I have no idea what happened to my first four chapters, but I've managed to recover chapters five through.. I think eight... of my ongoing story, +~Hero~+, which a friend of mine is urging me to make into a full-out series. I wanted to see what some reactions were to it, so I'll put up chapter five here. While I'm not sure if the rules restrict posting parts of stories at different times, I do know the rules of violence and foul language, and have since then edited some parts where it gets a bit... unacceptable, to say the least. Nothing horrifyingly terrible, just a lot worse than normal(like, say, normally, there's only one or two scenes where fights take place, but then suddenly eight scenes are added in the next paragraphs, or usually there's maybe one or two swear words, but suddenly you see about ten. Those parts, plus some swears, I edited, for your viewing pleasure and my not-getting-banned-on-my-first-day. I had to; I have written many stories, and some of them would get me banned from sites with NO restrictions regarding language or violence or anything like that. This story is significantly better than those stories, the fact being that it doesn't immediately start with some world-devastating trauma, as most of my stories(like SYLOSE, for example)do. Hopefully you'll enjoy. ______________________ 5: First Journey, New Ally +~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+ Shingo woke up early and immediately got dressed for the trip. He looked around for Syricuse, but he must have gone out earlier, and probably Auberdyne before him. As was per his agenda, Shingo was late to rise. A glint of white caught Shingo's eye. A note was posted to the door at the far end of the room, and it was written in cursive, so Shingo had trouble deciphering it. He guessed it was from Auberdyne, as when he found out what the letter said, it seemed to fit the holier-than-thou attitude of the strange man. It wasn't a long letter, rather short, really. It read: Shingo, If you, by any chance, are reading this note, then you're late, and we've started off without you. -Auberdyne Shingo blinked thrice before realization set in. +~~+ Meanwhile, outside the inn and progressing through the city, Auberdyne and Syricuse waited patiently for the obvious arrival of Shingo. It didn't take long. The green bolt of lightning flew by them before skidding to a stop two feet in front of them. And he was angry, indeed. His face mirrored that of a picture of a demon Auberdyne had once seen. But that expression slightly paled to what he was seeing now. "You jerks were seriously going to leave without me, weren't you?!" Shingo shouted, half out of breath from sprinting to the scene. Auberdyne coughed and rolled his eyes upwards and to the left, which gave him away entirely. Just as Shingo was about to beat him into a coma or to death, something newcomers in the arena commonly referred to as, "Murder-fying", Auberdyne announced that since everybody had shown up, they could finally continue. Shingo didn't feel much like fighting back, because he was still trying to catch his breath, so he quietly followed. The inner city area proved to be more congested than the docks, and Syricuse felt overwhelmed. He had heard stories about the inner city, but had never in his life crossed through it, always having been stationed at the docks. He wished he were still there. Auberdyne and Shingo, however, looked a bit unfazed. Shingo probably lived somewhere opposite the arena, meaning he probably had to cross through the inner city. And Auberdyne had been through several other cities, so he was probably used to it all by now. Syricuse just wanted to get out of this particular area of the city before his phobia(which was a fear of being closed in)set in. It wasn't as bad at the docks, because he almost never had to go through the crowds, but here was different. Luckily for him, he got a break as Auberdyne used some form of magic to teleport them out of the city- -Wait, magic? How could that be? The old magicians had been wiped out several thousand years before, so how could Auberdyne use magic? Syricuse shook his head and continued onward. He'd rather not think about the confusing things too long. +~~+ Several hours along the road later, Syricuse got the strangest feeling something was trailing them. Slowly, he reached for his gun, then turned and quickly took a shot at the perpetrator, launching his gun from his hand. Syricuse shook his wrist in pain and walked to retrieve his weapon while Shingo went back to investigate the scene. Auberdyne approached the guard. "It seems we need to work on your grip. Another snap like that, and you might lose that hand." Syricuse hated to admit it, but Auberdyne was right. He had broken his wrist seven times with his gun flying out of it, and it was incredibly weak now. Either he find a better gun, or he fix his grip, or he get a prosthetic. Option three wasn't very tasteful. Not to the Sentia Military. Shingo searched the man over. He was definitely a bandit. The outfit told all. He wasn't heavily armed, carrying only a dull knife and a chloroformed rag. He looked rather old. Probably in his sixties or seventies, and he didn't look very stable, judging from the weakened bones and hardly any skin to cover them. Probable back trouble, given the hunched position rigor mortis had set him in, and most likely half-blind, given that both his eyes were blank from both death and some harm in the past. This man was probably looking for money to save himself. Well, Syricuse had successfully prevented that. But it looked as if this man wouldn't have had the chance anyhow. Shingo found another notable item on this man... it looked like a map. Looking it over, Shingo realized it wasn't a map, it was a plotted military movement blueprint. What would this guy be doing with this item? Was he a spy? A bandit forced into action on threats of death? The young fighter didn't take long in getting to Auberdyne and Syricuse about it. Syricuse, mostly. He would know better than Auberdyne, most likely. Being a soldier, and all. "Hey, guys! I found this on the guy Syricuse got!" Shingo said, walking up to the two, who were readily approaching him as they heard the news. Syricuse took the paper and looked it over. "Hmph. Well, this is something. These are the full blueprints for a weapon on the enemy lines. That guy must have been a courier for the other side. We'll have to have a closer look at this. It could be useful." With that, Syricuse rolled up the blueprints and stuffed them in his backpack. Or rather, "knapsack," because backpack was apparently a politically incorrect term in the Sentia military. It was then Auberdyne's turn to become tense and silent. His hand shot out to stop the progression as he looked to the trees. His other hand slowly went for his Ragnarok, while Shingo slowly attached his claw grip to his right hand. Syricuse resorted to his secret other weapon: a combat knife. He couldn't risk shooting his gun and breaking his wrist again until he'd better prepared himself, or modified it. Luckily, he was equally as good with knives as with guns. One thought went through all three of their minds simultaneously: Another one? This has not been a good day... A rustle gave away the position of the mysterious traveler. Syricuse launched his knife in that general direction, only to find that there was no movement other than his knife striking leaves. "Uh, hey, do you need these back?" came a voice from behind Shingo. All three turned to see a young boy in a black fishnet shirt and even darker vest, followed by belted jeans and fishing boots. A mop of red hair covered the right side of his face, and one green eye escaped the intense glare. He held in his hands Syricuse's knife and gun, and... Shingo didn't know why... he had a tail. The martial artist would have noted this further, had Syricuse not forcefully shoved him aside and rudely stated, "Yes, I need those items back." "Woah, hey, give the kid a break, he probably didn't know any better and was most likely trying to be polite-" Shingo started, only to be quickly interrupted. "Actually, I was asking because this thing would sell for millions on the market," remarked tail-boy. Shingo's good opinion of the twerp dropped immediately. "...Never mind. Let's kill this brat." Syricuse was about to comply, but Auberdyne stopped him again. "Better idea: Since he seems so determined to rob us all blind, as he has also taken my sword and the pendant I gave Shingo..." -who felt his eye start twitching- "...We will do something else. This boy is to travel with us, on threats of death or worse. And if he's smart, he'll know not to try a magician's patience." Auberdyne's glare shot chills down all three of the other's spines. Tail-boy nodded furiously and quickly replaced the items he had stolen in the blink of an eye. Shingo wondered if Auberdyne was a bit crabby from waking himself up so early. It didn't seem right to automatically enforce martial law upon this kid after one little offense. Apparently, the kid didn't seem to mind, as he cheerfully stated that his name was Denzel and that he was a native of the distant Kysero citadel to the far north. "Far north? You mean you know the Cirridell language?" Remarked Syricuse, having also been born in Kysero. Denzel nodded excitedly, while saying what Shingo thought to be the nonsense word, "Chu", which had no meaning, other than being a cute or annoying little word used by the minority of Sentia, which included mainly small children and teenage girls who thought it made them seem cute. Shingo almost laughed at the kid, but he was still mad about the indignity bestowed upon the entire party. There was no time to exact revenge, however, because Denzel was already on the move again, towards Ururei, which they were now only seven miles from.