy. Shortly after the force began to exude from him, the resounding crash of thunder followed. The beasts were violently torn from him, all injured to some degree, and he even managed to put one down! 

A debris cloud kicked up in the wake of his counter assault. Thankfully his halberd was already flat on the ground, so while it did press into it a bit it didn't really blow away with his last technique. Rising up once more, he grabbed his balberd yet again, gripping it tightly as he assessed his situation. He was bleeding, but not a lot. He had multiple minor breaches, though his armor had obviously done the job so far of holding up. His Helm was the least damaged, likely due to the denser composition of it when compared to his other pieces of war gear.

Without waiting for the beasts to assault him again, without even waiting for his now mildly tattered cloaks reactivation of is enchantment, Jinsoku charged at the beast nearest him. Chambering the halberd with just his right hand, Jinsoku aimed the spike at the Amaroc's center of mass. With a lunge he thrust into it! Between his immense strength and the abnormal nature of current weapon, the direct strike easily pierced the beast, perhaps even a bit deeper that intended before it was sent a good three meters away.

As the best was ejected, the halberd left the wound it had just produced. The pressure of it caused a harsh, horizontal spray of some dark red, brown looking ichor to shower Jinsoku. Though mostly on the side facing the beast and the face of his Helm. Without pause or hesitation, he brought the pole arm to both hands once more. Rotating the weapon in a clockwise fashion. He pivoted clockwise, swathing the halberd in a wide arc he struck another beast that attempted to flank him. With another spin of his body, he used the centrifugal force to reinforce a thrust that was perhaps a bit more intense than the last!

When this beast ejected from him, another came for his left arm. With a bend of it, he merely elbowed the creature in its not as he denied it that which it wanted most. Beyond it another was closing in. Jin flipped the halberd into an overhand grip, and with fluid grace he cocked his arm before torquing his body and ultimately throwing the halberd at it. When the pole arm connected, it went flying with the beast a few meters back.

Drawing his Executioner's Sword once again, that menacing crimson aura gnawed at the atmosphere with a voracious hunger for the monsters nearby, Jinsoku first kicked off the Amaroc he'd elbowed. His arm carried the sword in a diagonal, upward slash from left to right. As he cut into its chest, the wound created was easily twice the size it should have been. He nearly removed its front leg as he sailed through its failed assault. Pressing it he came at it again with an overhead strike! It landed sloppily as its leg barely hung on, only to have its head practically torn off from the exacerbating aura of the sword rather than the cut of its blade.

Another tremor came to pass, this one again stronger! And despite their current opposition, the Raiju growled in the direction it sensed the tremors coming from. Regardless, Jinsoku currently had his hands fill.

His eyes suddenly grew wide as he got an idea amidst the battle. As the next beast came, Jinsoku charged it as well. With his cloak's enchantment working again, the beast aimed to snatched him into its maw in passing, only to catch the edges of the blade in its mouth. As he remained in motion, pressing on, he dragged the blade through the side of the beast. While this one wouldn't die outright, it would die all the same. Almost nothing could survive disembowlement.

Another tremor, another, and another. They were becoming more frequent. An eerie feeling came over his biological stomach. The Grey matter of his literal gut alerting him that something wasn't right. Suddenly, the remaining yipping and injured Amaroc' began to flee. The Merle Knight was not foolish enough to think he was the culprit though.

Something was coming, something big!

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Barreling out of the darkness came a much larger, more bulbous shaped, canid looking creature. The grotesque beat snapped open its maw, bellowing with all of its mighty size as it chased the Amaroc that fled. New prey had been found by it however, as the Slayer stood in its path. Between it and those that it so feverishly sought to devour prior. Jinsoku ran at the beast, bringing his sword close while flipping it into an underhand grip. When the beast aimed to snatch him up in its maw, his cloak had once again given him the edge necessary to maneuver as intended. With a dive, he flew across the underbelly of the beast. Those wretched jaws snapping in frustration as the beast tried to stop. Pivoting, the beast managed to avoid a direct blow from the blade of the weapon. However, that crimson aura permeating from it still managed to tear a gash into one of the beast's hind legs. 

The beast bellowed in protest as it snapped at him again, in which Jinsoku rolled a few extra times with his previous momentum in order to avoid being bitten. He slid to a stop at the end of his roll, one knee to the ground, Without hesitation, his standing leg flexed, his Dao reinforcing the muscles of his legs as they bulged, swelling with twice the prowess it had a brief moment ago. Rejecting the earthen crust beneath his feet, Jinsoku leapt into the air; Defying logic and gravity alike as he did so!

The beast bounded again towards the slayer, snapping its jaws at the air twice as it followed his ascent. Tucking his legs to his chest, Jinsoku appeared to be spinning in the air, somersaulting repeatedly as he sword was still gripped underhandedly and held close. This created a crimson saw blade out of him as he began to crash back down at the larger wolf-like beast! Leaping up, its jaw snapped open and then closed about the slayer for less than a second before snout and lower jaw were bisected. Becoming lodged in the throat, Jinsoku used his immense strength to wrestle the beast's throat as he used his sword to tear his way out of it!

In an explosion of blood and viscera, he exited the creature through the wound he'd just created. Somehow, it's head was still attached, and it was still capable of movement. The beast wailed in pain as it writhed about, splattering blood about the ground as it continued to snap its jaw trying to bite anything. Even large beasts such as these panicked when their life became endangered. 

As he considered putting the beast out of its misery, he heard something faint among those blood curdling wails. The sounds of howling, just as he'd heard earlier before he was attacked by the Amaroc!

One by one the appeared from beyond the larger wolf-like creature. All the surviving ones from earlier had returned, and were now leaping and biting at the heavily injured, larger beast. As they tore it asunder, its wailing slowly died out, replaced with the sounds of starving, vicious predators eating their prize. Growling, snarling, and yipping here and there as they did so. Jinsoku stood there silently, catching his breath as that crimson aura hummed hungrily at his side. 

When the Amaroc had eaten there fill, the small pack separated, scurrying hurriedly off into the darkness with showing the Knight a second concern. In their wake, Jinsoku moved to investigate what was left of the carcass. A midst the dark fleshy and beige skeletal remain, something gleamed precariously out of the corner of his eye. Whatever it was was wedged nicely into its ribcage. Grabbing what looked like a handle, Jinsoku wriggled it a bit before hoisting it out, nearly throwing it accidently as he freed it. 

After smearing some of the filth around, he could see the hue of blue on the handle. Looking at the blade again he was certain, he'd found it. Not just any naginata, but Naga herself! After gathering a sample of the beast, he made quick work of sheathing his sword. Using his Dao to inspire pseudo-magnetism to Naga, he placed her to his back, suspending her there as he moved on to find his halberd after having thrown it earlier. When he happened upon it, he was met with a curious site. The amaroc he last struck with it was pinned to a rather large rock by the weapon. Currently the beast seemed to have lost consciousness, but he could sense that life was still in it. 

Holding his hand up, he beckoned the weapon to return to him. While it shook, it did seem to struggle for a moment before ejecting out of the beast and allowing it to hit the ground with a sharp cry following a whimper. It growled and whined as it fought to get to its feet. The beast was in such a rush to get away that it nearly drug its hind legs in its pitiful attempt to flee. Part of his had the mind to finish it, though he doubted it would survive long in that condition. In these wilds.

Not to mention the fact that now that he'd found Naga, he doubted the amaroc were the culprit after all. Unless that larger one was really just a bigger one than the rest.

Bloodied and beaten, yet victorious, the slayer casually began his stride back to the city. His stride was a bit slower than when he'd come out, and he may have had a slight limp, though he knew he'd be good as new in a few hours. Besides, what little he had to sacrifice to find Naga for Kotori paled in comparison to what he was willing to give. Still, he couldn't help but feel some modicum of regret that he couldn't have been here to save Kotori the pain of irreplaceable loss.

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After returning to town, Jinsoku prioritized checking in with Okina, repairing his gear, and self recovery. He made sure to lay low and take it easy for at least a few days as to raise suspicion from Kotori. During this time he also made it a point to make some basic sketches, and to record in his compendium the tings that he'd scene out in the field so far. Accordingly to a few of the locals, the larger wolf creature sounded like it may have been an Ahkult. Though it was mentioned that if it was, it shouldn't have been this far east. 

When he finally did return to his sister, Jinsoku brought Naga with him. He ultimately told her a dressed up version of his retrieval story, one where he was more untouchable. Able to easily slay adversaries and retrieve Naga. He explained too that the monster that claimed her legs was not an Amaroc, but something else. Despite being unsure, he gifted her with the sample he collected from it.

When he was about to depart, Kotori urged Jinsoku to keep Naga with him. She reasoned that it was a gift to him, and that she had proven incapable of being responsible for it. That and she would have no further use for it considering her extenuating circumstances. He accepted without much fight, and perhaps he could even find dedicated use out of it; Even if it wasn't crafted with the intent his other weapons had been.

There was a lot of work to be done. There was a lot to do before he could even really get started on the tasks he was mentally prepared to set upon himself.

Initially when he came to Khaiperion, it was just to check on Kotori. Without the late Commander she was all he had to come here for. Though now that he'd seen a glimpse of the darkness holding these lands, he felt as if he'd found a new sense of purpose. Bel'shir and many other worlds like it, like this one even, had the presence of the OFM. Yet here there was none. Though he himself was not the Order or Force, he was a part of it.

He swore an oath!

He swore an oath to combat and defeat the forces of chaos. To safeguard the weak. To champion man above all else, and to trespass into the domain of the gods by doing so. He was the divine spear of truth, the sword of justice. He might have just been this world's hero.

His first order of business would be to establish a base of operations. Considering this environment, it was clear to him that he wouldn't have the ability to set up shop anywhere near as great as the OFM had before him. Technology was not as reliable in these lands, meaning he would have to complete most of his requirements manually. He'd have to maintain whatever assets he acquired primarily on his own.

Once he did that, the next and most crucial part of getting set up would merely be growing his reputation. While some on this world knew him or at least knew of him, he would need most of them to be aware of his presence, especially in Madai were primarily planned to campaign. This would make finding priority targets easier. While he had no mind to recruit others to turn into slayers, he was curious if Okina would at least be willing to stick with him and see things through for better or worse. While this was a self-assigned task, she would surely scoff at the fact that he would be working for free. Risking his life for nothing. On the contrary though, his work was never for nothing.

If not for the countless lives he saved, he did it for himself.

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SUMMARY

Some time after arriving on world, a Slayer by the name of Jinsoku came to Madai in search of his younger sister. Upon reuniting with her, he discovered that she had become crippled during her short career as a Hunter. In her final act as a hunter she lost a precious weapon with sentimental value. Jinsoku promised to find it, and to return it to her when he did.

After some time searching, Jinsoku encountered a large humanoid figure. It was white and gaunt, with dry, rotting skin and a pungent stench to boot. Thanks to the nature of his weapons, the remains were too ruined to investigate further, though he noticed ice inside of its torso. A wave of Amaroc followed after, which was ultimately scared off by the presence of a larger wolf-like mammal. 

After a fierce battle with this larger beast, the Amaroc returned to finish the job for Jinsoku. His best guess was that they'd been competing in the food chain. With their hunger slaked, the Amaroc separated and fled back into the wilderness. Jinsoku found Naga within its remains and returned to Temujin with it as promised. Upon his return, Jin's sister convinced him to keep the naginata himself; To care for it as he had been entrusted to do. Along keeping and protecting Naga, a gift from the late Queen, Jinsoku has found new purpose to his life.

Brief Summary: After a wild, warm welcoming to the world by way of reuniting with his sister, a promising slayer has elected to extend his stay on world indefinitely. He has chosen to break off from his root organization in pursuit of similar ambitious goals. The Merle Knight is settling in Madai, and ultimately preparing to embark on a campaign to the west; Hoping to identify the source of the regions corruption, and to stop it if he can.

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