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[Fiction] A New Perspective


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From what he'd been told, and smelled that first night, Long knew of at least one major difference with this world's version of himself. Ryu was Ryoko over here. He stood outside the palatial Hideyoshi home North of Tokyo and took it in. The Hideyoshi didn't rule Japan, but Yusuke Hideyoshi headed Nippontai. When he'd made several inquiries about meeting Ryoko Yusuke had met him with utter arrogance. "Just what business do you have with my elder sister?"

"I would simply like to speak with her."

"You and every man in Asia. Her time is not for weaklings, for those who do matter to this world."

Long bristled at the insult but kept his human form. "Come now Yuske-san, clearly you know that it is not right to judge one by their power, but by how they use it."

"You have so little that teaching you a lesson would be no trouble at all fool."

"Then it shouldn't be a problem for someone so obviously powerful as yourself." Yusuke's face flushed with embarrassment and He launched straight at Long. Long held him off easily, though he knew enough than to not really go all out against him without knowing the limits of his power. He allowed several hits, but the wounds sealed quickly. He never once went on the offensive, but he held Yusuke at dead even. Yusuke was winded, having been using a vast variety of effects to no avail to hurt this newcomer.

Long felt a massive quantum signature rising below and disengaged from Yusuke and turned so he could face his real objective. Ryoko Hideyoshi was the absolute picture of grace and female beauty. She also was hiding her power just as Long was. Long bowed deeply. "Lady Hideyoshi, I apologize for this spectacle. It was not my intention to battle a member of your family.."

"Battle?! All you did was defend, you never once took the offensive. You are no warrior, what would you know of a real battle?" Yusuke's words showed his youth, his hot-headedness and just how similar to Yumiko he was.

With a single hand Ryoko silenced him. "He knows more than you think Yusuke. You are winded and tired, this newcomer has considerable energy left. The warrior knows when to strike, and when to stay his hand. Besides, if he truly wished you or I harm, he has far more than enough ability to make good on any threat." Evidently, she could read signatures just as skillfully as he could, and she knew what Long could really do in fight.

"But sister, you have so much to do.."

"I have canceled all further activities for today. This gentleman and I have much to discuss." Her words were an ironclad command, that all would obey. "As you wish sister. He turned to Long and nodded. Welcome to the Hideyoshi Palace, may enlightenment come to you." With that he disappeared. Long's gaze turned back to Ryoko and she smiled. "You must forgive him, he carries much responsibility. Behind Leading Nippontai, protecting me runs a very close second. Now you've come a long way, come let us take a wallk in the garden, and talk as equals." She desceneded back down into the expansive garden and Long followed her quietly.

They walked abreast as equals in silence. Once she seemed to fall and he reached out and caught her hand to steady her. They stopped once they came to a massive cherry tree at the edge of a large pond. Ducks glided about the water and he could here all the various sounds that made up the harmony of nature. "You are not what you appear to be, Ryu Hideyoshi." Long looked at her, mildly impressed that she already knew. "You're correct Lady Hideyoshi." She smiled and patted his shoulder. "Ryoko will do Ryu, we are siblings of a kind are we not?"

He smiled as he nodded. "Hai, Ryoko, that we are indeed."

"The form you wear causes you such pain, why wear it?" Her face showed acctual concern.

"It has become a habit I'm affraid. Too often my normal form has intimidated those I'd call friendd, and has gotten me attacked because of it's monstrous nature." With that simple admission he releases the form, returning to his natural state. Gleaming white and ebony black fur, eight feet of tiger/human hybrid and softly glowing blue eyes. "Your form is beautiful Ryu, Yet I sense an immense distrust of it."

"It reminds many of someone else, someone who forgot the lessons of the past, who didn't value life." Long's response betrayed some of the bitterness on the subject.

"And you are mostly affraid they will think that you will become him eventually."

"Yes. I strive to be more, to walk a path he did not, but with preconception so against me, it is difficult."

"I see. But your family embraces you, many of your friends accept you. Is that not enough?"

Long finally saw what he should have seen. "When you touched me you saw my life, or at least glimpsed the highlights of it. Though I'd say your version of the ability seems much more accurate."

"The past is written and cannot be changed. It's easy to be right when one speaks of it."

"You have me at a disadvantage Ryoko, You know all about me, and yet I know little about you."

"Then allow me to equalize this equation. She launched into a history of Japan, how they were quite similar here to his native Japan, and were on the cutting edge of technology. She spoke of the rise of novas, and how Yusuke had been groomed by the previous leader of Nippontai to take over when he retired. She spoke of the Hideyoshi, and how by Their granfather's time they had become prominent in Society. When both she and Yusuke had errupted and claimed their inherant divinity, the family's bloodline was elevated to the highest level of status. She sang the praises of Yusuke and how be braved any danger to protect her and Tomoe and Sayako, the other two Hideyoshi Sisters. Sunset was nearing as she began to wind down.

"Through it all Long listened, attentively. All the while he was compiling a list of what abilities she possesed. When she finished he spoke. "Thank you for the wonderful story of our heritage here. But I do have a question. Yusuke is strong, but his power is limited. Yours far exceeds his, yours exceeds mine in many respects. You too hide what you truly are."

Ryoko nodded and looked over the water. "Imagine the shame you felt when Timeslip surpassed you. Here, He has been groomed to be the brightest star in Japan, and yet I am still stronger in many ways. It is much like that."

"I see. So you, like a good sister, allow him to have his glory, allowing his star to burn brightly, all the while using your abilities to see that he doesn't burn out."

"You're wiser than you give yourself credit for Ryu."

Ryu looks down and for the first time picks up the one out of place trait for Ryoko. "You have a tail." As if to emphasize the statement, his own tail flicks about behind him. Slowly her tail which had been coiled about her waist unfurled. "Yes, It's the one peice whe share isn't it? I imagine you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine?"

"Indeed. There are some who have learned to read my real mood by how it moves. In a way my tail is the most honest part of me." His voice though jovial was becoming somewhat strained. He had not fed his new requirement and there was little time to change it to something more palatable. He barely heard Ryoko move to his side and lay her head against his shoulder. "It's alright brother. I know what you need and it is alright."

Long drew the energy he needed from her in silence as the watched the sun set on another day. "Thank you Ryoko, sister."

Theyremained there through the sunset and just as Long heard gravel crunch on the path behind them Ryoko moved from her position at his shoulder to one across from him And he steeled himself as he returned to his human form reflexively. A servant walked up and bowed to the earth. "frogive my intrusion Lady Hideyoshi, but Yusuke-sama has asked for me to bring you aand your guest to the evening meal. Ryoko nodded to the servant and then to Long. "Come, let us go eat, and I will introduce you to the other members of this noble house." They both rose and She hooked an arm inwith his as they walked back to themain building, the Servant going before them to announce their presence to the others.

It was much to Long's suprise that when all the Hideyoshi siblings were seated, the head of the table was vacant. Then he saw why. He recognized the cool blue eyes and close cut black hair from his childhood. The man before him was older, his black hair streaked with grey but the eyes maintained their youthful sharpness. Minobu Hideyoshi took his place at the head of the table and nodded to his family. "It is good to see my eldest daughter has brought a guest with her for once. Welcome young man, to our table. Please, enjoy your stay here at our home tonight. If you require anything, name it and you shall have it."

Yusuke nodded. Tell me this, I have never heard of a nova like you in our domain, where do you come from,what is your name, and how do you know of my sister?"

Long smiled and nodded. "I am called Long, I came here from the Americas to speak face to face with Lady Ryoko on some important matters. She and I met one night and she invited me to visit her."

Ryoko nods. "Forgive me Father, brother. I should have told you before hand, but you know what my schedule is like, even I can forget things."

Yusuke nods. "It is alright, I must say Long, you gave me quite a workout. Better than any I've had in months with my sparring partners here. We need to do it again, though I won't hold back next time, and you had best not as well."

Long nods. "Agreed Yusuke-san. I look forward to our next match."

Minobu nods, the older man knowing Long is only telling half the story. "I see. Well, Ryoko, we could have prepared him a proper place to stay if we had known, but it can still be arranged."

Long was about to protest, but Minobu looked at him. The old man's eyes converyed the obvious message. I wish to speak with you, you will stay. He merely nodded. "If you are sure it is alright then yes I would like to stay in your house tonight."

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Later that evening Minobu found Long sitting on the porch overlooking the pond. "You are close to my daughter, yet I would venture it is not in any regular sense of it."

Long looked to Minobu, a thousand things coming to his mind to say, but the truth being the easiest to say. "Yes Minobu-sama. She and I are opposite halves of the same coin so to say. I come from an alternate reality. My name is Ryu Hideyoshi. In this world Ryoko is my counterpart."

"You expect me to believe this why?"

"Because i know my father could always tell when any of his children were lying." Blue eyes meet and Minobu accepts it. This young man is the child of an alternate version of himself. "It's incredible. I noticed some resemblance, but I didn't want to put ou on the spot too much in front of the others. Tell me, what kind of man am I in your world."

Long's shoulders slumped, before he spoke Minobu knew the answer. "My father has been dead for almost seventeen years. I saw him die, and in combination of other factors I ascended into the beginnings of the power I now command. I was taken by another nova and trained, and forged into what may had thought was the ultimate weapon. It took a decade for someone to break through everything and start bringing me back to being a human." He goes on retelling the events of Timeslip and his marriage, of Shen-kahns exile, of Amsterdam and the aftermath, and finally why he's really here in this world.

"So You are about to be a father? How wonderful for you."

"Yes, but I won't be here for her. at the moment I am at the mervy of my soon to be ex-wife to see her and come to this world. When we return for her to face justice, It may well be the last time i come."

"Perhaps Ryoko can help you Ryu-san."

"That is what I hope for too. I wish to be a part of Yokiko's life, even if only a tiny one. I don't want her to forget who she is, to forget who her parents are."

"A noble idea. I will see that Ryoko lends you whatever aid she can."

"You are most kind Minobu-sama."

"You are family Ryu, how can i not help you?"

He walked off leaving Long with a smile on his face and looking at the pond. "With her help maybe I can figure out why I can't do this."

The next morning Long rises from his bed and eats with the family early. Ryoko comes back dressed in fairly conservative clothing, Yusuke is with her as well. "Good morning Long. I have a favor to ask of you."

"If it's in my power, I'll do it."

"Good. I want you to fight me for real then. Don't hold back. I have to see something."

Long looked at him and nodded. "Alright Yusuke I'll fight you, but we need somewhere very large and empty."

"Space is always an option, but it's less fun. There are no restrictions there. Though there is the Nomiya range, fifty square kilometers for nothing but nova on nova training."

Sounds good." Long looks to Ryoko. When we finish I need to talk to you about something."

"Oh i can imagine Long, I think though that I'll watch this little battle, to keep the two of you from going to far."

"I don't need a referee sister." Ryoko speared him with one of her "looks". "Perhaps I just want to see a good fight between powerful novas. All of your other battles are so one-sided. Perhaps Long here can prove interesting."

The two men nodded. If Ryoko wanted it there was really no option other than to fight.

She opened a warpgate easily reminiscent of Long's and they all went through it. The landscape was barren, perfect for a battle. "Take your positions, raise what defenses or effects you wish."

Yuske flew about a hundred meters off and began summoning all his defenses and offensive might. He shone like a miniature sun. "Come on Long, it's time to get this started." Long nodded and the eufiber covering him became a simple pair of shorts. His tail uncoiled from his waist and he smiled. "You want full power, you got it, and my real form." Sinew and bone popped and cracked as Long returned to the 8 foot man-tiger form he wore normally. Through a guttural snarl his lips curled back. "Now THAT feels sooooo gooooooooooood...." Flesh and fur became metal, and the ground cratered under the stress. Long's flamelike aura roared to life as his forcefield formed an almost imperceptible outline of his metal body. Wicked talons extended from his hands and feet and his tail lashed about behind him.

Across from him Yusuke was starting to have serious doubts about the weakness of his foe. His power signature is greater than mine, hell I'm reading massive reserves and he doesn't look like he's done yet.

Long looked at him. "I am ready. Our table is set, let us begin!" With that he leapt into motion at twice the speed of sound seend a plume of dust behind him. Yusuke smiled and leapt into motion. sparks flew as thie fire like auras impacted dozens of times and then they each appeared opposite of where they started. Long stood straight and turned his head. "Gotcha."

Yusuke felt something warm on his shoulder. a hand to it pulled away bathed in Crimson. "First blood to you." He launched back across the feld and caught Long around his waist. Long easily weighed several tons in his metal form but Yusuke lifted him and tossed him up into the air. He followed through by rocketing up into him pushing him higher. Then he vanished and reappeared above him. He slammed his feet into Long's back, sending another wave of plasma like sparks into the sky. They impacted with a massive crash and created a crater twenty meters across. Yusuke admired his handywork, having used that move dozens of times before to take down those who made themselves heavier for more power. It was then that he heard it.

It was a soft rumble, but it grew. Long was laughing Yusuke stepped off him as the giant tiger man stirred. "Thanks for working that kink out. Now I can really get started." With no further words Yusuke found himself hoisted into the air by Long's tail and felt at least a dozen impacts as long punched him. Each blow was like a piston slamming into him. Under the onslaught of so many blows he felt two ribs crack. He finally pried the tail from around his neck and fell slightly before a massive clawed foot sped upwards. razor sharp metallic claws tore his shirt and through the top layer of his skin. The impact of the flip kick sent him into the air. He tried to recoverhimself. As he looked down he saw Long vanish and then looked up.

Long was descending rapidly feet first. His clawed feet found purchase in Yusuke's shoulders before he could move and drove him into the crate, deepening it in a massive explosion. "Never ever let up or think your opponent is weaker. They are always stronger until they are dead or defeated." Claws curled and Yusuke screamed as the talons peirced further into his shoulders and back. His eyes blazed and a column of fire errupted from the crater. Long emereged from the end of it, slightly tarnished, but with no real damage. Yusuke rocked up too, slinging more energy bolts into him. Long didn't make an effort to dodge. Instead the blasts obscured him, and what he was doing. Light glowed from each of his talons and then shot forth out and around Yusuke. It wasn't his strongest attack, but it was very flashy. Multiple explosions buffeted Yusuke but he held his ground and launched through it all back at the Tiger. He drove his arm hard into Long's sloar plexus and was rewarded with a grunt from the massive Tiger. The impact sent Long flying through the air and into another crater. "Too fast for you Long?"

"Not at all. I just wanted to see your maximum speed. Now this..." he began altering the flow of time around himself and pushed it to it's maximum effect. He was only a blur to even Ryoko as he moved. He simply appeared before Yusuke and slammed both his fists into his chest then brought them back around before he could even fly away from the impact back onto his shouldders, slamming him into the ground. Long's hands began to glow and blue plasma fire arced between them. "This is a real attack."

Yusuke feared the worst and closed his eyes. he couldn't feel his arms. He couldn't move and he'd asked for this. He'd been outclassed completely. Perhaps This Long would give him a warrior's death despite everything. "I yield." At the last second Long's arms shifted skyward, and a great pillar of energy roiled forth. A blinding blue beam fanned out blocking out even the sun. The energy storm abated and Long looked down to Yusuke, who only just now opened his eyes. He stared up as Long retracted his claws and shifted back to his human form. Ryoko descended and laid her hands to Yusuke's shoulders. He could feel her touch sealing his wounds and resetting his shoulders. he ws suprised when she stepped back and saw Long's hand extended to him. He took it and Long helped him up. "Thank you Long. That was most impressive, and humbling."

"I rarely get to fight anywhere approaching my full power, finding someone who can take it is quite nice. You've got some slick moves of your own Yusuke. Using my mass against me was genius."

Ryoko nodded to Yusuke. "If you're satisfied brother, I'd like to continue on with Long on my own. Yusuke nodded. "Of course if you'll do me the favor of sending me back. I want a rematch Long."

"Any time Yusuke." After Yusuke leaves Ryoko turns to Long. "You went easy on him still."

"Killing him wasn't what I wanted, so of course i did. I did show him enough I hope that he'll leave me alone."

""I expect he'll try to find a way to get you to join Nippontai. With your power no one would dare give us trouble."

"You've got more raw power.."

"But you are the Warrior. Ryu Hideyoshi. You caannot escape it. I saw the look in your eyes as you fought. You love it. It thrills you to be in battle with a strong opponent. You enjoy dancing with Death and surviving."

"You're quite perceptive. I do love battling strong opponents. I just don't have that option at home anymore. That last attack is one that would get me hunted down in my home timestream, yet it's second nature for me to use it. I would have likely killed him if i had hit him with it."

"then why use it? The usual answer, Pride. I wanted Yusuke to see I am simply beyond his power right now. Perhaps being beaten like that, showing him his weakness will spur him on to more power. Perhaps it will teach him some humility."

She gives him a coy smile. "At least Ryoko I admit my pride. I know you've got more power, but that doesn't always matter. You focused on constructive power, and I on destructive. You and I would make quite a team."

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  • 5 weeks later...

She did not respond to him but led him away. He recognized where they were going soon enough, but remained Silent. They arrived at the mountain that in another world had been his home for many years.

"Here, brother, I will tell you why you've failed to do what you ruly wish to do." Ryoko motioned for im to sit on the boulder across from her and he did so.

"I'm all ears."

"You approach the issue logically, analyitcally. You understand all the science behind what you do, what you're trying to do, but in going that route you totally miss what should have been glaringly obvious."

He nods once following along. "You are trying to find a human solution to a nova problem."


"Humanity seeks to analyze and dissect that which they don't understand. You have studied Timeslip in great length yet you never grasped the core difference between you. You are totally focused on control, nothing happens unless you will it so. She however controls her abilities through instinct. She wishes to peirce the veil between realities and does so."

Long's jaw dropped. It was all true. He had been looking at this like a baseline, dissecting it trying to see the science, and to date had failed utterly at it.

Ryoko read his face and smiled. "But you do know another way of doing things don't you?"

Long thought to all his training here in this spot on another world. How once he convinced himself he could do it, that he had to do it, he had done so. "Yes, I do know another method, a nova method."

It was though his eyes had been opened to a truth he'd always known, yet forgotten. Power flooded the area around him as he drew upon his own Will to make his desire reality.

Ryoko backed away as the wheels she'd set to turning gained speed, Her "brother" would gain ehat he seeked, and would be able to return, she'd have a true equal in this place.

Long's eyes radiated sapphire energy as he could feel the boundaries between worlds resisting his touch, his Will. "No, you will not resist me. My will is strong, I WILL DO THIS! His voice roared in his head, and slowly, imperceptibly almost, the barrier gave way. Long increased his intensity and redoubled his efforts. The rest of the world fell away and all that remained was this task, the accomplishment of this goal. "I will not be denied, I will see Eden again.

As soon as he thought of that alternate stream, the barrier gave way and he vanished, reappearing there, overlooking the spot where he attained his current level of power, and had spent much time reseeding it. The foliage was regrowning nicely and Long stood there silent, then let loose a roar in Triumph. His roar echoed across the valley even as he prepared to return back to Ryoko.

"So simple, how the hell did I miss it? Why did it take me this long?" A moment later he answered. "Because I'm to used to seeing things in baseline light. I wanted to pretend for their sakes..." he trails off. "No more. If my experience here and in the last year has taught me anything, I am not human, I am more, much, much more."

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