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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: House of Ghosts

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Tatsyo Oda - Gambler of Life

Submitted: December 25, 2015

Reads: 461

Comments: 6

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Submitted: December 25, 2015

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Tatsyu Oda

 

 

16th Century Japan

 

Have you ever listened to the forests? Really listened? There are things in this world that cannot be seen unless they want you to see them. Forever lingering, watching, listening and existing next to us without showing their true forms.

 

One such being existed in that forest, I knew it did because I listened. Clearing your mind involves more than just forgetting your worries and joys, it means that for a moment you step into the realm of nothingness. To sense them you have to loose sense of yourself, just for a moment of course, any longer and you'd find yourself with an ethereal claw inside your body before you could say banzai.

 

“I know you're here, spirit!” I called out to the unseen.

 

It answered my call with a piercing streak so loud that even Lord Nobunaga's war-cry wouldn't be able to drown it out.

 

The echoing scream had only just vanished into the abyss of trees when a strange dark mist appeared before me. It was a mist I had encountered many times. Slowly but surely the true form of the ominous figure revealed itself to me, stepping out from within the shadowy cloud.

 

It's form was unusual and to this day remains difficult to describe. I had encountered many beasts in my time, each one having it's own unique appearance. It was in the guise of  a man without flesh, a cloth clad hulk of otherworldly bones. It was as if Death himself had stepped into my realm. Either way it didn't matter, I wasn't going to run, especially from death.

 

I unsheathed my katana, placed it in front of my body and grasped its hilt tightly with both hands.

 

“Come!” I shouted, even though I was the one charging forward. It just seemed like an appropriate thing to say at the time.

 

The ghostly being stood its ground, well, floated above the ground is more accurate. Strangely, it showed no inclination to move away from my attack. I think it hadn't really acknowledged me as a threat yet, and for good reason too. My blade passed through the dark being like a leaf on water. There was no resistance, my blade simply flowed through the it without issue.

 

“I see, you're just like the rest, as expected.” I was not surprised by the events that preceded. I had encountered many otherworldly beings and each one was invulnerable to normal attacks. My blade on it's own had no effect. Each time I faced one of the spirits I prayed that my blade alone would suffice because more than anything, I detested having to rely on such a strange power.

 

I can't quite remember when I first discovered my hellish abilities. I suspect I activated it for the first time through an accident. It was a power that could be seen as both a blessing and a curse. To me, just calling it a cursed blessing seemed more appropriate.

 

Despite my reluctance I had no choice but to use my powers, for it was the only thing I knew for certain that had the ability to vanquish the strange evils that inhabited the lands.

 

I placed the edge of my blade against my hand and cut it open, letting the blood run down on to the surface of the blade. Through trial and error in my youth I was able to discover that my own blood was the activation for the power, the amount of blood didn't matter.

 

“Gamble! My blade shall take your life!”

 

After saying the words my blade was enveloped in a pulsating red aura, the gamble had been registered. Now it was time to see if lady luck was on my side.

 

I dashed forward, once again making the mysterious spirit my target. Its past disinterest suddenly vanished as my blade closed in. This attack would be different and the spirit could sense it. Unfortunately, for the spirit, my blade was faster than it's defensive instinct. Before it had the chance to escape, my blade made contact. Unlike the previous time I could clearly feel resistance, I could feel the sensation of my blade cutting through the spirit's body. It was different from cutting the flesh of man, it was almost like trying to cut fast flowing water, it required an additional push of strength to get the job done.

 

The spirit released its piercing shriek once again. This time it signalled its own demise. The strange figure became nothing but a cloud of mist before being dispersed by the wind. I listened to the forest again, I could not sense it any longer, it was dead. My gamble power had worked, I would have known instantly if it hadn't. You see, my ability came with deadly consequence. I could make anything I wanted into a fifty-fifty gamble. For me, everything could be decided with a coin flip, though the flipping of a coin was never actually necessary.

 

I could heal wounds, vanquish evil, win money, anything I wanted could be mine. However, like I said, my power was to gamble and no matter how lucky I was there were times when I lost the gamble. I learned, the hard way, that the consequence for making a gamble and loosing was physical pain and not just a headache or nose bleed. No, depending on the gamble made, failing would cause my body damage. For example, I vanquished the spirit by betting that my blade could take it's life, if lady luck decided that I would loose the gamble then my body would have probably been in tatters, I might even have died.

 

Due to my powers unpredictable nature I did my best to avoid using it unless necessary. Unfortunately that same power was the only thing capable of killing the evil spirits, and killing said spirits was what put food on my table.

 

Due to the nature of my job, killing monsters and spirits, a great level of trust was required between myself and my clientele. It was hard to bring back proof that the spirit was gone but it was very easy for them to pretend it definitely wasn't. At the time I was a permanent resident of a quaint village on the outskirts of a large forests, spirits seemed to migrate in the forests so the village was always being troubled by evil. That meant there was always work for a man like me and fortunately the village elder always paid his dues.

 

“Another good fight, Tatsuya?” The elder asked me as soon as I walked through his door.

 

“I don't know if I can say gambling my life away can be seen as a 'good fight.'”

 

“Nonsense, everyday is a gamble for a warrior, is it not?” The Elder chuckled as he handed me a bag of coin.

 

“Ah, I suppose that is true. I guess I just prefer having more control over the fight than letting luck take over.” The Elder was aware of my unique abilities, he was one of the few people who did. It was not the kind of thing one could openly tell the world.

 

“I understand your reluctance, but you do us, no, you do the world a great service.”

 

Service, duty, they were words I was brought up on. The way of the sword was a path of loyalty, whether it be loyalty to a master, loyalty to the people or simply loyalty to yourself. I was raised upon such teachings and had always respected them. However, I felt that the act of using my powers betrayed those teachings. I was able to vanquish great evils, yes, but it felt wrong that my swordsmanship alone was not enough. However, having the power to fight evil and not using it was an ever bigger insult to the teachings. Thus I picked the lesser insult and did what I could to protect the innocent from the evil that haunted the world.

 

The village itself was small but far from empty. It had an unusual density, but not so busy to say that it was cramped. Perhaps alive is a better word. The village was alive, the people in it were alive. That fact alone was enough to force myself awake in the morning, force myself to hunt the evil that would choose to steal those lives away too early.

 

I made my way to my humble abode, a small shack at the edge of the village. I assume the village elder placed me there in the event that a spirit tried to sneak in during the night. A pointless move really, I would have sensed them long before they had the chance to step foot in the village. My fight with the evil spirit had definitely caused me a great amount of fatigue, I could think of nothing better to do than rest when I finally made it home. Usually I would have visited the old women next door and bought some of her cakes, take a stroll and have a good old drink but I just didn't feel up to it that night. If only I knew that was my last chance to ever experience such simple pleasantries. Regardless, I fell asleep almost instantly, letting the day's tiredness slip away.

 

“My child who has already accepted his true calling. Do you hear me?”

 

“Who are you?” I called out to the voice in my dream.

 

“You must fight them. You must stop the Nyx, that is your mission, your destiny.”

 

“The Nyx? Do you mean the evil spirits? Is that their true name?”

 

There was no answer.

 

I woke up from the dream  a moment after, a cold sweat covered my forehead, as if I had experienced a nightmare. However the sweat was simply a prediction of the nightmare to come.

 

My room shook with a violent tremble. A swirl of colours appeared before me, growing in size until a large circular portal inhabited the room. I leapt to my feet and grabbed my katana from its sheathe.  I wondered if it was perhaps a very daring evil spirit who thought it smart to invade my home but it was nothing of the sort.

 

A group of strange looking men stepped out from within the strange spiral portal. Each one was dressed in strange, heavy looking armour. Each had a gas mask strapped to their face, far more sophisticated than any I had seen before. Likewise, the guns they held in their hands appeared to be much more advanced than the ones used in Japan.

 

“Foreigners? Why have you come?”

 

“Do not resist. You're gift will have no effect on us.”

 

One of the armoured men issued me an order, an order I was more than happy to reject.

 

“Gift? Is that what you call it? I'm sorry to say that my title is not gift-bearer. I am Tatsuya Oda, the Samurai!”

 

I charged forward at the group of mysterious invaders. A jolt of excitement was sent throughout my body. My enemies were men, not monsters and for reasons I did not understand my powers were of no use against them. It was the perfect scenario. My blade had long craved the feeling of a real battle, a battle fought with nothing but steel!

 

I reckon I took at least a couple of them by surprise. Did they the think that I was useless without my powers? A foolish notion. The swift edge of my blade struggled to cut all the way through their hardened armour. But where one cut didn't suffice, a second was more than enough to finish the job. The momentum of my sudden attack had led to three causalities, none of them being myself. However, the battle was not mine to win. I was outnumbered and out-armed, the strange visitors quickly subdued me with a few blows to the head using their iron clad fists. My only consolation was that I was at least able to kill a few of them in the process.

 

By the time I came to it was obvious that I was no longer in a world I knew. My senses had always been good and all of them were telling me that something was wrong. The air smelt different, the air felt different, the sound of nature was different. Everything was different. I was no longer in my world. To make matters worse I found myself being dragged towards a hulking box of metal. My body tried to resist but I was clearly still too woozy from the aforementioned blows to the head. They threw me inside the box, but not before taking away my sword, despite my barely conscious protesting. A metal door slammed shut, leaving me alone in the darkness.

 

Alone in the darkness of a world that was not my own.

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 ShakeilKanish. All rights reserved.

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