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The Crimson Sword and The Dark Flower [Plot/Noir]

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The swordsman sighed as he was walking towards the hall, wanting to go back to his room. He decided to take more time to stay at the garden alone after Diana left, enjoying the scenery where the wind took a lot of petals away with it before deciding to go back. He wondered what the emperor and Noir were talking about that they needed to talk about it in private, but then again he couldn’t do that…yet. Not until it was safe to finally reveal himself… but what was the point if she didn’t remember about him at all. Would she still want to accept the fact that Tenma was her brother and love him just like how sister love her brother? The one eyed man closed his eyes, noting that doubt had finally filled his mind and heart ever since he found his sister. He might need to meditate after this because if he was not careful, the doubt inside his heart might be the cause of his death especially when he was involved in a civil war.

There was someone who was walking on the hall as well and the voice that called him was so sweet, so innocent and he missed it so bad. “Ahh… yes.” The one eyed man beamed the magician a bright smile, “I am alright, why do you ask?” He would take several steps towards Noir, noticing that she looked kind of exhausted. He clenched his fist, wondered what the emperor had done to her but he kept his current face expression intact to avoid Noir from being suspicious about what Tenma was thinking. “Don’t you need some rest? You look tired.”


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He is smiling… but he looks sad.Noir talked to herself inside her head, but now that she thought of it, the man always had a sad gaze but she noted it only because he was looking at her. Perhaps she reminded him of someone else that he longed to see? She couldn’t help but to feel curious, everything about the man was a little bit mysterious. It was as if she would be dragged into the void if she tried to peer into his soul, but at the same time, she felt something else that she couldn’t describe. It was more like a feeling that made her want to know more about this man, she wanted to be close to him and…as strange as she felt when she tried to think about this… she felt somehow comfortable to talk with him. This never happened with someone else, it just felt like she knew Tenma for a long time…maybe he was inside the locked memories? But he never mentioned that he knew her so she might be wrong.

She tilted her head when the man mentioned that she looked tired, wondering if the tiredness was really showing from her eyes and her body. He was right though, she felt a little bit weary and all she wanted to do was to take a nice bath and sleep through the night. “I will soon, the whole private meeting with the emperor was exhausting for both physically and mentally.” She didn’t know why she mentioned that in front of the man, she just felt like Tenma should know. “Also… I was only worried because you look sad and exhausted as well. And you are soaked.” Noir knew that she shouldn’t be stalling his time so he could go back to his room and dry himself, but she couldn’t help it. Her lips began to move and her vocal cord began to let out another voice, “Mr. Mikazuki.” She called softly, “Umm… p-please have a good rest… Don’t catch a cold.”


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With a sigh, the man decided to approach the black haired girl. Tenma wondered if Noir had noticed the sign of attachment that she was showing at the moment, the same kind of attachment where a sibling want the other siblings to know about some kind of stuff. In this case, the swordsman felt like Noir wanted to tell him more about the private meeting but judging from her body language, she seemed hesitant. As a brother who love his sister more than his own life, he couldnt stop himself to have the desire to know more so he could help her in some kind of way. It was a shame though seeing her in this kind of state where she was unable to really express how she felt like openly and the micro expression that she was showing was the only thing that could help Tenma to guess about what Noir felt at the moment. "May I call you Noir?" Tenma spoke first, breaking the several second silence with his voice. He could feel the pain on his chest, couldnt bring himself to believe that he actually need to ask for his own sister's permission to call her by her name.

It might be too soon for him to actually ask the black haired girl about her private meeting but he didn't mind if he couldn't convince her to speak right at that moment. "Please, come to my room for a little bit if you want to talk about it because I would need to dry myself up so I wont catch a cold like you asked me to." He beamed the girl with a bright smile, thinking that perhaps that was the least that he could do to listen to what Noir wanted to say privately. "I don't mind if you refuse since we just met for around several weeks, I also understand that the private meeting was very important after all. But I am more worried to you look puzzled and burdened like this and I guess I can offer to shoulder some of the burden as well... so I might be able to offer you some kind of an assistance if I could."


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“Yes… of course. Please call me Noir.” The black haired girl nodded, noticing that this maybe the first time the man ever called her by her name. It felt nostalgic though hearing him mentioned her name like that but she didn’t know why, but perhaps her mind was just confused because maybe the swordsman might look like someone in her past. She was not sure about going to his room, but not because of something inappropriate stuff, it was more like she didn’t want to disturb the man at all. However, she thought to herself that if she didn’t talk to him at that moment, she got the feeling that she might not get any chance to talk to him later on. So the magician decided to take the chance and agreed with the man, letting him to guide her to his room.

The man would open the room for her and letting her sit on the couch, she would do as what he asked and sat on the couch while waiting for Tenma. The man himself smiled to her and excused himself for a bit, taking a clean dry shirt with him and went inside the bathroom. Noir looked around the room and wondered what kind of man Tenma was. His room looked clean, there was nothing scattered around the room or even placed anywhere except for him bag and Katana that were placed just beside the bed. It should be common though for the first glance, but it was too clean as if there was no one living in the room. The black haired girl might be thinking too much about it though and she was grateful that the swordsman came out from the bathroom before she could think even further.

The man would sit on the corner of the bed, maintaining his distance with the girl herself and waited. Noir would stay quiet as well for several second before noticing that it was her cue to start telling him about what she wanted to say. She agreed to come to his room to talk about it so it might be foolish to not start talking. “I requested the emperor to let me speak with one of his prisoners and… he let me do it, escorting me to his prisoners… but what we found in the prison was terrible.” She said as she recalled the bodies scattered around the dungeon, “Several guards were dead, we were suspecting that the prisoner…Lady Shousui… had killed them. But she said they were dead because of their carnal desire, they made a beast with three backs together she said although I couldn’t find any beast like that around.”

The magician sighed softly before she continued to speak to the swordsman, “She also… told me something about myself. You see, I always feel that there is something inside me, something dangerous, like a beast that would emerge soon if I don’t try to control it. Lady Shousui seemed to notice it and she said that it might because of an experiment conducted to my body, she said my body has a different kind of rukh because of the experiment.” She would pause herself for a bit, wanting to see if the man wanted to say anything. But the man was shaking his head and told her to go on with her story, so the black haired girl nodded and continued, “I am not really an expert in life magic so right now, I couldn’t see the difference in my body at all. She told me that I should go back to Magnostadt and learn Clairvoyance magic to find out about what really happened, she… was playing with me as if she is preparing me for something… She also mentioned the possibilities that my parents did the experiment to me and she might be right…” The black haired girl stopped herself there, staying quiet after spilling everything that she wanted the man to know and waited for the man to say something. It was strange for her to be able to speak a lot towards someone that she barely knew, but she just feel comfortable with Tenma and she trusted him.

WC: 1035/2000


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“Alright, Noir it is. Also… please call me Tenma.” The swordsman smiled to her again before he escorted her to his room, opening the door for the magician and waited until she stepped in before he entered the room as well. “Please wait there, I will change my cloth first.” Tenma said as he pointed the couch and placed his Katana just beside his bed near his bag before heading towards the bathroom. He sighed after he closed the door and took the towel to dry himself, wiping the waters that was dripping from his skin. The one eyed man took off his eyepatch as well so he could wipe his eyes and he would wear it again to hide his crimson colored eye, showing only his golden colored one. He let the smooth shirt to slide through his arms and covering his body, letting him to find a bliss of wearing a clean dry shirt. The man didn’t take too long to change his shirt actually and he would open the door of the bathroom, politely apologizing to the girl if he took a long time to change. The magician shook her head in return, saying it was fine and after nodding to her reply, Tenma would sit on the bed. He could have sat on the couch as well but he prefer to not do that and kept his distance from the magician, the distance between them would prevent Tenma to show his true self in front of his sister and it would help him to keep being “Tenma” and not “Caine”.

The swordsman raised his eyebrow when Noir mentioned that some guards had been killed by a prisoner that she wanted to meet, grateful that she was safe but curious about why the prisoner didn’t run away and stayed in the prison instead after she killed the guards. Not only that, she said something vulgar in front of the emperor and his sister, although it seemed that his sister didn’t know what it means and the swordsman was grateful for that as well. If what the prisoner said was true, then maybe the soldiers had it coming when they decided to give into their carnal desire.

Tenma listened to words after words, noting that she had realized that something was residing inside her, a beast she called it. The swordsman called the entity inside himself as his dark side, but perhaps calling it a beast was fitting as well due to the destructive and blood thirsty nature. The entity inside him had not come out yet and tried to take control of his body, but he could feel that each day passed with his thirst to shed blood becoming stronger and that possibly was caused by the beast inside him. He wondered about the beast inside Noir though but he would wait until she was finished. Now the stuff about experiment that caused the beast could reside inside them was new for Tenma and he guessed that it would be his new goal for now, to find more about it because it might be related to their parents after all if he assemble the puzzles.

Even if he hid his concern with a smile, inside Tenma was already stabbing a wooden dummy target over and over again, wondering how far this Lady Shousui knew about the experiment. He assumed that the prisoner was an expert in magic…and if she could use clairvoyance magic to Noir means that she might knew that Tenma was Noir’s brother however it seemed that she didn’t tell his sister about it. The possibilities of their parents conducting the experiment to themselves was absurd, but Tenma still kept the possibilities inside his mind because if that was really the fact, he wouldn’t be too surprised although he would surely feel a little bit betrayed. Their parents was loving and if it really happened then there must be some kind of reason for that…and the fact that they were killed might be related to it.

“Noir, follow what you think is right to do. If you think going back to Magnostadt and learn Calirvoyance magic is right, then do it. If you think increasing the level of your life magic is the right thing to do, then do it. There is no boundaries…however…. Don’t feel yourself with doubt.” The man paused for a second before speaking again, his gaze was focusing towards the girl’s topaz orbs. “I am grateful that you are telling me all of this, however I know you know this already but please stay on your guard… I personally think this Lady Shousui has another plan and escaping is not one of her plan, I am afraid destruction might be in one of her plan. Not only that, the emperor’s safety would be our priority as well, she might be working for Gao Yuan Zu.” Tenma sighed before standing up, sending Noir a smile before he walked towards her. “It has been a long day for you though, so I guess we should call it a day for now. You can look for me if you want to talk about anything as well though, so don’t hesitate to approach me anytime, now, let me escort you back to your room so you can get a good rest.” Tenma would offer his hand to Noir and if she take it, he would gladly walk her to her room before saying good night and waited until she entered her own room. “Well then, good night Noir. May you have a sweet dreams.”


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Tenma’s words might be simple but it really gave Noir some kind of confidence, it felt like she used to listen to someone like him and the words that he said was somehow nostalgic although the black haired girl didn’t remember why. When the swordsman mentioned that Yoshiro’s safety would be their priority at the moment, Noir nodded and showed the she agreed with him. “I do agree, she said she was an assassin before and we don’t know if she is still one right now.” The magician recalled when Lady Shousui told Noir about her own past even though it was still vague. The former noble woman might not be dangerous at the moment because the emperor had ordered all magicians to guard her cell, however Noir could tell the surge of energy that she had as well as the mysterious child that was always staying by her side.

The man was kind enough to escort her back to her own room, it was not necessary actually as she believed that she could take care of herself. Going back to her room by herself was not even a problem at all, but since the black haired man insisted, the magician let him to escort her back. He waited until she entered the room and even wished her a good night and sweet dreams, “Same to you… Tenma.” The black haired girl bowed politely before closing the door slowly. She didn’t move from behind the door though, wanting to know if the man had gone back to his own room or not. She wanted him to get enough rest as well, not to mention that he was soaking before. After she was sure that the one eyed man had gone back, Noir would sit on the bed and let both of her beast approached her. Both Haku and Kuzunoha walked towards her although they looked sleepy before nuzzling her with their face and enjoyed the pet that she gave to them.

So any thoughts inhabiting her mind at the moment though, mostly she was thinking about her own incapability for something that she thought she was pretty good at it. It was true that she lacked a lot in the term of life magic, but after reading a lot of magic books and practicing by herself, perhaps she should have change her method to learn? She didn’t know… she actually love offensive spells, she loved lightning and water magic as well as strength magic. Something about “force” in that magic was simply mesmerizing for her, but she didn’t realize that being an “expert” in life magic would allow her to see the world differently. The black haired girl sighed before she took her nature scepter, the powerful wand that was infused with the power of life magic. She didn’t really need to use that particular scepter though but she thought it would be very helpful if she wanted to understand more about life magic by using it.

“Hmm… life magic… it allows you to control the nature and creates life.”
She murmured to herself as she stared at her scepter, “What if… it is used to destroy life from inside…” To have a better understanding on the magic, Noir believed that she should try the advantageous and the destructive effect  that it could have so the black haired girl began to wonder what kind of life magic that could destruct something from inside.

WC: 1608/1500


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The magician began to take one of the book that she brought with her, trying to find some kind of inspiration from there. It was intended as one of the book that she would read to kill some time while she stayed in the palace, but perhaps the book that covered medical theme would help her to find out about the spell that she could create. She would look at the table of contents that book had and her eyes would be scanning all the chapter’s title until she stopped at one certain word. “Bacteria…” She murmured and her eyes began to look for more inspiration until she stopped at another word that made her closed the book, finally having the puzzle inside her head started to being placed correctly. ’Bacteria that could affect one’s immunity… perhaps I could try that. It might be complicated but it would help to make me find out more about life magic… letting me to reach Lady Shousui’s level…’

Noir placed the book on the bed and began to hold her scepter upwards before closing her eyes, focusing her mind to create a spell based on bacteria that could affect immunity system. She imagined a small shard made from some kind of energy that would be the manifestation of her concept, it would be floating and travelled to its target. Once it entered the target, the shard would cause the microbes inside one’s body to grow and attack their immunity system, destroying them from inside. The black haired girl let out a soft sigh before she swung her wand, making a small plant grow from the apple seed that she stored in her pocket. She was quite nervous, considering this would be the first time for her to perform the spell… and it was a really dangerous spell as well. With a sigh, the magician began to concentrate and using the scepter to create the very same shard that she had imagined in her mind while she pointed it towards the plant, “Batteri Novici.” She would control the shard, careful enough to not let it travel to the wrong way and straight to the plant that she just made only.

It was truly a dangerous spell… the small plant suddenly ruptured the moment the shard entered it’s inside, making Noir stepped back as she was surprised knowing how strong the spell was. She wondered why the spell would be that dangerous as well, although it ate some of her magoi but she never intended to make it that strong. However, the black haired girl could only let out another sigh and accepted it, knowing that perhaps she needed more training to control her strength. In the end, the spell worked just as what she had imagined, but she was not sure if she would use it in the future. Perhaps it could be useful in a very dire situation but she hoped the time never come, Noir shook her head, knowing that she began to think too much. She would climb to the bed and placed the scepter beside her before letting the sleepiness to close her eyes and brought her to a deep slumber.


WC : 1500+/1500

Spell trained:

Batteri Nocivi
Tier: A-tier
Requirements/Drawbacks:Have to point her staff/wand to the target
Sustain: 0
Cool Down: 4 posts
Cost: 40|20
Description: Using life magic, Noir would send a small shard of magoi which is 1 cm in diameter to invade into the target’s body who is up to 20m away from Noir. Once the magoi ball is inside, it will causing the natural microbes inside the body to grow and attacks target’s immunity system. This spell will cause organ failure and their body will be ruptured, causing A-tier damage.


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Tenma waited, his eyes were staring at the door and he stayed still until Noir closed to door while a smile was still attached to his face. Soon, the smile faded and he turned his back, wanting to go back to his room for now. A lot of thing had been happening and now that such a dangerous event occurred in the middle of this critical time, the swordsman wondered if they could really win the war against the old emperor. Now was not the time to fill one’s heart with doubt though, Tenma let out a heavy sigh as he kept walking towards his own room.

“Ah… Caine isn’t it…?”

Tenma could hear a voice, but he was not sure who said it since there was no one around him when he heard that. But that was not the thing that almost clicked his other side, it was more the fact that this voice was calling him by his real name. Tenma’s real identity as Caine Ecryola was known to someone else right now and it made him stayed still again, trying to assess the situation and decide what he should do.

“Don’t worry, I would like to request some of your time to chat for a bit. Of course this is related to Noir… your sister.”

His golden eye widened the moment the voice mentioned Noir’s name, he clenched his fist and gritted his teeth, trying to hold himself. This person was smart enough to use his sister like this and much to his horror, the thing that he wanted to avoid had finally happened.

Last edited by Mikazuki Tenma on 15/07/17, 01:00 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Out of nowhere, there was a ball of water floating in the middle of the air but Tenma decided to wait and observed the water ball just in case something might happen. His hand would be touching the hilt of his Katana, ready to unsheathe it if he needed too. The black haired man was not sure about fighting this person actually, he admitted that he would in a disadvantage if a swordsman like him needed to fight a magician head on. The ball of water moved and starting to be a wide water wall before it got frozen into an ice. If Tenma looked at the ice wall, he could see a figure standing there with a mischievous smile that clearly had a dangerous meaning behind it. He has red hair like a Fanalis but there was a higher chance that he dyed it instead of being a Fanalis, a simple assumption that Tenma made just because of an oblivious reason. This man looked dangerous enough for Tenma to the point the one eyed man put up his guard and wrap his hand around the hilt of his Katana tightly.

The man chuckled, closing his eyes and simply waving his hand as if he was trying to make Tenma to not overthink too much. “Don’t worry, I mean no harm at all… for now.” The redhead shot a cold glare to Tenma, perhaps enough to send a chill the latter’s spine but it seemed the swordsman wasn’t affected by it. “Oh? As expected… Oh well, I want to make a negotiation. One that you need to agree in order to protect your sister… Don’t mistaken me, I love her so much and I don’t want to harm her, however, things needs to be done.” The red haired man lifted up his finger where a long pipe was resting on it and brought it to his lips before he inhaled whatever that was inside the pipe only to exhale some smoke. Tenma knew he was waiting for him to answer, to say whether or not he would do it. “My sister is stronger than you think, you wouldn’t be able to harm her. I think I don’t have to oblige to whatever that you want me to do.”

Another chuckle escaped the magician’s lips and he shook his head, amused by what Tenma just said. “Ahhh, foolish Caine. I know how strong she is as well as what is residing inside her, more than what you know. I wouldn’t be so brave to negotiate with such a strong man like you if I don’t have something that is equally dangerous as the risk if you don’t agree to do one this thing.” The red haired man brushed his hair with his fingers, pausing a little bit before he locked his eyes to Tenma’s golden orb. “She trusts me more than you, simply because I am the one who is always on her side this past years. Noir is clever but she has a liiitle problem…. And with only a few words from me, she might hate you forever. Isn’t that something that you feared so much?” He would laugh as he noticed the change in Tenma’s expression, there was an element of despair there, mixed with uncertainty. “I just need you to be the emperor’s general and gain his trust, of course that way you would be able to satisfy the hunger inside you. Not a really bad offer, isn’t it? Oh, and don’t worry, we are not asking you to be a mole. We just want you to be able to participate in a more dangerous battle.”

The black haired man was still suspicious, if it was so simple then why they compare it with his sister’s safety. Something was not right… “I don’t understand...” Tenma said as he tried to think, trying to place all the puzzles inside his head to get the answer that he sought. “Hmmm… well, people is very adaptable and we are just interested in that. Not only that, you have something inside you, perhaps the existence isn’t strong yet but clearly you are struggling to control it. So, we want to observe it, we want to know whether or not you could live up to our expectation. I am sorry I can’t tell you more though, but… don’t you want to know how far you can control the beast as well?” The black haired man gritted his teeth, confused, didn’t know what to do. Not only this man knew about his true identity, he knew about the chimera as well and that just made the swordsman try his hard to think of any solutions that he could think of.


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It was true that the raven haired man wanted to know about his own limitation, wanting to know how far he could control his own bloodlust. He never had the experience to kill someone in the war, not like he got any chance to actually participate in any war as well previously. But now it was different, he could kill as much as he wanted and satisfied his thirst perhaps without limitation at all. Yet there were 2 questions inside his head at the moment, it was whether or not he could control himself and keeping his sanity or whether or not Noir would see that side of him and would be terrified of him after she witnessed it.

Tenma let out a heavy sigh, clearly burdened by the request. He didn’t know what this man was capable of and the fact that he knew Noir, perhaps had bonded a close relationship with her as well, made the swordsman worried if the man might be the worst enemy for both of them. “I understand, but keep your hands off of her…”

The redhead clapped his hands and his face formed a smile, seemingly happy to hear Tenma’s answer. “I understand as well, hopefully you will give us a nice show.” He laughed for several second but would quickly continue to speak. “My name is Rufus by the way, I hope you won’t say anything to Noir about this. Oh yeah, you do know that in order to be a general, you will need to affiliate with the country first?”

The swordsman clicked his tongue, knowing the fact that Rufus just spoken very well. He wouldn’t be able to tell Noir about this event as well and the way the redhead asked him to not tell his sister was just taken as a mock by the one eyed man. Not only that, it might be a bad choice to do what Rufus said since he would be affiliated with a country and even became the general, it would be hard for him to wander to anywhere that he wanted…in the other words, it would feel like being imprisoned in Kou itself. He was not sure if the emperor would accept if he offered his loyalty and requesting the general spot, but he needed to try… at least for Noir’s sake. “Yeah.” The black haired man answered shortly, his tone was flat and his eyes were cold.

Rufus would then hold himself to not say anything and would just lift his hand up before sending hand waves to the swordsman. A second after, the ice wall shattered into pieces and Tenma was left alone, the burden on his shoulders increased now. Both of the emperor and the general must be very busy at the moment, so it would be wiser to write them both a letter to show his intention to affiliate and offering his loyalty. He would use a classic reason though, hoping it would be convincing enough. But perhaps it would be a long night to think about how he should write the letter….

Words by words were being written by the swordsman, behind him was some papers that was being formed into balls because he was not pleased with any writing that he had put on them before. After he finally finished his letter, the one eyed man would take a rest and tried to release some stress so he could maintain his composure by meditating while he lay down. It really worked for him and he slowly drifted to his slumber, surrendering himself to the peace that the meditation had offered as the result. As soon as the first rooster greeted the sun, Tenma would be up and bringing the letters with him. He would ask some maids for the direction that would be leading him to Dong Zhu’s office and would wait there until the general come, gripping his letter on his hand. “I’ve decided…for her sake.”

Whenever the general arrived to his office, Tenma would hand him a letter in a respectful manner and waited for any answers that Dong Zhu would gave. Inside the letter, he wrote that he wanted to pledge his loyalty and affiliated himself to the country. Not only that, he offered his service as well to become a general if it was possible and to made it convincing enough, he added that he believed in the emperor's cause and wanted to lend his strength to make Kou a better country.


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Upon his inquiry, the maid he approached would personally show Tenma to the office of General Dong Zhu. It wasn't very far from his previous location. When they arrived, she would fix her uniform before kneeling by the door. "Please let me notify him of your visit. Thank you for your patience." Her voice was flat yet her words held a uniform tone of respect much like the other maids of the castle. It was almost as if they were brainwashed.

The door slid open, revealing a servant woman whom was knelt respectfully with her hands on her lap. "Excuse me." She carefully entered the room, closing the door behind her and returning to her previous position. "M'lord... one of our honored guests would like to request an audience with you." Dong Zhu shifted himself from his position; his armor creaking in response. The material on the soles of his slippers pressed into the bamboo flooring beneath them. "Very well. Send him in." It intrigued him. He wondered what this guest had to say. There was a part of him who didn't trust these new guests. But he had to lay aside those feelings for Yoshiro. "As you wish, m'lord. Excuse me." The servant turned to the door once again, calmly exiting the room.

She rose from her kneeling position and turned towards Tenma. "You may enter." The maid would bow to him before returning to her duties. Dong Zhu peered out of the door and got a glimpse of whom he was meeting with. A familiar face with a similar affliction. He didn't know too much about the man nor what he was there to meet him for aside from a suspicious arrangement of papers in his hand.

Last edited by Solomon's Proxy on 20/07/17, 04:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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“Alright, thank you so much for your help.” Tenma smiled to the maid, grateful that she would pause doing anything that she might need to do at that time only to escort the swordsman to the place that he wanted to go. The letter that he had inside his grip was something that would determine the safety of his sister and because of that he felt weak… pathetic...and worthless for not being able to do something else to protect his sister. But just like what his father taught before, sometime doing what the enemy wants was not a foolish movement as it allowed more opportunities and insight to come. He never trusted that though but for now, for the sake of his own sanity he would try to believe it.

The maid would stand up and turned towards the swordsman, seemingly got the permission from the general to let Tenma enter the room. As she spoke to him and bowed before excusing herself to do her own responsibilities, Tenma would bow to her a little and starting to walk into the office. “Excuse me.” The one eyed man said as he approached closer to the general, “It is Tenma. I would like to submit something.” He would use both hands to hand the letter to the general, using a mannered gesture that he learned long time ago. Tenma could only hope that the general would want to accept the letter and considered what was written inside the letter as well. However, to make it short, he began to speak, “Inside the letter is my intention to fully affiliate with Kou Empire as well as giving my loyalty for the Emperor.”


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Dong Zhu was taken by surprise by the boldness of his intentions. He would take the letter that was offered to him and break the seal that was placed upon it. "I see." Despite his distrust for the man, he couldn't help but wonder why this was so sudden. As he scanned through the letter, the words seemed naturally formal. However, it's authenticity couldn't be measured simply from a piece of paper. The general was frustrated. Dong Zhu placed the piece of paper down and slammed his hand down on the table. "Do you even know what that means? Are you truly prepared to live and die for not only the emperor but our country?" Everything about this raised his suspicions of the man before him. To ask to pledge himself to the country as a citizen was an easy task. But to ask to be placed in charge to command thousands of men was out of question for him.

"Tell me. How am I to trust you to command hundreds of thousands of soldiers and commanders?" Dong Zhu took a step back to recollect himself, crossing his arms across his chest. "I live and breathe to protect this country, her people, and the emperor. There are no thoughts that cross my mind that aren't about my country. She is split in half and my duty as one of the great generals is to ensure that she is cleansed from this evil at all costs." He locked eyes with Tenma, trying to size up the man. "Will you simply leave and never come back when this is all over? We do not need mercenaries to stand by our country." He would quiet himself after this, giving Tenma room to speak. Dong Zhu was intrigued to see his answer and hoped he would not be taken lightly.

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Tenma stayed still when Dong Zhu slammed his hand on the table, his eyes didnt even blink and he listened tentatively to what the general said. His question was not a hard one but the answer that the black haired man had to give couldnt be only a simple one, it needed to be convincing and he needed to give enough proof. The general went on with the questions and Tenma didnt want to cut him only to answer, so he simply wait until Dong Zhu was quiet and gave Tenma the chance to speak. In the meantime though, the swordsman started to put some words in his mind, preparing his answer. “I understand about your concern, Sir.” A soft, genuine smile carved on his face when he said it to the general.

“My reason is based on the fact that I was born in Kou in the first place, one of my parents… my mother, was a citizen of Kou before she moved with my father to Reim. Is it odd to give your loyalty to the country where you and your mother were born? After I lost her, this country is the only fragment that I have in her memories.” Although Tenma didnt really show it, Dong Zhu would notice a hint of sadness in the swordsman’s eyes if he looked. The memories of his parents were still there and still affecting him after all, especially about his mother at the moment.

“I am always fascinated by Kou, the culture, the systems, the structures. Not only that, the way that the current emperor rule Kou is inspiring and I always look up on him, he stands better for Kou, one to be proud of. When Emperor Gao ruled the land and invaded Reim, I felt shame to be of Kou Ancestry so I decided that I was going to be an adventurer, going places and not trying to affiliate myself with any country so I could be free while bearing the shame on my shoulder.”

Tenma would lock his eyes to Dong Zhu’s, the same thing that the latter did when he was talking to him before although he didn’t intend to size up the general. “However, the meeting with the emperor had swayed me and for the nights I had spent after that, I finally decided to give my loyalty. Yet for me, it wouldn’t be enough to only give my loyalty and not fight for the country. I want to fight so the children of Kou in distant land like I was never have to suffer the same shame. I won’t leave the country after I’ve pledged my loyalty, there might be a lot more threat coming up from the sides that we don’t know and I want to ensure that both the emperor and the country would be safe at all cost.” A soft sigh would escape his lips, knowing that this might not enough to convince the man. So Tenma put a hand on his chest before saying, “I am willing to take a test to prove that the lives of kou soldiers will not be wasted in my hands though.” He would wait for Dong Zhu to respond though as he stayed quiet.


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He kept his eyes closed as Tenma began to speak. The general was prepared to send this man off in a moments notice. Dong Zhu was a man of patience and respect but he was no fool. As the words flowed out of his mouth, he could hear that the man before him was genuine. While he felt he was no where near as passionate as himself. There was a good amount of love for his former home. The man before him was either a good liar or speaking from his heart. Dong Zhu opened his eye and looked Tenma in the eyes as he continued. It was a few moments before he finished with a gentle breath and a hand upon his chest. "I am willing to take a test to prove that the lives of Kou soldiers will not be wasted in my hands though." Dong Zhu closed his eye once more and thought about his decision before he spoke again. A few moments would pass before his lips would part.

"While we may not have the same vision. I am willing to arrange to have your citizenship become official. In the meantime, we should discuss the other contents in this proposal with the emperor. If you are truly willing to prove yourself, he will know a way." He moved to another part of the room as he spoke, grabbing a few documents from underneath a small chest. After placing them on the table, he would begin to write with a black feathered quill. His attention would change over to a book with a magic circle on the cover. After writing a few words, he would ring a small bell. In just under a minute, a woman would enter the room in the same fashion as the maid from before.

Her hair was long and black like shadow. She wore a light, black, silk cheongsam. Her face was familiar to a woman Tenma had met briefly before. A mysterious woman that had guided them to their chambers after the meetings earlier that day. "It's good to see you, Ai. Would you lead our guest to the emperor and have one of your puppets complete these documents?" Dong Zhu walked over to her, handing her a thin stack of paperwork. "I am quite busy." His voice seemed to drop into one that seemed rather hostile. She replied back in a playful tone, "Of course, I wouldn't not help our dear guest. Enjoy your work, my lord." Ai's eerie laughter followed her statement as she held the papers close to her flat chest.

Her attention shifted over onto Tenma with an unsettling smile on her face as she brought herself up to stand. "Ah~ Master Tenma. Would you follow me? I'm confident that our dear emperor would love to see you." She held a prim and proper stature as she guided Tenma out of the office. As they passed through the halls, any maids they passed would stop in their tracks to greet Ai with the same statement as they bowed to her. "Good day, Lady Ai." Each time they would walk by the air would get colder as well. It was an unnatural chill that made the skin stiffen. They would needlessly wind in and out of dark corridors until they reached the throne room. The room was dim with trickles of light shining through glazed windows. Yoshiro was sitting upon the throne with a plain desk in front of him that was littered with papers.

"Emperor Yoshiro. One of our honored guests was sent here by the general to grace your presence." He looked up from his work to meet eyes with Tenma. "Thank you, Ai. You may return to what you were doing." The woman bowed out into the shadows with a gentle hand to her chest. Yoshiro waited until she left before addressing Tenma. "I hope she did not bother you." He would pause a moment, pushing the table in front of him gently out of the way and raising from his throne. The bottoms of his shoes would echo throughout the empty hall as he walked down towards him. "I was told you were willing to prove your strength. Being a general in an army is no easy task and I have to be confident you can protect them as well as yourself."

Yoshiro would stop a few steps away from him and draw his katana from his waist. He plunged it into the ground and an icy mist began to flow from the cracks it created. In mere seconds, the whole room was transformed into an arena that was square; 50 meters in height and width. Surprisingly, the flooring was not slippery but the space they had to duel was smaller. "No magic or special tricks," he said, casting his metal vessel to the side, "Just ordinary blades and our strength." Yoshiro had a smug expression on his face as he tossed a katana to Tenma from a nearby rack after taking an identical one himself. "When you're ready, come at me." His hand would gesture towards himself, egging the man on. The sword was crafted from the best materials and was incredibly sturdy with a blade that was roughly 60cm in length; average for it's kind. Yoshiro had taken a few steps back. There was a distance of 5 meters between them and 45 meters behind them.

[ Note from DM: The katana is a simple A-Tier sword. ]

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When Dong Zhu began to speak after him, Tenma only smiled but made sure he listened to the general tentatively. The swordsman began to take some mental notes about Dong Zhu’s opinion as he said that the vision that they shared was not the same, not a really important thing to be added to his mind actually but just in case if he need to use it. He could consider that he managed to pass the first step for now, of course, not all of his words were honest. The fact about his mother was true though, yet the vision that he told was not his goal at the moment.Yes he might be using the same vision if it was really his will to offer his loyalty to the emperor, he could say that part was not entirely a made up one. However his main reason was to protect his sister, the most and only precious thing that he had left in this world.

Tenma’s eye observed Dong Zhu’s movement as the general moved to the other part of the room and did some stuffs, he would then rang a small bell after it seemed that he had finished writing something in a strange book. The maid that he believed was named Ai, entered the room. Still giving the same vibe that she spread when she first led them to their own room, although it did feel a little bit thicker now. When Dong Zhu mentioned to have one of her puppet to complete some documents, Tenma raised an eyebrow, curious on how the puppetry work. The girl would then focused on the swordsman, giving him a strange smile that the one eyed man would also reply with a bright smile, seemed not affected by the strange vibe that the girl had spread. “Of course, milady.” He would say to Ai in a gentleman manner and would got ready to follow her, but he wouldnt exit the room before bowing deeply to the general and said, “My deepest gratitude, general. Good day.”

’Her hair is jet black and her eyes are red...Kind of similar to Noir... I hope she had a good rest after I see her off to her room last night...’ The swordsman stared at Ai as he followed behind her, keeping some distance between them. Perhaps the first thing he would do after all this meeting over might be looking for Noir, buying her some kind of candied apple or caramelized banana might be a good gift as well. He quietly smiled to himself, a sad one as he wanted to do those things as brother and sister again but alas he could only do it as an acquaintances that coincidentally were in the same side who were trying to get to know each other more. As he lost in thoughts, the view of the throne room snapped him out from his little lala land and he would clear his throat before preparing to meet the emperor who was waiting behind the door.

Yoshiro who was working with some papers would take a moment of his important time to look towards Tenma, who the latter would reply with a smile and a small bow. Ai would leave when the emperor ordered her and it was just Tenma and Yoshiro in the room right now, filled with a complete silence before the emperor said something about Ai bothering the one eyed man. Tenma would shake his head and said, “No, not at all. She has been very helpful. However...” He would put his hand of his chest before giving a respectful bow towards the emperor, “I am grateful you would allow me to meet you in the midst of your busy time.”

He would nod to what Yoshiro said to him after that, similar worries that Dong Zhu had seemed to be shown from the emperor’s words as well. Tenma simply nodded, wanting to see what the emperor was going to do as he approached closer before drawing his Katana and using it to create something that looked like an icy room. The moment Yoshiro mentioned no magic or special trick as well as only using blade and strength, Tenma would keep smiling although his trembling hands were hidden behind his back, already filled with excitement. It was amusing to see the emperor himself would go down and challenge him to a sword fight, something that he didnt expect to happen. Tenma was happy that he got a chance to fight Yoshiro so he said that he understood the rule and he would catch the sword that the emperor tossed to him before observing it. A fine Katana indeed, made with the best material, perhaps even a better material than Tenma’s own katana. The swordsman would take Myou, Guren, Mu and other weapons that was attached to him before putting it in the corner of the room, was not willing to use it.

The emperor told Tenma to come at him when he was ready and he was so ready from the moment he put his weapon aside, but charging first was not his style and he was willing to keep it that way in this moment. The swordsman would shake his head towards Yoshiro as he maneuvered his body to enter offensive stance with his Katana held low. “I wouldn’t dare to steal the first move, my lord.” The one eyed man said with a smile and he waited for the emperor to decide what he would do.


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The temperature began to gradually drop around them from their icy surroundings. Yoshiro opened his mouth and instead of words, a wisp of mist flowed out as his warm breath escaped his lips. His eyes darkened as he mirrored his opponents stance. The ice cracking beneath his feet sounded as he lunged forward five meters with great speed towards Tenma. In what seemed like an instant, it would take exceptional reflexes to meet swords with the emperor. However, it would be easy to pick up that Yoshiro was holding back quite a bit of his power. By either clashing blades or recieving a blow to his body, Tenma would quickly realize that the blades were not sharp. However, they were very durable and the strength behind them wouldn't spare them any kind of injury.

His following actions would depend on his opponents course of action. If Tenma were to clash blades with him, he would instantly switch into a parry. The edge of his blade would meet the back of his opponents. This would deflect the opposing blade downwards as he maneuvered himself around Tenma, pushing the blade forwards towards the guard. He would then attempt to get the blade inside his form towards his torso in order to hit his stomach. If Tenma were to get hit by his assault, the edge of his blade would slam into his shoulder and Yoshiro would step back three meters into a defensive stance. In the event that his attack was dodged using an ability, he would jump back five meters into a defensive stance and await Tenma's assault.

[ Note from DM: Just for clarification, the katana is still an A-Tier weapon but it will deal blunt damage. Don't worry, it will still work with any abilities you may have that cut; it just won't cut. It is blunt for safety purposes for the most part. I tried to make it as detailed as possible but let me know if you have any questions or if I'm doing a bad job. ]

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Although the Katana was made with a fine material, there was something that made the one eyed man confused a little bit. The emperor tossed him a blunt sword and it seemed like rather than testing the swordsman, Yoshiro was just inviting him to a friendly sparring. Still, blunt sword dealt a more painful damage if someone got hit with a full force and the black haired man prefer to be cut rather than being hit by a blunt damage, so Tenma better keep his guard up. The temperature was an advantage for Tenma, maybe, as he prefer cold terrain rather than the scorching one so letting out some icy breath from his lips were not a problem at all.

Yoshiro lunged towards him with a great speed, as expected from the emperor although Tenma felt he was holding back his power a little bit but the emperor swordsmanship was sloppy. Disappointing indeed, but he should not underestimate the emperor for now because at this time he didn’t know what Yoshiro was capable off. Tenma would observe the straightforward movement of Yoshiro’s attack. Since the lunge was a pretty simple attack, the speed that the emperor move with was offset by its aim being so obvious. Once the emperor was just outside the attack range and about to strike, Tenma would raise a free hand and use it to parry the emperor’s blade aside by pushing against its flat side. Simultaneously, Tenma’s sword bearing hand would turn and strike upwards, aiming to smash against the emperor’s wrist. Both defense and offense happened at the same time while Tenma took a step to the side and slightly towards the emperor, leaving Tenma having circled around Yoshiro by a few degrees of rotation.

Immediately, after the initial exchange of blows, Tenma would fluidly move from striking at Yoshiro's hand to shifting his weapon so he could drive the bottom of his sword into the emperor's face. Meanwhile, Tenma's free hand would make a fist and maneuvered close to his side in case it was needed.


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If it had been Yoshiro's intention to strike the man offensively with his lunge, he would have been in trouble. His lips would curl into a smile as the man fell for his feint. However, Tenma's hand only pushed the emperors blade down further on top of his own. Since they were both attempting to maneuver around the other, his simultaneous attempt to strike would only meet the chilled steel of Yoshiro's blade. They sang a sharp tune as they grinded up against each other. With a single hand on each of their swords, it was an even match of strength. Although, Tenma did not cease his assault at that moment. He had shifted his weapon away from the clash to strike his pummel into Yoshiro's face.

With his sword turned around against him, the emperor simply placed his free hand in front of his face to catch it before it hit his face. He used this pressure to push off three meters backwards. It almost felt as if he was a child again. The feeling of sparring with someone on par with was a familiar feeling. Yoshiro adjusted himself to a neutral stance, returning both hands on his sword. His feet were planted a bit away from each other to give himself decent footing. It seemed he was adamant about Tenma launching the assault and he would wait patiently for his attack.

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Tenma stood his ground while the emperor pushed off of his sword putting three meters distance between them, a smile carved on his face, a nearly satisfied one since the emperor was starting to give him a rather good show. The black haired man would take a step forward, bringing the sword up and began to slash the air while he collected his thoughts. The excitement within himself began to make his blood boil but he was trying hard to repress a wretched desire to spill blood by breathing steadily. 'Who would ever thought I will be having a spar with the Emperor of Kou… An honor for a swordsman like myself.'

He let a sigh escaped his lips though as he was able to repress the desire back again, happy that it wouldn’t bother the sparring. Yet, he wondered what would happen if he won against the emperor after the sparring. Would he receive a punishment for embarrassing the emperor…? Or perhaps he would gain his trust? Oh well, if the swordsman lost against Yoshiro then it means he was not strong enough after all… and he would hate that to the point he would train the hell out of himself to be a worthier one.


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The frozen emperor relaxed his stance, flipping his sword down into the tiles below. It seemed that Tenma wasn’t intent on fighting aggressively. His eyes were still fixated on him. He noticed the smug smile upon the man’s face which he took as a gesture of playfulness. Yoshiro scowled in disappointment. “I thought I was the one testing you.” He mocked Tenma, holding his head a bit higher. His fingers twirled around the hilt of his weapon, spinning it on the tip. Yoshiro wasn’t in the mood to play games. However, he had to keep his mind clear and his emotions still. There was a reason his trusted general allowed this man to come here. His honor was clear and just but his ability was yet to be shown. It was too early in the battle to determine his worthiness. But if only he would fight.

“Come at me with all you got. Keep playing as you are but I can not guarantee you victory. We could end it on a loss and I can get back to my duties.” Yoshiro felt the need to entice the man into a more aggressive fighting style. His defenses were on par with some of the greatest he had ever fought but that was not what he was looking for. He lifted his blade in his right hand. But this time, he placed his left hand behind his back. His right foot slipped backwards. It was an odd way to hold his weapon of choice but Yoshiro had some techniques in mind that he wanted to try out.

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“My deepest apologize, I never intended to play around.” The swordsman smiled, there was no remorse in his words as if the apology was not sincere at all. Well, it was not, he merely did that kind of fighting whenever he wanted to know how strong someone and observed their movement so he knew his enemy’s fighting style. But he was disappointed, to think the emperor would not play along and decided to give an order, telling Tenma to initiate first attack or he couldn’t guarantee him victory. The swordsman sighed, perhaps he was the only one who felt something from exchanging slashes. But for now, instead of satisfying his desire, Tenma thought that he might need to be serious after all and probably hoping for a chance to beat the emperor.

Tenma would then approach the emperor with a swift rush, the blade was ready on his hand and he would quickly perform an overhead slash that fluidly switch into a horizontal slash before immediately followed it up with a stab for Yoshiro’s center. Each strike would focus more on speed and precision than brute strength to probe the emperor’s guard.


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Yoshiro bowed his head towards Tenma at his word. He truly hoped that the swordsman would keep to it. He readied his sword, anticipating him to strike at him. Tenma did just that. With a swift motion, he elegantly slashed and stabbed at Yoshiro. The emperor was familiar with each flow of the blade. It reminded him of the days when he was a boy, training under the harsh eye of his father. Part of it was filled with fond memory yet it twisted into a provoked hatred. Those emotions filled his eyes as he intercepted Tenma's horizontal slash, circling around the man to the right to evade the momentum of his blade.

He would follow up by a swift curve of his sword to smack Tenma on his right arm with moderate force. While it wasn't enough to hurt him due to the dull blade and lack of pure force, it was clear he was scolding him. "Come at me as if I am to kill you and you want to kill me. I am your enemy," he growled, stepping back slightly. He wanted Tenma to show some sign of emotion. Passion. Rage. Anything that would spark a flame inside of him.

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The emperor did smack Tenma’s right arm with a his wooden sword after evading the one eyed man’s horizontal slash, however he never evaded the stab that Tenma delivered towards his center. The tip of the sword was pressing against Yoshiro’s chest, weakened enough so it wouldn’t hurt the emperor at all because who knew what would happen if Tenma managed to hurt the emperor with a simple wooden sword. Yoshiro would scold Tenma, clearly trying hard to provoke the one eyed man. However right after Yoshiro said that words and before he stepped back slightly, Tenma would reply his words, “See? You did managed to cut my arm but you would be already dead as my sword would have pierced your heart.” As the emperor stepped back slightly from Tenma, he would continue, “Losing my arm is a fair price for killing someone like you, don’t you think so? Moreover, losing yourself to anger is the least effective way to kill someone… learned that in a very hard way and now I am paying the price.”

The black haired man would smile towards the emperor, “However my way is different…” Tenma would let a soft sigh escaped from his lips before he began to deliver a simple diagonal slash towards Yoshiro, aimed from below towards the emperor’s sword wielding hand, intending to disarm him. However right after his attempt whether it worked or not, Tenma would set his wooden sword to a defensive stance as he spoke, “As you are trying to use killing intention as something to make you stronger, for me not only it will slow me down and make me weaker, it will cost me a lot of things. It will erase my entire existent as something inside me will take over and wreak havoc, perhaps would be unstoppable… but it is not what I fear. What I fear the most is what she will think if she sees me in that kind of condition.”

“I would be a weapon, a shield or even a poisonous snake for you so I can put her in the safest place where no harm could ever touch her… even if that harm could be myself. So here I am asking you this, if I give in to what you and this entity inside me want, would you be able to stop me? Would you be able to guarantee the safety of my sister as well as her own sanity if somehow she was being pursued by this gruesome organization after I give in? Well… perhaps you can…” The one eyed man would take off his eyepatch, revealing not a damaged eye but a crimson colored eye. The vibe from Tenma would change gradually as he sighed again, his lips would begin to form a smirk, a mischievous one if someone could say. This was what he had been trying to suppress, something that had been trying to gain control over his body and battling Tenma’s sanity for its own freedom.


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Yoshiro squinted his eyes as the pressure of his opponents sword pressed against his chest. He noticed the stab ease as it made contact with his flesh. This man was good at his swordsmanship. However, the emperor felt as if he was being lax. Had he relied too much on his djinn? Tenma would seemingly taunt him but Yoshiro would remain unphased. "It would be quite a fair trade. Perhaps you could do the same to my father if you meet him on the battlefield." His humor was dry yet a part of him remained serious. "You are correct. A warrior must keep his head on the battlefield."

Tenma attempted to deliver a simple, diagonal slash towards his wielding hand. Yoshiro would reposition himself, striking downwards with his sword to block his blade. Similtaneously, he would move into his opponent slightly, striking the underside of his jaw with his elbow. The blow was quick yet would hardly harm the swordsman. Yoshiro would keep his sword on top of his, not allowing him to enter his defensive stance. His gray eyes would peer into Tenma's own as the man spoke.

"Everyone has a story. However, if that is your true intention, I do not believe you belong at my side. We are done here," he said, stepping back away from Tenma. Yoshiro placed the dull sword on the rack and replaced it with a longer katana in a white sheathe. The blade was beautiful and radiated an icy smoke at his touch. He fastened it to his waist, walking up the steps. The walls of ice cleared the way for it's emperor, revealing the throne once more. He turned back to Tenma, looking at him curiously. "While it is admirable to wish to provide for your sister, I can not guarantee the safety of all of my people. Could I strike you down if it came to it? I could not say. However, I will ask you this, if it came between her and the very lives of our countrymen that you will swear to protect, who would you fight for?"

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