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Rynn

The World Spun Backwards: Reboot

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"Who would have thought such a peaceful looking region had so many bandits..." Yuki murmured to herself as she wiped the blood off her blade, looking down from the tree limb she was resting in. "Well, maybe they'll learn their lesson after this. It's not like they were particularly strong for humans anyway."

"Psh, as if. Idiots like that never learn. I still think you should have finished them off, you're such a baby," Tsubasa complained, floating bored beside the irritated looking fox spirit.

"Tsubasa, you say that every time we're attacked by bandits. It's not like that group was particularly successful anyway, their clothes were little more than rags, and only one of them had a knife. I suppose I didn't appreciate them interrupting breakfast, however. How rude..." she said with a teasing giggle to the small ghost as she slipped her sword back into the sheath, and reattached it to her belt.

It had been a little over a year and a half since the two of them arrived in the land once known as North America, and they had finally made their way through the Rocky Mountains. They had been following rumors from an ancient whale spirit they heard while in Greenland that one of the members of the group responsible for the destruction of her village was in hiding there, after being injured by a powerful deity that he had the unpleasant experience of crossing paths with. It was a shaky idea at best, but it seemed that it might be right after hearing reports of strange deaths by the local villagers. At this point it seemed much more convincing than their last wild goose chase ever did.

"I wonder who this guy is though," she paused to take a bite of dried apples, "not many could stand up to a deity that powerful and survive, much less escape almost unscathed. I wonder if I'll be able to kill him even if we do meet up."

"Hah! So you finally admit your weakness! I bet that whale just made that part up. They're always exaggerating like that, I mean, he went on for twenty minutes about encountering a giant metal whale that humans rode around in just after that damn seal finally broke. I mean, who would believe that!"

"I've already told you, it's called a submarine."

"Not you too! You're so gullible Yuki..."

"Keep it up and I'll forcibly detach you from my soul," Yuki gave Tsubasa a rather menacing glare, getting annoying by her thickheadedness.

"OooOOOOooohhh... scary..."

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Klaus wandered through the forest, enjoying the sound of birds singing. He had slept soundly, and the sun shone brightly through the trees. Suddenly, his ears perked, poking through his curly mop of brown hair. Someone was talking about some deity. He shivered, he didn't like deities. Walking closer, he was able to eavesdrop. The talk had turned to whales and submarines. Interested, Klaus made his presence known. "Good morning!" he said brightly.

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Yuki's ears perked at the sound of the sound of the stranger's voice, knocking the loosely placed hat off her head. She managed catch it with two fingers before it fell away away. 'Hmm... he doesn't seem dangerous...' she thought to herself, slipping down from the tree and landing on the soft forest floor.

"Good morning," she said with a small bow, 900 year old habits tend to die hard. Yuki smiled, happy to meet someone who wasn't trying to interrupt her breakfast for once, "You must be the first person I've run into in these mountains who has not made a fool of themselves in some attempt to rob me. I hope my muttering has not disturbed you..." the young looking girl was quite aware of how strange a foreigner talking to themselves in an odd accent, in old fashioned speech must appear. "My name is Yuki, what brings you around these parts?"

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Atrus kicked at the dirt as he walked, stirring up a few dust clouds at his feet. How long ago was the last town? About two weeks back? Needless to say, he was starting to feel a bit antsy and wanted someone to talk with. Even if all he'd say was "Uh-huh," or "Wow, really?", or possibly even "You what?". However, he'd take any of that right now. Trees were only good for conversation for so long.

After several minutes, he came to a split in the road. One led higher up the mountain, whereas the other would lead him to the river bank. "Guess I'm going on a hike," he said, taking the path to the right that had more of an incline. I can try and ride the stream back down if I still want some fish later he reasoned, beginning to pace himself for the walk ahead.

A few hours of walking later, he had yet to see the forest change one bit. Not paying attention from getting so bored however, he ended up tripping on an exposed tree root he hadn't noticed. "Oof!" he yelled, rolling over and getting himself covered in a decent amount of dirt. "Well, I was saying how I'd go for the stream if I got bored," he said, beginning to listen around for sounds of trickling water.

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"Same to you," Yuki smiled at the seemingly kind, if slightly odd traveler, 'Strange, he smells... human, though certainly doesn't look it. A side effect of magic, perhaps?' she thought to herself as she shook his hand. After formalities were out of the way, she leaned back against the ancient oak tree, letting out a small yawn before offering Klaus a strip of dried beef that she'd pick up in the last trading town, "There certainly are a lot of bandits around here lately, and you don't appear to be armed. I would assume you have some sort of spiritual power?"

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"Nah," Klaus replied, taking the offered beef. "As human as they come. Well, except for the ears and tail. Those I did myself. I liked wolves a lot when I was younger, see. I'm rambling aren't I? Sorry, happens from time to time. Anyway, back to bandits. I haven't really seen any quite yet, and I suppose you couldn't exactly stop one with a sketchbook now could you?"

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"I see... perhaps being female is the cause then... no matter, They are hardly a threat. Though in regards to sketchpads, I once knew a man who could bring his drawings to life. It was quite impressive, and the drawings were excellent cooks. I didn't eat that well for another five hundred years!" she laughed a bit, "In any case, if you're unarmed and heading west, you should probably stay close by me. I'm familiar with dealing with bandits. The ones I've run into are more groups of kids looking to cause trouble. They tend to congregate near the start of these mountain passes, but don't stray too far in. That's where the dangerous ones are, especially on a road that's been here for around a thousand years" Yuki looked down the path, her face serious. The dirt road was barely wide enough for two horse carts to make it through, but it had once been part of I-90. "If you don't want to then you should probably turn back, men like that are strong and don't hesitate to kill, but I can fend them off without too much trouble most of the time."

She placed the conical hat on her head and tied the strap, taking a glance up at the sky to check the time and weather. 'I wish I had a better idea of what was up ahead... the wind is being blocked by the mountain, so the air is too still for me to catch the scent of anything suspicious. I used to know this route by heart when I was a kid, but now it's giving me a bad feeling... I'm sure it's just my imagination though'. She looked over to Klaus, "I'm going to head out now, I want to try to cover as much ground as I can before dark."

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"Just be sure to pay attention. I don't know for sure what's up ahead, I've just got a bad feeling that this won't be uneventful..." Yuki started off up the path, the air still and quiet.

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After walking for about another ten minutes, Atrus had found a lake of somewhat decent size. Taking his arm guards and ankle hoops off, he placed them safely next to a tree trunk. This is why accessories can be impractical he thought to himself, deciding to keep his tunic on so as to get it washed as well. He'd just hang it out to dry later.

Making sure his spark key was tied tightly around his neck, he dove into the water, and began rubbing off all the dirt and mud that he had gotten himself into. This process took a few minutes, but eventually, he resurfaced, clean as a whistle. As if to compliment this thought, he decided to start whistling to himself. It was a song he had picked up in one of the previous towns. It had been in a language long since dead, so he hadn't bothered to memorize the words. But the tune stuck in his head. Kicking around the water some to make sure he was in a sunny spot, Atrus continued to float around on the surface.

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Yuki's prediction of bandits had mostly been correct, as within a half hour of starting along the mountain pass the two of them had been jumped by a small group of rough looking highwaymen. However they proved to be more of an irritation than a serious threat, and the group of four men patrolling the area were quickly dealt with, allowing Yuki and Klaus to continue on their way. After another few miles they came upon a mountain lake.

"Let's rest here, I need to refill my water," she swished around the small amount of water remaining in her bamboo water container, and gestured for Klaus to follow her. After trudging through some brush and moving towards a clearing, she froze upon noticing the gear on the ground, eyes scanning the lake surface for the owner. After a moment or two, she noticed the ripple around someone floating out in the sun. With one hand on the sword's sheath, unsure of if the spirit out in the water was a threat or not, she called out, "Hello? Are these yours?" and gestured towards the accessories by the tree trunk, "We're not here to rob you or anything, simply looking for a place to rest."

She was having a bit of difficulty making out the aura around the stranger, though she was unsure if that had something to do with the weird feeling she was getting from the mountain or not, "You have any idea? Tsubasa?" she asked under her breath.

"Afraid not..." the small ghost appeared just as uncertain.

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Feeling a bit confused by the two, Atrus decided that his nap in the water would have to be put on hold, and stood up from the water. And he wasn't worried about losing his things, they were only worth... on second thought, maybe he should get back to them.

"It's not a problem. I was just taking a bath was all," he said, shaking the water off himself and wringing any water remaining. Holding his hand up, the arm braces and ankle hoops briefly shuddered, before hopping over to his person. Putting them back on, he looked very curiously into the girl's eyes from where he stood in the water. He tilted his head in contemplation, not blinking. Finally finishing his rather quick evaluation, he stepped out of the water. "Name's Atrus. Sad to say I'm a bit new to these parts," he said, a 'go-figure' expression on his face. "But I'm always up for meeting new people. Have to be with the jobs I've gotten. Who might you two be?"

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"I go by Yuki. I'm not technically new to these parts, though if you couldn't tell it's been a very, very long time since I was last here," she looked over to a pile of rocks that were probably the visitor center, though her memory of the lake was fuzzy at best. She had her hat on, so most humans wouldn't have been able to tell, but she was fairly certain that the being in front of her knew she was a spirit. Deciding to not risk this becoming a confrontation, she let her left hand slip off the wooden sheath and fall to her side, the fox giving Atrus a soft smile, "A lot has changed since then, as you can probably imagine, with the fall of the old civilizations and all."

She relaxed a bit, deciding that if he had intended on attacking the two of them the battle would have well been under way by now, and leaned back against the thick old tree, "Do you mind if I ask where you're from?"

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"Pretty far from here," Atrus said. He recalled that his journey to this place had required some decent swimming. Feeling briefly grateful for being an aquatic species, he shook his head and got back to the conversation. "So, you two headed somewhere?" he asked, walking over, stretching out some, and leaning back to sit against the tree he had set his things by. "It looks like you've met a few of the locals already," he said, referring to several cuts they seemed to be sporting.

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"Bandits seem to have a thing for foreign girls wandering around alone," she noticed Atrus looking at the cut on her face, "Though these cuts are from running through the brush when I fought them off. I wasn't expecting leaves to be quite so sharp. I'm just glad it didn't cut up my clothes. To answer your question... I dunno about Klaus here, we just met, but I'm looking for someone I have some... business with. I got information a while back that he might be hiding in some ruins on the other side of these mountains," her face went from thoughtful to serious. 'Something's coming. The bandits? No, bandits don't making a rumbling... it's big, but doesn't feel that strong.'

Yuki drew her sword, the blade ringing softly in the still air, "Hey, Atrus, can you fight? I think we must be in some low class spirit's territory, and it probably thinks we're challenging it."

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Looking around and putting his hands to where his ear holes were, Atrus stood up. "Hmm. Wasn't getting anything on my way here. Must have been hiding from us. Probably just wants to play," he said, untying his spark key. The key glowed for a second, before quickly changing to its full size.

"In which case, I would suggest we try and finish introducing ourselves later," he said as he bowed, before changing to a defensive stance, the prism on the volt staff beginning to give off an electrical buzzing sound.

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"One trying to put on a show. It either means that it's weak and is trying to make itself look big... or is strong and very melodramatic, an irritating habit some of the stronger evil spirits have. Since it's using rain, clouds and wind it must specialize in either water or.... wait... it's using wind AND water..." Yuki's face became dead serious as she tossed her hat to the side, the wind picking it up and carrying it away. Her tails, and ears popped out, and her clan markings appeared on her face, her eyes glowing a cold blue, "This could be more difficult than I anticipated... either there's two of them, or whoever is doing this is a lot stronger than they're letting on..." the fox lifted her blade, the edge glowing bright. With a sudden flick of her arm, the energy glowing around the blade separated, racing up towards the sky, cutting a tear in the black clouds, which oozed an eerie purple glow, "Now I see, you were using the clouds to mask your strength, how clever. Enough of this nonsense though, get down from there or leave."

"Pssh, you're no fun," a low, but strangely almost playful voice came from the dissipating clouds, revealing a mildly strong aura, "Lemme guess, you're one of those self-righteous spirits who was locked up on some speck of dirt for a few years, so you think you're all that, right? Though I'll admit, you /are/ quite pretty, what's a fox like you doing traveling around with a human and... hmm... I dunno what to make of you, oh well!"

"Are you seriously hitting on me after that pathetic performance? As if I'd do anything but kill scum like you."

"You're loss, but regardless, what are you three doing in my lake?," a human-like spirits landed in front of the three, his hair bright blue, as were the various markings covering his body, "I DO hope you weren't going anywhere near it, after all I can hardly have travelers touching my water." a slightly twisted looking smile emerged onto his face.

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Instead of saying anything, Atrus began very slowly swishing the end of his volt staff around in circles above them. After several turns, the staff began trailing a thick yellow energy, which he began directing around like a whip. The energy traced a neat circle around the three of them, before the shape of a dome briefly flashed around them, until it faded away, leaving only a burn mark in the ground. Atrus stabbed the volt staff into the ground, so as to keep the shield established away from him.

"I apologize sir for trespassing on your home, and I imagine these two here had no ill will towards you either," Atrus said, stepping out of the recently generated shield to show he meant no harm. "We can avoid any confrontation if you simply let us pass by. In return we will never speak of this place to anyone," Atrus said, staring calmly into the spirit's face. Behind his back however, several red electrical sparks could be seen dancing around his left pointer claw.

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