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Writer Resukaze
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
808 Reads

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Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Chapter 8
Sep 1, 2017
6 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!RKbmmpThwbosSOaIWDqkposted on PENANA

  Bryant had never talked with a chicken before. He had always thought them stupid, unconcerned with anything not involving food. But he resolved to give it a try.copyright protection53PENANAPWvhIo5jJk

  He sat down near a foraging flock, one he knew to have the calmest birds. Within minutes, a plump gray hen had come over to investigate him. The chickens belonged to Mikael's family, so the hen was a little familiar with Bryant. It helped that animals liked him.copyright protection53PENANAUA55XsuQJ1

  He held out the handful of grain he'd taken from a sack in Adan's cellar, hoping to lure the chicken closer. The hen came in a hurry, running with a comical near-waddle, and greedily pecked at the grain.copyright protection53PENANA27tUVEDSh3

  Lisa spoiled the moment by charging over and hoisting him by the collar- apparently a popular activity among the older ninja- to drag him away. He dropped the grain, which the hen continued to gobble unconcernedly.copyright protection53PENANAd60JnI7t2R

  Bryant began to protest, but Lisa hissed, "Must I do this every day? I told you not to run, and since I know how stiff and sore that must be, I'm surprised you did. But if you want to heal..."copyright protection53PENANAOWsT1pmwg5

  Bryant gave up and let Lisa examine his leg.copyright protection53PENANAxid1d9FQ2X

  "All right, you're fine," she said. "But I don't want to see you coming back with an infection."copyright protection53PENANAUf3UYrC6VE

  "I don't want to see him coming back at all," commented Harris, the older medic.copyright protection53PENANAXJApDBPZ75

  "Harris, please. There's no reason to hate him like you do."copyright protection53PENANA4FoiGCrlst

  "There's plenty of reasons."copyright protection53PENANAjmImgHOTNK

  "Oh, really? Like what?"copyright protection53PENANAxKt8a7JZ6R

  "He's a little beast, for one thing. He's not human. Didn't you see that deer that he and his friends brought in? Its throat was bitten out."copyright protection53PENANA5bwutd6Uyz

  "I saw it. The throat was cut."copyright protection53PENANAnRV6ecN35A

  Bryant left the two adults to their argument and went back outside. He abandoned the idea of talking to yard fowl and went to watch Ben at the forge.copyright protection53PENANANDlhLwouwu

  "Why are you making horseshoes?"copyright protection53PENANAmBGS695d4E

  "The Jaas-Ruus need some for their ponies, but none of their smiths know how to make them. They haven't had the ponies for very long."copyright protection53PENANAMswHyLUmPZ

  "They're a lot closer to other storms, though. Why are they asking us when we're far away and we don't even have horses?"copyright protection53PENANAXCCjTnPhSl

  "They couldn't find anyone else willing to give them instructions as well, so they made a package deal."copyright protection53PENANAMfXt83DehH

  "Oh. But how do you know how to make them?"copyright protection53PENANAT3apLJbF50

  "I learned from a guy who did."copyright protection53PENANAF3DimwGcOz

  "Makes sense."copyright protection53PENANAxBOv4WzHaQ

  Feeling no need for further conversation, Bryant wandered away. He paid no attention to where he was going, but plenty to his surroundings otherwise. He found himself near his house before he noticed that any time had passed.copyright protection53PENANAp3TztFiFko

  "Fear!"copyright protection53PENANAF0riiOPY0E

  Bryant froze and looked around. A black jay was perched in a nearby tree, watching him. Its eyes were as black as its feathers; the only thing distinguishing them was their shine. It looked as if it were made of ink.copyright protection53PENANAxyfm3kiC1t

  Bryant focused as it repeated its call, then mimicked it as best he could. He wasn't at first very successful, but after several exchanges with the bird, he could copy it perfectly.copyright protection53PENANAtrwn002jFn

  The bird flew away suddenly, responding to some instinct. Bryant sensed it too- a prickling in his ribs, the feeling that something was there that should not be. He looked up and confirmed it by the shadow creeping through the clouds, an inherently sinister image.copyright protection53PENANAHkn8DFWsEX

  He paused, unsure whether to stay or flee. He registered the low purr of an engine, and it was then that he broke out of his trance and ran. No Whiterose vehicle had a noisy engine anymore. Everyone in the city-state knew it, even ninja. For said ninja, a rumbling engine meant almost certain capture or even death. There were many city-states that eagerly exploited the isolation of the ninja territories.copyright protection53PENANA6cvmyyGQbI

  He raced into Adan's house by way of the back door and didn't stop until he found a small, relatively dark closet in which to hide. A strange scent of hot metal and oil, so faint that no human could smell it, invaded the air. The scent was as strong to him as that of a roasting chicken would seem to others.copyright protection53PENANAjF9Q2aQ4tv

  He could hear something large outside, moving slowly as if searching for something- most likely him. Adan had noticed his rushed entry and was also looking for him, walking the hall and checking every room. He didn't dare move, but Adan saw him by his shivering.copyright protection53PENANAraQPjuugX9

  "What is it, Bryant?" Adan asked quietly, kneeling.copyright protection53PENANAd4lJqTi7Kt

  Bryant gulped. "There's something outside... It's not Grandfather, but it's large..."copyright protection53PENANAP48ZUbaKfD

  "An animal?"copyright protection53PENANAgHO7x8B2py

  "Machine..."copyright protection53PENANAbCCwl2qE9b

  "Where?"copyright protection53PENANA7ZfgY9s8UI

  "It's right outside," said a new voice.copyright protection53PENANAMaqBhXJSZ8

  Adan turned around, surprised, and saw that Lord Kashi was there. Bryant had heard him coming. Adan had not.copyright protection53PENANAraL3H768Lg

  "It's a Ketsen centipede mech. I'm sure you know what those are like."copyright protection53PENANAjTfyaeIDnC

  Adan turned pale, which wasn't encouraging in the slightest. He turned back to Bryant and said, "Stay here. When you hear us attack it, get out the back door and run. We'll find you after it's destroyed."copyright protection53PENANAlaMLL4IvXH

  Bryant didn't nod, nor did Adan wait for him to. He understood immediately, and the two older ninja left just as quickly.copyright protection53PENANAEoSpsAxyIj

  After a few well-stretched seconds, there was a crash, a squeal of metal on metal, and more screaming than one usually heard in the village. Bryant leaped up, exited the closet with exaggerated care, and bolted outside.copyright protection53PENANAO1d4Aoii1G

  Unfortunately, there was a second centipede mech waiting. As soon as it noticed Bryant- he didn't know how- it went into pursuit mode, moving faster than he would have believed. Only a few minutes into the chase, yet another mech joined them.copyright protection53PENANAUmQH7CMQ7J

  Bryant ran until only adrenaline kept him upright. Time after time, the one thing that kept him from being trapped between the two long, serpentine metal bodies was his quickly-fading agility. He had no idea how long he had been going, only that he had gone far and that the machines were still crashing through the forest after him, slowed by the densely packed trees but inexhaustible.copyright protection53PENANAyL8rbA1J9J

  His lungs burned. He had to have been running for hours, and it was all he could do to avoid running into a tree. He hardly noticed that the forest around him had changed from densely packed hardwoods to more open pine and fir.copyright protection53PENANA2YLf2mDlEF

  Then there was a river, spanned by a simple wooden bridge. Bryant ran across without hesitation, but the mechs paused, swinging their "heads" back and forth in obvious uncertainty. Bryant used the precious extra seconds to increase his lead.copyright protection53PENANA1z1Sh9u30C

  The giant metal beasts tapped and prodded the bridge, then, making a decision, barreled over it one after the other. They did not quite manage to catch up to the boy, who had caught his fourth wind- or was it his fifth?copyright protection53PENANANyoVZzw0jF

  Mindless of his endurance, Bryant continued until a sudden (but gentle) slope threw him off. One second he was running uphill, the next rolling down, but he almost didn't care if he got up again.copyright protection53PENANAKlDvBGSf1w

  He ended up at the edge of a lake, but didn't wade in. Water was as much his enemy as the mechs'. It was an ironic situation, but one that he had no escape from. He would certainly be captured, but he would at least fight.copyright protection53PENANAU36WWn5rr6

  But fifth wind or no fifth wind, exhaustion was king. Bryant could barely stand. The one thing he could do as the mechs encircled him with their sinuous bodies was to cry out for help.copyright protection53PENANA3eEraE1GEk

  The one to his right reared up. Its jointed belly split open, releasing hundreds of fine, silver tendrils. The tendrils wrapped around Bryant's arms and legs, turning him and drawing him inexorably back to the metal creature. Just before the tendrils fully retracted, a wave of coldness seemed to wash over everything. Bryant's vision faded to white, so unlike the other times he had lost consciousness. Those had always been sudden...copyright protection53PENANAmpG0ViGNyI

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