Courage, My Friend, Courage
by Sionnan O'Sullivan
Tachibana Ukyo stood at the sea side, cradling his ribs. As he stared serenly out to sea, he gave a small, raucous cough, and swallowed. The blood was coming a little less now. But, then again, he hadn't battled in a while. No, but he would keep battling until he found the perfect flower for her. His thoughts strayed from his disease to his girl-friend. 'Ahh, Kei... I miss you, my love. And I'm getting tired of my accumulating menagerie...' The last sentence was thought in bitterness, as he eyed the ever-nearing group of busty women, and was thinking it was a good time to run from such scary women, when a heavily accented French voice broke the air insistently.
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"Tachibana Ukyo? Ah, I have found you. "He didn't turn, having a feeling it was either one of his new admirers, or that rumoured French woman-warrior roaming about the world, fighting Samurais. With a feeling of unexpected dread, he somehow knew it was the latter. Now he turned, and found his assumption was correct.
A smirk of self confidence was on her pale face, and she tossed back her golden hair, and her lips played into a satyric smile. "Well. I challenge you!" This was said mater-of-factly, and he was slightly rocked. That was quick. No ceremony or pomp. He sighed. Another person closer to the gates of hell, to Hades, to the perfect flower, to his cure, to his love's appreciation. He closed his eyes. "Accepted."
She smiled. "First you will know the name of the woman who conquers you. " At which he felt resentful doubtfulness, "Charlotte." He nodded, already bored with her, and bowed, adding,"Even if you already know, Tachibana Ukyo. And we must need a consul."
"Oui. Je sais (Yes. I know.)" she awnsered, sounding irritable.
After finding one, "....BEGIN!" Ukyo bowed, and turned away, his long, thin hand on the hilt of his sword. He barely saw Charlotte return the bow, and he advanced, head turned away, eyes closed, sensing her discomfort, and drawn to it. She made an ineffectual stabbing movement, missing him entierly. He returned with a slash, which connected and the battle began in earnest. She ran towrds him, and Ukyo only heard himself only distantly think, "She's a behemoth!" She was taller than he, and he was not considered a short man.
Once again, she tried a stabbing movement, but he parried. The force of the two blows made their hilts lock, and the two grappled over the beneficial position. Their strength failed at the same time, and their swords flew away from each other.
Time passed, and blood flew. In the end, Charlotte, lay, panting on the ground, while Ukyo stared emotionlessly at her. His silence continued and he walked away, leaving her to curse in Frech and recuperate. Out of earshot of Charlotte, he sat quietly on the sand, coughing without stop. Red seeped in with the sand. The gate of Hades seemed closer now.