Lonely Sunsets: Chapter 6

The guys watched Nikki in shock as she pulled the blade from the staff. Sage merely nodded to himself, as he knew that she probably had another weapon should the staff prove ineffective. They all had to jump out of the way however when the ground opened up because of her technique. Kento was in awe as he though he had the only technique that would open up the ground.

Cye was cautious in feeling her out and noticed that she had not lost her balance as she held the blade ready for the fight again. The attack was fast and the sword seemed to sing as it’s thin blade cut the air again and again. Cye had to fight harder to stay away from the blade. As it would do a lot more damage than the staff had.

Nikki however was working twice as hard to keep her focus and stay away from the Yari. The right hit from either end would kill her instantly. As much as she wanted to end her travels, she could not bring herself to step into one of his strikes. He was holding her to her word and so she would hold him to his.

Looking around she saw that they shredded the beach area pretty badly. Feeling bad about the landscape she knew there was nothing she could do about it. It was all she could to keep from being turned into shish kabob. She saw an opening and in that moment she saw a chance to strike. Looking around she turned about with a quick hand change of the blade it changed its direction and went over the guard that had been set up and scored a hit over Cye’s left eye.

Stepping back Cye gently touched the wound to assess the damage as it bled. She was not kidding that this was a fight to the death. The guys however saw the move and were ready to jump into the fight when Nikki halted them. "Cye gave his word that this was honorable combat. It was a legit hit upon his person, do not interfere."

Cye nodded agreement to the words and the others had to restrain Kento. Rowen looked at the friends and spoke. "Kento, she’s right. Cye gave his word for the group. If we interfere now it means instant death for Cye. If we stay out of it he at least has the chance of living through this."

Kento stopped struggling and sat down again as he heard the words. They had made their impact but he still did not like it. They were a team, all of them and Cye was fighting for his life and now they couldn’t help him.

Looking about they all noticed that the fight had gone on for most of the night. Both combatants were tiring quickly now and the brief breaks they allowed for weren’t helping anymore. It was hammer and tongs until one was dead.

The light was starting to brighten as the false dawn approached and Nikki knew it. Her black eyes were sensitive to the light levels and she fought harder, pushing her cut, battered body past its limits in the effort to end this fight. Cye noticed and poured everything he had into his attacks and his defenses. During the swordplay that she did, Cye had pulled out his tanto blade so that he could better guard against the attacks that came with in the defenses of the yari. He was doing well and as he snapped his wrist forward his claws snapped into place as she relieved him of the yari by grabbing between his hands and flipping him over her so that he would either have to let go or break his neck on landing because she was not letting go of the weapon.

Cye of course let go and rolled out of the landing using the momentum to pop back up to his feet. Instead of using the weapon against him she threw it back at the watching guys where it stuck in the ground tines first. The guys all moved as she threw the weapon and they left it alone as it was obvious that she was not going to use it either.

Nikki readied her sword again as Cye switched the tanto to his left hand so that he could use his claws for defense if necessary. He looked at her with renewed respect, as he knew that she was about ready to drop. She was still wielding the long blade with practiced ease as if her pride would not let her show any weakness. Her energy was flagging if his own strength was any indication. He soon had to clear his mind as she attacked too soon.

He had an advantage in being armored but even that would do him no good now that she knew some of the weak points in his armor. She cut and slashed almost possessed by the need to finish the fight. There would be an end tonight before the sun came up.

Everyone’s wish was granted too soon as her defense had gotten weaker with her body cut, bleeding and weak Cye came under her guard with his claws and punched her. Eyes wide she looked at Cye and very slowly turned her sword around and stuck it blade first into the ground. She faded quickly as Cye let her down to the ground taking his bloodied claws out of her.

Cye was in tears. He had not wanted to kill her and he found that he really liked her. She was a good person at heart and he knew that she could not help that she was born the way she was. Gently he took the battered kasa off her head and finished laying her down. "Why did you let me do that Nikki?"

Nikki looked up at the victor and smiled softly and coughed lightly spitting up some of the blood that had worked its way into her lungs. Breathing raggedly she answered him quietly. "Cye, If I were well I would have to kill you for implying that I let you win." Taking another ragged breath she continued. "You won in a fair fight, your friends showed great honor today in letting you fight alone as you needed." She finally started gasping as she spoke. "No, You defeated me. And now I will be able to rest. My journey is done and your village is safe. I shall go now Cye. Live, live for me and everyone that are cursed with my existence, please. Promi…" She never finished her sentence as her body’s strained hold on life finally let go. Sighing softly as the last breath left her she closed her eyes a feint smile left on her lips to indicate that she had indeed passed in peace.

Cye armored down to his under gear wincing at the number of deep bruises and cracked bones she gave him with her staff strikes and picked her up gently and nodded to his friends who had stayed out of earshot at Sage’s request. Sage walked over to them and took up her sword and what was left of her shattered staff. Sheathing the blade, as it was he carried it back to the others while Kento took up Cye’s Yari.

"There is much to be done and the sun is coming up. I made a promise to her at the beginning of the battle. Now is the time to do it." Rowen and Ryo nodded and followed Cye, Sage and Kento who all walked side by side.

The day was spent watching Cye bury the young warrioress. He felt her loss deeply and it was obvious to his friends. Sage had performed the soul cleansing rites on her so that she would pass on to the next world untroubled. Cye dug the grave and Kento helped line it with the stones. Ryo used his abilities to melt the stones down into a solid box with in the earth while Rowen went into the village to inform the restaurant owner that the girl had died.

Late in the afternoon when Rowen had returned, they finished burying the woman that had been so different from anyone they had known. Cye laid her in the ground and Sage laid her weapons with her indicating to the gods that she had been a warrior and a pure, good, and welcome tenant in this world by those that now laid her physical body to rest.

As they filled in the hole with the rock layer first and then the earth Cye shed his tears over her loss. He had wanted to help her so much and in the end he had to kill her. Rowen took him off to the side after the work was done and handed him a letter. "The restaurant owner gave these to me. He said he had gotten a letter too. There is one for the rest of us too."

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