Shortcut to Paradise...

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Chapter 9:

Luca Pov:

Standing in the meadow his veins pulse and his heart beats fast, Lucas hands greased with sweat hold tightly to the grip of his sword. Covered all over his body with welts from head to toe, he pushes the pain out of his mind. The sun shines in his eyes, refusing to close his eyes he stays focused. Ignoring the tears forming in his eyes he remained determined. His new master pushed off his back foot for another attack, Luca parried his strike three times, before taking a side step to move out of the way. With the sun no longer shining in his eyes, Luca paid no attention to the glow dancing in his field of vision.

Using what vision reminded to him Luca focused on his opponents’ feet, using that he was able to block his opponents strikes. Continuing to block Luca seizes the opportunity when his new master back up after Luca’s swing took him off balance. Sending slash after slash at his attacker, a hard attack breaks his master’s guard allowing Luca the chance to place the blade of his practice sword onto the neck of his master.

“Excellent Luca these last six weeks have really paid off.” Luca picked up his masters fallen practice sword and walked back with him to the compound. Luca and his new master, named Kitan Kenbo often practiced before sunset at the meadow near their compound. After a hundred yards they finally made it to the pathway towards their destination.

Luca had been sent away by his uncle to train for the war that was coming. Luca would be expected to command troops, Luca’s Uncle wanted to make sure his skills were at a satisfactory level. The enemy had amassed a cadre of highly skilled fighters. Master Kitan is very intense but very skilled. Luca had learned several key moves in the Kenbo style and felt he was ready for the war.

Luca arrived six weeks previous and had trained 16 hours a day for that entire six weeks. His body had become hard and lean, his sword felt like an extension of his body. Luca hoped it would be enough, at least his Uncle assured him he had another 2 weeks of training. Luca’s Uncle had gone to the front line as skirmishes between Samurai and stand people had begun. In Kyoto one Samurai per night is drugged and stabbed to death. Luca pushed those dark thoughts from his mind as he neared the compound. Inside he finds a dozen swordsmen, his Uncle assured him they were his best men, they would accompany him into battle.

“We should get a drink tonight, it would do you good to take a break.” Luca shook his head.

“I am sorry master, but hangovers make my training difficult.” Replied Luca as he turned away from his master. Kitan snatched him by his forearm, he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

“No training tomorrow you need to let loose tonight, you knocked me into the dirt three times today, that is something to be proud of, I have never had a student with such promise.” Luca nodded his head yes.

He went out with Master Kitan, they walked down to the village, tucked away in the mountains the village is roughly one hundred miles from the capital. The village is small but the people pleasant, one at the village center they enter into a small building. Inside the building, seats arranged in a square are all arranged. Nine men were already seated , Luca’s men stood inside the drinking room two by the entrance. While he and Master Kitan took two empty seats. Strong rice liquor was brought out and the long night of drinking began. Kitan make small talk with the other patrons, introducing Luca as his son. To avoid any assassins or rumors of Luca’s wearabouts they came out with Luca being a bastard son to Kitan.

“This one here sipping his drink is my son, I had him with a lovely seamstress in the captial.” One of the patrons who personally knew Kitan pressed him.

“How does he measure up to you, will this village be in good hands during the war?” Asked the man.

“He already has a dozen good men at his side and I think his skills are top notch, but I am afraid he is just training in the village his skills will be put to better use. Kin you should pick up a sword like the old days.” The old man held up his hands and laughed , his eyes were very glazed over.

“Perhaps you son would like to demonstrate his skills.” The man calls over to a person on the other side of the room.

“Ezra, come here boy.” In the corner of the room drinking is a boy younger than Luca. “Ezra, helped me on the road with several thieves he is quite handy with those swords. I will wager five coins on Ezra.” Kitan shook his head no.

“It would be bad practice to send my student into battle with a stomach full of rice liquor.” Ezra stood up and walked out of the room taking his swords with him.

“Well maybe next time” Said the old man. Luca had enough and asked his master to leave he was granted permission and with his two bodyguards began walking back to the compound.

“Prince Lucas” Luca’s men turned around drawing steel. Luca sees that it is the boy from drinking house and pushes past his men.

“You must have me confused with someone else.” The boy moved closer so that a lamp post illuminated his features.

“No I have seen you hundreds of times before in kyoto, I would never forget that mug.” He drew his short sword. Taking it as a threat his man charged forward and slashed violently at Ezra. Luca was amazed as the boy dodged every strike.

Ezra didn’t draw his sword but hit the man with the sword nonetheless, the scabbard crushed the man on his nose and sent him reeling backwards. The second guard is on him right away, but Ezra, moved and used the guards forward momentum to run into his sword handle. The sword handle crushes the man’s ribs and with a sickening crunch he falls to the ground.

Luca stepped out from the shadows. He felt scared this kid was good. Real good, he took down both men without actually drawing his sword.

Ezra turned his head back to look at the prince only to see the blade at the last minute coming towards him. Ezra barely had time to get his sword in position, blocking Luca’s strike, after contact the pair bounce back. “So the prince attacks when a mans back is turned, not very princely.” The pair begin to circle each other.

Luca, pushed off his back foot and slashed down, Ezra jumped back as his blade hit into the earth. Recovering Luca has to move out of the way to block Ezra’s attack, but he doesn’t see it coming.

Ezra feigned an attack, letting Luca become off balance, Luca gets an opening and slashes Ezra six times. Luca unconsciously blocked five of Ezra’s Slashes, Ezra’s blade snaps, the broken shard flies through the air, landing, the broken point strikes the earth and sinks into the ground point down.

Luca can barely stand he feels his front soaking his robes with warm blood, the slash doesn’t feel fatal. “I broke my sword on my fifth slash, that is the only reason you are still standing, still to block five strikes is impressive. The boy walks over and grabs a long sword from Luca’s defeated guards. Luca couldn’t stand up to another attack but charged at him anyways.

Luca sends a slice towards his head and Ezra blocks with the stolen sword. Ezra manages to trip Luca with his forward momentum. Luca expects to get run through with a sword tip, after a second of feeling nothing he turns over to see Ezra standing on top of a barrier wall.

“Well Prince they may be some hope for you after all, get that wound stitched up there will be more battles to come.”

Ezra falls backwards limp, Luca runs to the wall and looks over and sees a river moving fast twelve feet below, Ezra had disappeared. Luca drops to his knee and grips his chest his wound starting to hurt then.

Luca and his guards limp back to the compound the entire time Luca wondered who that swordsman was, whoever it is Luca had never fought anyone so good before. That person could have killed him if he wanted. It was an uneasy feeling knowing that his training is and was for nothing...

Mel Pov: Week 7 of Sword training.

“Mel where are you?” Agnus walked into the lavatory to find her lacing up her boots.

“I wish you would let me do that.” Said Agnus. Mel smiled at her handmaid.

“I need to start doing things for myself, Mels fingers fumbled she had tried like a dozen times and could not get the ears. Angus knelt and extended her help.

“Please Princess at least let me show you how to do it properly.” Agnus showed

Mel how it was done but she had no time to try again. “You better get going or you will have to do laps.” Mel grabbed two pieces of toast on her way out the door, ignoring Nathans usual morning greeting she heads down the hall at full sprint.

Entering the dojo she sees that she still has three minutes to spare, exhaling her relief Mel begins to eat the pieces of toast that she had. Mel hears a loud noise from behind her, she snaps her attention to the center of the room. Master Chi assistant fell from the air and landed hard on the wooden floor. He slid on his back for a few feet before coming to a rest.

Landing a few feet from him, her husband Stan breaths heavy, shirtless Mel sees the scars on his body. On anyone else they would be sexy, she turned her attention towards a small old man walking towards her.

Grisha was Fairfield Castle’s Master at arms and had personally oversaw Mel’s instruction. Mel heard the clash of steel behind her, ignoring it she waited her master’s instructions. For three hours Mel worked out until exhaustion, it wasn’t until she was on her knees tossing up her toast from earlier that her lesson began. Grisha lectures Mel while she tries to stand.

“Swordsmen must be willing to fight when they are exhausted, it is only then are they truly tested in battle.” Mel feels a sword tossed down on the floor it had a sharpened blade. Holding up the blue scabbard.

“Master this is live steel?” Her master pulls a short sword from the green scabbard. He begins to scold her.

“I makes no difference to me, you have an advantage I suggest you use it I won’t hold back anymore. Lets see if six weeks of training have paid off.” He charges at Mel who is still breathing heavy from her workouts.

Mel is much slower than Grisha, he sends two strikes at Mel who barely has time to dodge them, as a third slash comes at her Mel reflects it and attempts a sweeping side kick, she misses, still on the floor she kicks her leg straight out and connects into Grisha’s shin, sending him to his back.

Mel abandons her sword, using her knee to hold down his sword arm, she drops her left fist right into the old man’s face, her punch is short lived as the old warrior tosses her off in the same motion, Mel gets up unarmed.

Mel sweeps under his swipe, and gets to her sword, holding it up she blocks the slash from Grisha on her knees parrying his strike, Mel gets to her feet and continues the dance.

She didn’t know how long her fight went on for, Mel used her sword to keep the distance between them, a strong slash from Grisha pushed her back a couple of feet. Holding her sword with both hands, Mel lowers her guard from exhaustion, her sword feels like it weighs a hundred pounds. Grisha came at her again...

Mel legs shook with exhaustion, she summoned everything she had left for one attack. Their blades met a dozen times each attack countered. Then Mel’s sword is sent from her hand, sliding across the polished floor she stands waiting for an attack that never came. Opening her eyes Grisha’s sword is inches from her face.

“Do you surrender?” Mel nods her head. To her surprise she heard clapping from the catwalk and around her. Master Chi and his assistants, Nathan and several servants clapped from the catwalk she sees another person she didn’t expect her husband. He clapped just as hard as the rest of them.

Sometime later Mel found herself inside of a dining hall, it was one of her nights to sleep at her husbands’ room. The dining hall was a few doors down from his bedchamber. The food was somehow even better tasting at his table. Mel was alone her husband was nowhere to be found. For the last 7 weeks he had pretty much left her alone.

Mel took her seat and looked at the chicken legs in the silver tray, grabbing three of them she attacks them ravenously. The chicken grease rolls down her face, she rubs it away with her arm. After inhaling several baked potatoes smothered in gravy, Mel started on several more chicken legs.

The door in the far corner of the room opens, Mel slowed herself down to avoid his insults. She may of slowed down her eating but when he looked at her posture he rolled his eyes. “No one is going to take that from you. You look like mastiff with a bone, straighten up and put your other hand down.” Mel was covering her food and to hide her shoveling it into her mouth.

“I watched you train today, where did you learn that leg kicking move?” Mel shrugged her shoulders and kept chewing. “I saw something similar, it was in a drinking house outside the Capital a man had fallen and kicked out the leg of his attacker, only he was just stabbed later. Your move was very un-swordsmen like, careful with street fighting moves, they may catch your opponent off guard once in a while but they are little more than tricks. Focus on your form more, I will say darling you have such natural skill.”

Mel looked at him dumbfounded, he insulted her yes but it was the nicest insult he had ever given her, and he called her darling. Deciding that she still hated him she gave him a fake smile before returning to her food. He stood up. “Suppose you are going to keep eating, I am going to bed, be quiet when you come I will be going right to sleep.” Mel stopped and got up from the table.

“I am finished, I was wondering if I could go to the indoor spring for a swim?” Her husband stared at her.

“One hour and you come straight back” Mel nodded at her orders and started to leave the room.

“Mel I forgot to tell you, Doctor Franklin said that he will be able to remove your wisdom teeth tomorrow night so no training or eating tomorrow. Don’t give me that look you have been complaining that they are hurting to anyone who will listen.” Mel walked away she had teeth pulled before and hated it, but Doctor Franklin even as creepy as he was, had told her she would be asleep the entire time and wouldn’t feel it.

Mel woke up a couple hours after the surgery, her head was foggy, and her mouth was really numb. She was inside of a lush room with fluffy pillows. Doctor Franklin stood at her bedside.

“Everything was a success; all the wisdom teeth came out with no complications. Please rest for a few days and no training for a week.”

Mel had lunch on the terrace it was a beautiful day. This afternoon the air felt slightly crisp and she saw no animals other than a single deer grazing on the grass.

Mel had been back to training for five weeks but today she felt awful the meds Franklin must have given her might not be out of her system. Mel ignored it as her mouth stopped hurting and she could finally satisfy her hunger. After spending the morning puking her guts up from the ether, Mel was starving for lunch. Mel inhaled two pieces of roast, when she put an omelet into her mouth something went wrong.

Mel felt herself gagging from the texture and she abandons the table, making to the bannister Mel heaves her guts up. After Mel hacked her guts up, the cool air felt soothing on her skin, sweat slides down her neck. Nathan runs over to her. “Princess you have been like this all morning we should get you to Doctor Franklin.”

Mel sat on the cold metal table, Nathan stood outside the door she held a small bucket, since lunch the flood gates opened and she couldn’t stop heaving. Franklin came into the room and silently began running tests. Halfway through she offered the doctor her opinion. “I think it is the ether from my surgery a month ago, it must still be in my system.”

Doctor Franklin looked amused. “Ether is not still in your system, let me see” To Mel’s horror he slide his hand onto her breast again and felt.” He made Mel use a lavatory and she was asked to give a urine sample. Mel sat in the office and wonder what it could be? Franklin came back in. “You can go now Princess.” Doctor Franklin left the room and began walking down the hallway.

Mel chased after him and shouts. “Doctor wait!” Franklin turned around.

“Princess is there something you need?” Mel was aghast with anger.

“Yes! What are my fucking results why am I throwing up?!” The doctor looked at her and calmly said.

“Let’s go back into the examination room, here lets get you out of those examination robes. Once Mel was dressed in her training clothes the Doctor pulled out some sort of device from a drawer. It had a long plastic tube.

“Why am I throwing up, I am I sick or dying.” He shook his head.

“Princess, you are pregnant.” Mel laughed.

“Why am I sick, stop with the jests.” The doctor stared on in silence. “What kind of sick Christian joke are you playing.” Screams Mel.

“Princess it is not a joke, when you underwent your wisdom teeth extraction his lordship ordered his seed to be place inside you. I used this after your teeth were pulled.” He handed her the device. Mel was completely and totally speechless. Mel punched the Doctor in his solar plex, dropping the man she moves passed snatching a scalpel off the counter.

“Hiding it under her sleeve Nathan trailed after her.” Mel ran into the dojo, Stan was at the center of the room. He was training with two of Master Chi’s assistants she avoided his angry insults as she interrupted his training. “What is the mea—” she smacked him across the face as hard as she could.

“You’re a sick fucking person you know that.” Mel pulled the scalpel from under her sleeve and lashed at him cutting him deep on the shoulder as she tries for his neck three men tackle her down.

“Take her to the dungeon, Bring Franklin to me at once.” Shouts Stan blood pores out of his arm as Mel is hauled from the Dojo kicking and screaming.

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