A Chapter by EdwinBozie

Author: EdwinBozie
Created: December 26, 2017 at 01:19 pm
Upload Type: Chapter, T (13+)  
Category: Fantasy | Action | Adventure
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L.O.T.J.L Ep 12: Successor Of The Crimson Wings


The next day, Josec and Buern awakened to find Fencer studying his ‘history of Jo-lan’.

“Do you study it every day?” Josec asked curiously.

“Perhaps to say ‘everyday’ might be a bit of a stretch but that’s pretty close” Fencer said.

“What do you see in it? If you’ve studied it every day you should know everything it has to say” Josec said.

“Let me ask you a question Josec. If I were to take a boy of about three feet tall and put him in a six feet pit, do you think he’d be able to get out?” Fencer asked.

“Um…no…” Josec shook his head.

“I hope so because I’m really bad with measurements so I may have gotten the measurements wrong” Fencer laughed.

Josec stared at him suspiciously.

“Let us assume that it is a concrete pit, do you assume that its depth will reduce over time to allow the boy to climb out of the pit?” Fencer asked.

“No, I can’t see that happening under normal circumstances” Josec said.

“Exactly, the pit will never change but…the boy will grow. In time, he will be tall enough to climb out and if his height is not enough, jumping might be the key to his escape in which case by the time the boy escapes the pit, he would not have grown just physically. Situations…circumstances. They are not living things so they cannot change on their own. However people can change, people can grow” Fencer said.

Josec stared at Fencer in new admiration.

“The eyes that gazed upon these paintings yesterday are not the same eyes that look at them today because my knowledge, my nature expands with each new experience and as they do…as I do…so does this ‘history of Jo-lan’” Fencer said.

“So I find it rather ridiculous when people complain about what is repetitive or outmoded” Fencer said almost cynically.

Buern approached Fencer next.

“Fencer, I need to talk to you” she said.

Fencer stared at her inquiringly.

“Privately” she said.

Josec took the hint and walked away. Buern told Fencer about Souryu’s threat and Josec’s condition.

“I see. You are actually concerned for Josec Fenix. That makes me a little happy but you are still quite naïve. From whose mouth did you hear those words?” Fencer asked.

Realization hit Buern as a sudden wave of embarrassment began to wash over her. Souryu didn’t exactly have a reputation for being the most truthful psychorage. To say he was the least truthful would be to imply that Souryu had ever spoken the truth and somehow I just can’t imagine that happening if you follow the trail of Jo-lan’s history.

“I know what you are worried about Buern. Souryu is a liar, there’s no two ways about that but that liar certainly has a reputation for not making empty threats though a liar who did not make empty threats would be threateningly truthful. I must say his warped personality is quite amusing actually” Fencer said with a slight laugh.

“Then what do we do?” Buern implored.

“Buern, do you not recall what Marina told you about Josec concerning the moment of your birth?” Fencer asked.

Memories flooded Buern’s mind.

“However, there was one thing Souryu overlooked. A very vital thing that affected his plans adversely. And that was the gift your mother inherited from the Phoenix. It’s spirit! Souryu’s will could not completely possess your mother so instead, it sought to drain you of your powers in order to make itself whole. That was when the Phoenix’s heart stepped in. Yes, Josec. He was just a baby then but the will to protect everyone was strong in his heart so he gave up his gift, the heart of the Phoenix and suppressed Souryu. Your mother realizing what baby Josec had done sealed that half of Josec’s consciousness within you and died. However, Josec’s sacrifice meant that he would never be complete as a Jo-lan fighter thus he didn’t inherit the gift of joki plus he lost half of his true psychorage” Buern recalled.

“You finally remembered didn’t you? Josec has no joki, none, nada, zero, zilch BAM!” Fencer said with a downwards chop motion of his right hand.

“So if Souryu’s curse is based on something that converts joki into poison…then Josec is immune?!” Buern felt a sudden wave of relief wash over her.

She slumped to the ground and took in deep breaths.

“At least that’s what I’d like to think except for the fact that I can’t imagine Souryu making threats without references to visible symptoms” Fencer said.

Buern froze.

“Yes, and the things he did say, I have seen them happen in Josec” Buern said.

“I think an accurate question then to ask is what kind of person is Josec. Invariably, Souryu is a liar…” Fencer said.

“You really love making reference to that don’t you?” Buern had an odd look in her eyes as though she were contemplating smacking Fencer for not taking this seriously enough.

“But that liar is particularly good at reading human nature. It’s one of the reasons it took so long to finally stop him in the past. It is possible to simulate symptoms if one takes into consideration the nature and temperaments of a person” Fencer said.

“What do you mean?” Buern asked.

“Josec’s class of Jo-lan I imagine is the class of defender. His father chose a similar class but the defender is the purest form of expression for one who desires no conflict. This means that Josec is the kind of person to never pick fights, to avoid them if he can and to fight only if he has to protect something. That further implies that Josec is most likely going to appear weak if some enemy picked a fight with him, he had no choice but to fight yet at the same time there were no possibility of casualties. On the other hand he’ll appear ferocious if he had to fight to protect someone. When were the times Josec appeared strongest to you?” Fencer asked.

“When he rescued me and other classmates from my dad. When he rescued me from some bandits and when he fought to protect the Port Town Of Wusihen. And like you said, all those times, there was something to protect” Buern said. “But initially, when I was kidnapped, he couldn’t do a thing” Buern mentioned.

“And what was his temperament then?” Fencer asked.

“Depressed” Buern said.

“Good, you just made an important point even if you do not realize it yourself” Fencer said.

“From what Harry told me, Josec appeared considerably weaker when he fought against Commander Grim and his squad” Buern said.

“Interesting, and how many pointless fights has that stupid double headed snake sent his way since then?” Fencer asked with a smirk.

Buern recalled Asmodeus whom everyone knew for being a ridiculous psychorage and then she recalled the Four Black Captains.

“I can imagine Souryu with full knowledge of how self-willed Banes are expected Harry to march to his death after he separated you. I can also imagine it was right around that time he attempted to seal your defeat by sealing Josec’s psychorage through you. He had already drawn your mind to symptoms he had simulated much earlier. All he had to do was to place in the fear that would keep you considering his nonsense long enough for it to make sense. Of course that doesn’t change the fact that Josec was attacked with a limit break forged with the intention of making those symptoms an actual curse but that creature had forgotten the whopping he took when you were born and what it meant so he could not wait to correct his mistakes” Fencer said.

“So is Josec cursed or not?” Buern asked.

“What are you talking about? He is most definitely cursed” Fencer said.

“Then all your talk was pointless!” Buern roared and stormed off.

“The thing with kids. They never wait until their elders are done talking. Now I have a riddle for Souryu. What happens when you throw a three feet kid into a six feet pit but failed to realize that the kid had hidden within his robes a grappling hook? Now wouldn’t the answer be interesting to see? I just seem to see something similar to time-leap” Fencer said with loud laughter.

Then he approached the two comrades with a reassuring smile.

“Buern, you wanted to know the cure to Josec’s condition didn’t you?” Fencer asked them.

“I have a condition?” Josec asked worriedly.

“Innovain’s limit-break is still coursing within your blood in the form of a pseudo-curse” Fencer said.

“I suspected as much. The moment Buern prevented me from psychoraging was the moment I figured it out. Though it was all just a suspicion till now” Josec said.

“From what you told me, there is no cure” Buern said.

“Not if your psychorage was dependent on joki I suppose however Josec, you possess no joki so how is it that you have been fighting as a Jo-lan fighter?!” Fencer asked.

“I don’t know. I just feel the need to protect something, the need to fight, and then I do” Josec said seriously.

“It is at that point that joki usually materializes does it not?” Fencer asked.

“Yes, in that moment, I can actually see Josec’s joki. It is a sight quite similar to lightning” Buern said.

“I see. In some ways we are alike, Josec and I. To fight, I also need to channel my energy into the coral necklace you see around my neck. Whenever I’m ready, I release it and take on my psychorage form. Your case is unique though Josec. You are more similar to that man than you realize” Fencer said as he pointed to the painting of the man on the wall.

“Who is he?” Josec asked.

“He is the progenitor of the Fenix Clan. The original successor of the Crimson Wings, also your ancestor” Fencer said. “To rid yourself of Innovain’s limit-break, you probably need to learn a limit-break that exceeds Innovain’s or at the very least, you need to become as strong as the man in this picture was when he inherited the Crimson Wings of Jo-lan” Fencer said.

“Really? So there is a way to end the curse’s effects after all?” Buern sounded grateful.

“We don’t have much time so I will tell you upfront…you will have to break the curse’s effects by sheer force of will. That to a large extent is dependent on how willing you are to live” Fencer said with a dangerously serious look and then he grinned and slapped himself on the forehead. “How ironic this is that a limit-break, Innovain’s greatest would have to be overcome by sheer force of will” Fencer laughed.

“So how do we begin?” Josec asked.

“First, we are going to raise both your stamina and your mental fortitude” Fencer said.

“I see, if he had more stamina and mental fortitude, he might outlast the effects of the curse” Buern said.

“What are you talking about? This is just for my personal entertainment” Fencer said with a sinister grin.

“You know what Fencer? Sometimes I actually feel like punching you” Buern said.

“Well that would just be begging for backlash” Fencer said.

“Well here’s lesson one, I want you to psychorage Josec” Fencer said.

“And why is that?” Buern asked curiously.

“I recall a certain someone repelling the effects of a curse by limiting its ability to only one part of his body. But in your case, you’re doing it because I’d like to see it. I think it would be quite amusing” Fencer said.

Buern was clenching her fists tightly.

“If anything happens to Josec, regardless of how strong you are and how long it would take, I will end you here do you hear me Fencer?!” Buern roared angrily.

“I’m glad you said if because whatever happens from here on out is rightly dependent on Josec himself” Fencer said as he glared at Buernwith a look of challenge in his eyes.

“I’ll do it. I can’t keep holding back because I fear the effects of a curse and though I respect your concern Buern, I didn’t think your decision was right either” Josec said.

“B-But Josec” Buern was about to protest.

“And Fencer is right about one other thing. I too don’t particularly trust anything that comes out of the mouth of the Black Dragon” Josec said seriously.

“PSYCHORAGE ABILITY! SILVER PHOENIX LEGEND!” Josec roared and transformed into a tremendous Silver Phoenix.

“PPPHHH!!! HAHAHAHAHA!” Fencer burst into laughter.

“Why are you laughing?” Buern asked.

“It’s because I don’t think there ever existed anything like a Silver Phoenix!” Fencer exclaimed, fell to the ground and rolled around while laughing tremendously.

“This is not funny Fencer, you know?” Josec asked.

“If your psychorage is really a phoenix, then think of it this way, you just served a plate of food and the meat looked large but when you attempted to eat it, you realized it was just full of bones” Fencer laughed.

“Full of bones? To some extent, I get the analogy” Josec sighed.

“I’m sure you would after all you are the son of Vega Fenix. To put it plainly, your psychorage at the moment is what I would call a bird without feathers. It is not whole yet. Besides that you seem to have forgotten another fatal detail. You are probably the only one whose psychorage hasn’t spoken to yet” Fencer said.

Buern was shocked by this minor detail she had overlooked. It was almost a fatal detail.

“Regardless of how strong you are, if your psychorage accepted you, it would definitely have been speaking to you for a while now. The only answer I can think of is that your psychorage and yourself are somewhat one entity. You may have coalesced to the point that you cannot tell one another apart. It is also completely possible that you are yourself a psychorage but I can’t see that happening. You are the child of two humans” Fencer said.

“All of this is too overwhelming. Stop vexing my mind Fencer, I’m trying to concentrate” Josec said.

“Yeah, I need you to bring out more power than you usually do. Curses are nefarious things that seek out a moment of vulnerability to attack. I mean if trouble were going to trumpet itself before it attacked, we’d definitely not have any problems today” Fencer said.

Josec laughed at the thought.

“Fortunately, at times like this, it’s definitely the job of the defender to put up his shield” Fencer said.

“You sure are an interesting guy. I’m getting exhausted maintaining my psychorage while trying to listen to you. Is that what you wanted?” Josec asked.

“Probably. I must say it was quite stupid of the Black Dragon to put a black cursed flame on a silver phoenix. I’m guessing he became overconfident of his victory. But he probably forgot the two colours almost perfectly contradict each other which means…” Fencer said as he stared at Josec seriously.

He noticed dark spots beginning to appear on the phoenix’s breast.

“It can easily be spotted once it begins to manifest. There you are” Fencer said with a smirk.

“Josec, I’ve found the curse. Though it didn’t touch your heart, it is quite close. Now I want you to be calm and listen to me. Release as much power as you possibly can” Fencer ordered.

Josec obeyed and began to release more power.

At that moment, Innovain sensed his curse on the verge of suppression. Well if you think about it logically, Souryu’s flames are also a manifestation of its will. And as long as the flames were lodged within Josec, it was quite an easy task for Innovain to track Josec’s presence. Innovain had been watching them for a while. It also to a large extent explained why Innovain’s men could find Josec easily regardless of how far he travelled. Innovain had decided to give them a bit of a break before he thought of how best to crush them. When he saw Edgar Fencer, let’s just say a lot of memories came rushing in including a lot of past trauma.

“The man who can battle Souryu’s greatest general to a deadly stalemate. He also earned himself the name ‘Archer of the 20 year arrow’ because of his perceptiveness and intuition. Many people knew Edgar Fencer but they only knew him from the stories they had heard. Only Innovain, the seven generals of Souryu and the seven masters of Jo-lan probably knew of Edgar Fencer personally. He was the man known to set traps that would only trigger in the future at the right time. He was also the reason why Souryu’s plans would always hit a dead end one moment to success so he earned another nickname, ‘The Ruiner of Perfect Plans’” Innovain smiled. “It has most definitely been a while Fencer. I particularly detest how you appear to do so much while creating the impression that you do nothing at all. The three inheritors of Jo-lan are within your care now and I’m forced to wonder if all of this was planned or just coincidence” Innovain roared.

Then a line from a sentence Fencer had spoken to him long ago echoed within his mind.

“I don’t believe in coincidences and sometimes the things you think I scheme out usually happen without my direct intervention. However, if there were a coincidence I believed in, I’d rather not have you associate my name with anything disastrous” Fencer said with a wry laugh.

“However it appears to me that you have grown weaker Fencer. In the past I could clearly sense the force of your will even from here. This time however I could almost not sense it. It’s also possible that you may be concealing your true strength intentionally” Innovain said.

At that moment Fencer sneezed. He began to hear a ringing in his ear.

“Of course I’d conceal it. Apart from causing these kids trauma, another thing you should probably know is that it’s easier to sense your presence when we are not clashing joki across our two continents” Fencer was saying.

From within his form, Josec could perceive Fencer’s thoughts.

“What the heck have you two been doing while everyone else goes about their business” Josec asked silently.

“Let’s just call it mutual repulsion and leave it at that. As long as I pushed Innovain’s joki off the mainlands of our continent, I would be able to enjoy some good rest without interruption” Fencer said.

“For someone doing something that frightful, you seem unnaturally composed” Josec said.

“That’s what happens when you live every day like your last. You begin to realize the truth in the words ‘whatever will be will be’ and if it cannot be changed, then there is no cause for alarm” Fencer said.

“Sounds like a miserable excuse to hide from your responsibilities” Josec said.

“Like I say, everyone is entitled to their own opinions but if my heart is not in it, I can’t exactly get psyched up. I’ve been fighting for a long time now and you two are just kids but with experience I think you’d learn a thing or two about picking your battles” Fencer said.

“Says the one who has been clashing joki with Innovain from the confines of his room over the continent without anyone noticing” Josec said.

“Ah well, leave that aside and focus on your problem. What were you thinking going up against the Black Dragon?” Fencer asked.

“I wasn’t exactly ‘thinking’. If I had to ‘think’ about whether I could defeat Innovain or not, my friends would probably be dead by now” Josec said.

“You know Josec, I do think you know how to pick your battles but you still need experience to tell you when to avoid a pointless fight otherwise you’d just be wasting energy and time while gathering resentment towards yourself among the people you’ve defeated. I’m just saying, not everyone you fight will become your ally. However I’m beginning to think that to a large extent depends on how you approach the battle. After all, you are the son of the man who turned even his enemies into allies” Fencer said. “By the way, the curse should be going into overdrive right about now” Fencer said nonchalantly.

Josec stared at Fencer. As Fencer had said, the curse was moving along the body of the Silver Phoenix. It crippled its wings and legs. Josec collapsed to the ground.

“How would you know that?” Josec asked.

“If you’re thinking I’m probably a legendary sailor who was able to resist a curse because he had already been cursed once, you are wrong about all that except resisting a curse with a curse and using both as a counterbalance to wipe each other out. Well, it might be a joke in bad taste but that’s not important. What’s really important is that…Innovain seems to be able to hit sonic boom even without a psychorage” Fencer said as he picked up his sword and latched it unto his back. “I’m still interested in protecting my ‘you’re home’, ‘I’m back’ and I have no intention of losing this cave so guess what? Buern, I leave you in charge of Josec. Curses are not easy things to endure but I think most of them are intricately tied to the will of the cursed. It’s simple really, just make sure he doesn’t give up on life. Leaving that aside if he does, I’m going to smack him silly and ask him why he’d search for me only to wind up dead. Yeah Fenix, I’m talking to you, after all you did upset my peaceful life so you’d better not give up now or I’d definitely create another crevice except this time, you’d be dead centre of the attack” Fencer said as he cracked his fingers by clenching them.

Then he walked out.

When Fencer was out, he looked up to the sky. It looked like it was about to rain.

“Damn that Innovain, it’s my favourite season too. I hope we don’t end up wiping any clouds. I have no intention of dealing with bad weather today” Fencer said with a sigh. “RELEASING ONE UNIT OF POWER INTO THE CORAL GEM!” Fencer roared and the loud whirring sound began again.

Meanwhile, Innovain was already in the skies of Avalon. He suddenly heard a loud explosive sound as though someone or something had just hit sonic boom. Before he could react, a strong force hit him in the chest and pushed him over the sea.

“I’d prefer it if we did not create any more natural disasters. Though there is no possibility of a casualty out here, Avalon has very limited resources” a voice sounded.

“So you came. It has been a while since we met…in person” Innovain said.

“Wasn’t exactly pleasant for me!” Fencer said as he pushed Innovain further out to sea.

Innovain raised both hands, clenched them together and hit Fencer in the back. Fencer gasped in pain and pushed Innovain back with one hand. With the other hand clenched into a fist, he gave Innovain a blow to the face.

“A few years ago, no one could catch up to my speed. Not even Vega Fenix” Innovain boasted.

“A lot can change…in a few years” Fencer said as he flew above Innovain and raised his sword.

“PERISH INNOVAIN!” Fencer roared and swung with all his might.

The strike made impact and smoke covered the area.

“I know you’re still there Innovain. I’ve heard the sound of my technique so many times that I know someone who hasn’t been defeated by it would make a larger sound. The sound of resistance” Fencer said.

“That so huh? Then I apologize for my inability to use the smoke from your technique as a smokescreen to deliver a fatal blow” Innovain said with a serious look on his face.

“I’d rather enjoy this battle much longer but unfortunately my aim are the children you have under your protection. Surrender them!” Innovain demanded.

“And pray tell, why would I do something…that stupid?” Fencer said with absolute seriousness.

“You wouldn’t because you are no cretin however I would still call you a fool for standing in my way” Innovain said.

“I know you are trying to provoke me. I’ll be happy to tell you that you are succeeding” Fencer said.

“If you know my intentions, wouldn’t revealing that fact to me be stupid?” Innovain asked.

“Originally, the art of psychoraging involved a disciplined sense of anger so if you wish to rediscover those roots, I definitely encourage you to go ahead. You might just be surprised by what you find” Fencer said calmly.

“You seem unperturbed. Considering that Vega’s love for his son was the weakness that led to his death…” Innovain was saying when Fencer interrupted him.

“I’m not Vega. That is a simple truth even a child would understand” Fencer cut him off. “There’s a reason the seven masters of Jo-lan are strong and it’s rooted in their personalities” Fencer said.

“That may be true. I have to admit I almost forgot…that you are one of them” Innovain said as he suddenly boosted his speed and headed towards the cave.

Fencer chased after him.

“Apparently you are still too slow” Innovain said.

Fencer’s face was cloaked in the shadow of rage.

“Thanks to allowing that Fenix brat to psychorage, I was able to locate them quite easily” Innovain said.

Fencer clenched his jaw.

“Innovain, I may not have been around long but I know of what you did to Vega. I also know of the thing you did to Josec. Twice now you’ve forced the boy to bear the burden of the death of those around him. I promised myself I would never release this state because of its devastating power but I’ll have you know that whatever happens to you this day…IS ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT!!!” Fencer said. “RELEASING FIVE UNITS OF POWER INTO THE CORAL GEM! ENGAGE THE MYTHICAL PROGENITOR’S JO-LAN ART!” Fencer declared.

“Hmmph! What are you trying to do? We know you can’t psychorage. Beyond that you are generally weak” Innovain said.

“I know that…however your statement is based on a knowledge of my abilities before my potential began to blossom. SINGULARITY SHIFT! RUNE KNIGHT! VER. GOLD!” Fencer roared.

There was a brilliant flash of light and Fencer’s armour took on a golden appearance though much of his characteristics remained unchanged

“HAHAHAHAHA! Don’t tell me the changes go up to platinum!” Innovain laughed.

“You said it yourself…I don’t have to tell you anything!” Fencer roared and swung his blade. There was no impact.

Then Fencer stopped chasing Innovain and began to fly in the opposite direction. A barrier appeared before Innovain and Fencer came through charging at Innovain from the front.

“LET ME ACQUAINT YOU WITH THE PHENOMENON CALLED ‘SEE YOU AROUND THE CORNER!’ IT’S BEEN QUITE A WHILE SINCE WE LAST SAW EACH OTHER!” Fencer roared just as the blow he had been preparing for a while connected with Innovain’s jaw and sent him flying.

Fencer caught up to him in an instant and pushed Innovain right back where they had begun the battle with a rain of successive blows. Fencer raised his right hand, cracked his knuckles by clenching them, spat over the sea and cleaned his mouth.

“I certainly don’t believe you are giving your all Innovain however you should have a general idea of my strength from the fact that we’ve been battling with only joki for many years. See? I actually marked the spot your joki would never cross” Fencer said with a cunning smile as Innovain looked at the forest and saw the crevice Fencer had created by fighting off the four serpents. Innovain stared at the crevice in shock.

“And to think that was all just the Silver Rune Knight’s doing” Fencer laughed sinisterly.

“The Archer of the 20 year arrow. The one person to ever cripple my plans severely even more than the son of Vega Fenix. You certainly are interesting. Let’s see how calm you can be when staring into the eyes of death itself” Innovain said, his voice and Souryu’s resonating on the last words.

In an instant, he released a massive amount of power and transformed into the double headed Black Dragon.

“Souryu is a fearsome psychorage. That I will not deny, yet at the same time due to its sheer size, it has a lot of openings. If I look at things from that angle, all it is is a giant lizard” Fencer said as he flew into the sky. Souryu chased after him. When Fencer was high enough, he let gravity do its work and then began to dive towards Souryu with impressive speed. The Black Dragon charged at him.

When they were about three snapshots away from each other, Fencer disappeared and appeared behind Souryu.

“I really doubt a dragon’s limbs can reach its back and if the scales are metallic in nature attempting to burn me would be burning itself. I certainly told you…with this psychorage, your openings are many” Fencer said as he gave Souryu a massive elbow to the spine.

Souryu’s scales shattered and the impact resonated throughout its body.

“You could call this a technique I learnt from a certain blind man who could see” Fencer said as he delivered successive blows to Souryu’s back.

The Black Dragon had to swing its wings flapping them wildly in an attempt to regain its balance.

“Interesting…human. Apparently you are a foe I will not regret crushing” Souryu suddenly spoke in its own voice.

“I have just one word of warning for you Souryu. The art of Jo-lan learnt in the past is not the same as what we learn today. Jo-lan continues to refine itself and grow through battle” Fencer said.

“You may say all that but…you’ve never seen for yourself what the art of Jo-lan studied in the past looks like” Souryu said with an amused laugh.

“I haven’t but this I know for sure. Every path of Jo-lan is meant to be unique. If only we could see past the three dominant classes, we would certainly realize that” Fencer said.

Meanwhile back at the cave, Buern heard loud sounds. They sounded like the sound of amplified blows striking repeatedly. Josec was feeling very weak now. The poison had coursed through every part of his body.

“This might very well be my last psychorage” he thought.

“Josec” Buern called as she sat leaning against the injured phoenix.

“Do you recall the time we were imprisoned and I was in great pain? You told me about friendship. One thing I still remember is what you said back then. Regardless of love or hatred there will always be pain. You also did point out that the pain that comes from loving is certainly different from the pain that comes from hatred. If my dad bombarded you with a curse out of hate, I want you to remember what you said about friendship and I want you to prove it to me. If having friends really does draw out potential I’d like to see it” Buern said.

“Buern you are misquoting me…” Josec said.

“And he chooses this time to grow a smart mouth!” Buern said with a laugh.

“I think what I actually said was the strength of a person is directly proportional to the friends of the person. I must admit that it was one of my coolest moments but I’m still at a loss as to whether that is a qualitative or quantitative figure” Josec said with a laugh.

“So you do remember after all. And you looked like you didn’t” Buern glared at the phoenix angrily.

“Once you are well, I’ll be certain to teach you a few lessons” Buern said as she cracked her knuckles.

“Them are demoralizing lines. I thought you were going to cheer me up but if I had to carry another stone up the mountain, I’d rather pass” Josec said with a laugh. “But I’d like to see Harry and hear about his own adventures. I also have to rescue my mom and aside from that…uh…” Josec stopped himself from saying more. “Why would I want to die when this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to Buern” Josec thought.

The phoenix’s face began to turn red. Josec shut his eyes either from tiredness or embarrassment or perhaps both.

“Besides I don’t know what everyone means by successors to the Crimson Phoenix but it must be important so I definitely want answers” the phoenix said and shut its eyes again.

Images began to flow within his mind. Memories of his father and mother and school.

“This is my reality and it’s beginning to feel kind of harsh” Josec said as he felt his will start to fade. He knew that he cared about those around him but he was starting to feel tired. At that moment, words he had heard just a moment before began to ring within his mind.

“Leaving that aside if he does, I’m going to smack him silly and ask him why he’d search for me only to wind up dead. Yeah Fenix, I’m talking to you, after all you did upset my peaceful life so you’d better not give up now or I’ll definitely create another crevice except this time you’ll be dead centre of the attack” Josec recalled Fencer’s warning.

Fencer was not the kind of person to joke around with. He was certainly awkward but his awkwardness seemed almost frightful especially when he was serious. Then Josec suddenly remembered something he had forgotten on the night his father confronted Innovain. A small detail that had begun to make sense within Fencer’s cavern.

“The man with Crimson Wings. He resembles the form my father used in battle” Josec said. “But the question I must ask myself is, does this man belong in Fencer’s ‘history of Jo-lan’ or is he someone outside of it. If he belongs in the tale, he could be my father. If not, he is someone from history. But it could also be someone who belongs in both old and new ‘history’. Now let me watch closely what the images say of him” Josec said as he opened his eyes.

His vision was beginning to blur.

“He seems to be surrounded by others, a multitude so to speak. What’s that binding them together, a red rope?” Josec wondered.

Josec watched the history as he saw people giving the man gifts and in the next image, the man and all the people had disappeared. There was simply an image of a phoenix battling a dragon.

“I recall a tale of sorts where people handed gifts to a hero in order for him to forge his sword. One of two blades that would stop the reign of evil once and for all. If that tale is recorded here, then it must be part of Fencer’s history of Jo-lan. To put it simply, the people are tied together by fate. Each presents materials needed in forging a sword? But I see no swords in the next picture. There is only a phoenix and a dragon battling each other” Josec thought.

Then slowly, the history of Jo-lan not written by Fencer began to dawn on Josec because the ‘history of Jo-lan’ not written by Fencer was the same history every Jo-lan warrior knew. Civilization begins, the evil Black Dragon appears to bring man to his knees. On the verge of giving up, God creates four elements, Light, Love, Courage and Hope and as he does so, the people rise up once more to confront the Black Dragon. Jo-lan had already been born as a gift to help the people and finally the people with ONE VOICE become the Crimson Phoenix that repel the dragon and bring an end to his tyrannical rule. Three people, the ones who moved the people to fight against the dragon inherit the Phoenix’s mind, heart and spirit and around them clans are formed and the gift is passed on as an ancestral heirloom;

Seven Canons may be seven weapons

But a canon can also be the realm within which a story occurs.

Seven masters are the Seven Masters of Jo-lan

Across the Seven Canons.

Seven Stones are the Seven Virtues each Tale and Master personifies.

Each Master’s mountain is one and the same

If you refer to Jo-lan’s history common amongst them all

Yet the mountains are seven if you refer to Jo-lan’s unique history

Written by the Masters.

That is why they are not connected geographically

But have the same history.

It is indeed a heavy riddle but now I know for sure that Fencer wasn’t speaking randomly. He is an impressive man that one and now that I’ve figured it out…I have no intention of dying soon!” Josec declared as he began to revert to human form.

Buern stared at him in alarm. She thought he had reached his limits.

“My dad inherited the Crimson Wings of Jo-lan but if our paths are the same I think I’ve inherited it too. You certainly are impressive. Gravity will always be a foe until you learn that there are other ways to fly, ways to defeat gravity’s power without necessarily getting rid of the force of gravity. Regardless of how humans will eventually achieve the power of flight and take to the skies, it’s all going to begin with the desire to fly and the faith to make it happen. Flight cannot be achieved if you believe it’s impossible hence even scientists have faith and well…a certain famous plumber’s flight leaf” Josec’s voice echoed in the cavern.

“Congratulations. On this day, Josec Fenix, the Son Of Vega Fenix inherited the Crimson Wings of Jo-lan” Fencer said as Josec became completely human.

Josec shut his eyes and began to concentrate.

“You were right Fencer, all along you were right…even about my inability to use joki but I thank you for teaching me something important…that my power is forged from my will. Things could get interesting” Josec said and opened his eyes.

They had turned fiery and assumed the form of vertical slits for pupils. Crimson Wings sprouted from his back.

“I definitely feel more powerful than I’ve ever felt before!” Josec declared.

“Buern, stay here and protect this place. I sense Fencer and though it is hard to gauge whom between Fencer and Innovain is stronger, I definitely know that he can’t repel Innovain alone. Besides, in case Innovain breaks through Fencer though I feel that is unlikely, you can serve as a final wall of defence” Josec instructed.

Buern nodded.

“The poison?” Buern asked.

“Flushed out of my system” Josec said.

Buern nodded. Josec ran out of the cave and suddenly took off creating a loud sonic boom in the process.

Meanwhile, Fencer and the Black Dragon were exchanging blows over the sea. It almost seemed as though they were ripping the atmosphere apart with their exchange of blows.

“Someone’s heading towards us at incredible speed” the Black Dragon said.

“If you knew me well, you’d know that the method I adopt in protecting others largely differs from what you are used to. The best way to protect anyone from my perspective is to make them strong enough to protect themselves” Fencer said as he gave the large dragon another blow to its underbelly. “Your underbelly seems ridiculously protected considering the fact that in lore, the vulnerabilities of a dragon usually lie somewhere in that area” Fencer said.

“Well what can I say? Legends are legends and facts are facts and right now the greatest fact of all is that you cannot defeat me!” the Black Dragon took a swipe at Fencer.

Fencer disappeared and reappeared behind the Black Dragon.

“Say that again when you are more capable of protecting your spine” Fencer said as he delivered another blow to the dragon.

At that moment, Josec appeared.

“I don’t know what’s going on here and frankly, I do not think I care enough to ask questions. Beside that I doubt you would answer me anyway” Josec said.

“If you wish to ask about your mother, I will be honest enough to say she broke out of prison” Fencer laughed heartily. “As expected from the one who bears the title ‘Raging Mad Thunderbird’. I guess she figured she could no longer squeeze information out of Innovain and broke out”.

“I’ve lost interest in this fight Fencer. I will admit you are strong. I will also admit that I underestimated the Raging Mad Thunderbird but if I’m right she will be headed your way soon enough and once you’ve all gathered, I’ll simply crush you” Innovain said and slowly reverted to human form.

Then he flew away in great haste.

“You hurt Master Fencer?” Josec asked.

“You’re suddenly being too polite. Cut it out its creepy. Besides that if you knew anything about me, you’d know that I hate formal titles probably even more than numbers” Fencer said and downgraded his Rune Knight Pysychorage to the Silver Version. “I may be wounded but that dragon has more wounds than just superficial ones. I might have wounded its pride” Fencer said.

Josec could sense that Fencer was in more of a fury than usual but he still kept calm.

“Let’s return to the cave. I think you might be in for a bit of a surprise” Fencer said and they flew towards the cave.

“So between you and Innovain, who is stronger?” Josec asked.

“To be honest, I really don’t know and somehow, I don’t care enough to find out. Regardless of how strong he is, when you have to fight, you have to fight but at least I can say that man is quite adept at concealing his real strength. Though I hate to admit it, Innovain and I may be alike in certain ways” Fencer said.

“You’re nothing like him!” Josec declared.

“Well we really may be alike…if only that damned dragon weren’t whispering into his ear” Fencer declared angrily.

“I think I kinda get your history of Jo-lan” Josec said.

“Whaaat?! You do?! Pretty cool isn’t it? Especially since it’s told artistically” Fencer said and gave Josec a high five.

The two laughed for a while.

When they arrived at the cave, they were met by Buern.

“Guess who is here?” Buern said with a laugh.

Inside the cave, they saw Harry staring at Fencer’s history of Jo-lan.

“A rather fascinating tale” Harry said.

Fencer looked at them seriously.

“The mind, heart and spirit of the phoenix. All three gathered in one place. Is this an omen for good or for ill? Depending on what happens I might have to seriously step back into action” Fencer thought as he turned to look at the paintings himself.

© EdwinBozie - all rights reserved

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