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[Fiction] Children's Night


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Misato was annoyed. The more she was studying this man, the stealthier he became – the opposite of what she would have expected. Well, to be fair to her, he was one of the fairest mercenary elites on the planet. Even her uncle gave him respect when he came around and that was rare indeed. She was only a child.

In time, she found him, or more to the point, was allowed to find him. She formulated her plan and then executed it. Misato failed miserably.

“You will never, ever beat me,” came the voice smoothly. “It is unlikely you will ever beat Benkei either.” Misato doubted that severely. While Benkei was the more agile, she had the quicker mind and the more cunning thoughts, not her brother. Benkei hadn’t even made it to the attack point yet.

“Why do you say that sensei?” she said, half humoring the old man.

“The true attack – the real attack holds nothing back, Misato. You hold something back – for the next plan, the contingency, for the defensive move. You are smart, but your mind is clouded from what is important at this moment. If you can free your mind from all the distractions, you can face the final distraction – life; your life.”

“When you attack without concern for your own life you are truly free.”

‘That is insane’, she thought. Outwardly she nodded and Jager smiled.

“You don’t have to believe me now. You have plenty of time. You are only a little girl, but I tell you this. Your life will only fill with more complications, not less. You will need to see past them and free yourself.”

Benkei chose that moment to come out of the bushes and attack. Jager caught the blade the same way he might have swatted a fly. Jager held the blade and Benkei tried feebly to push the attack. With a subtle twist, the sword went flying and Benkei stumbled.

“I was so close this time,” he bragged.

Misato certainly didn’t’ think so. He had positioned them out here in the open so that Benkei’s strides were too great for the sudden strike. Benkei didn’t see this yet, but that was the case.

“What are you two talking about?” the boy asked sitting down. He was used to his sister finishing things first.

“What is the greatest hindrance for a fighter attacking his foe,” Jager responded answering a question with a question.

Benkei thought about it seriously for almost a minute.

“The reach of an enemies arm,” he answered decisively.

Jager nodded his head sideways.

“Close, but no, Benkei. It is the fear of death. Your death.”

Benkei nodded to that then added, “That makes sense.”

Misato stared at him. How was this concept that was so hard for her so easy for him to grasp. Still, she waited for what else was going to be said.

Jager turned to Misato.

“Benkei, why do you think it is that your sister doesn’t believe that?”

Benkei hardly hesitated then he laughed abruptly.

“I know that Misato is the clever one. She can always think of so many ways to get things done and she remembers things better than I do and she has mapped out all twenty ways to get to the Universal Remote before I even know to start looking for it … but, sometimes I think she forgets the fastest way to get to something is a straight line. She thinks too much … like a girl,” he added with distaste.

Misato wanted to stick her tongue out at her brother for his arrogance, but instead she swallowed her anger and his words. The simple path is the fastest and in combat it was he who struck fastest that most often won.

Misato bowed to Jager.

“I will try and remember,” she told the older nova.

“Remember what?” Benkei inquired.

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