Eclipse Star: Genesis Chapter Twenty

February 1, 2009 at 8:54 am (Eclipse Star: Genesis) ()


Eclipse Star: Chapter 20

“Never Underestimate the Usefulness of a Hermit”


Recap:  Last time, after finding themselves in a very bad situation, the group split up as they began trying to escape from the Regime’s base.  Derek lead Kevin and Danny successfully out, although his route wasn’t entirely pedestrian friendly and they soon found themselves skidding down a steep incline with soldiers and tanks chasing them as they made their way into the desert.  Luckily, they managed to get away but they still have no idea what happened to their friends.  All they were left with were tired feet, anxious minds, and a mysterious white light originating from the base that lit up the night sky.


Danny:  (The three have been walking all day.  They are nearly ready to pass out from lack of sleep, no food, and heat exhaustion.  The sun is still being relentless since, let us not forget, they are in a desert).  Can we stop and rest yet…?


Derek:  Where would we rest?  If we stop here all we’ll do is bake.


Kevin:  Walking aimlessly in the sun isn’t helping much better.


Derek:  We’re not walking aimlessly, we’re heading…North.


Kevin:  How do you know we’re walking North?


Derek:  I have an excellent sense of direction.


Kevin:  Where does the sun set then?


Derek:  (Looks up into the sky).  It sets…  (Points left).  That way, I think.  Regardless, I know where we’re going.


Danny:  How long have we been walking now…?


Derek:  Only about half of a day, now quit your bitching.


Kevin:  You know, you never got around to finishing your story yesterday.


Derek:  Which story?


Danny:  The one about why you’re such a jerk all the time.


Derek:  Oh yeah.  (Thinks for a moment).  Well, as I had said before, my dad didn’t put up with people disappointing him, so he and my mother divorced and I went to live with him in the city.


Kevin:  At least your dad seemed to be a good influence…right?


Derek:  He was my hero when I was a kid, but that changed not long after we moved into the city.  We were on our way home from something or other, I can’t remember what, but as we were walking a group of assholes started walking next to us, harassing me and my dad.


Danny:  (Corrects him in an astute manner).  My dad and I.


Derek:  Shut up.  Whatever, so my dad didn’t pay them any mind, just let them talk on like the fools they were.  Eventually they weren’t content with just talking and shoved my dad.  He didn’t react and just kept walking, so they beat him inches away from death and in that moment he changed.  Once the danger became real he changed, every bit of him.  His face was no longer solid, his voice began cracking, and he cowered on the ground after the first series of punches, now begging them to leave him alone.  They stole his dignity, these men took from him his pride and his dignity, and left him there for me to witness.  A broken, sad sight.


Kevin:  That’s terrible.


Derek:  It taught me how fragile talk really is.  These jerk-offs took my hero away from me, so I had to rely on my own personal strength alone.  Failing would no longer ever be an option.  I had seen what it did to my family.  It wasn’t happening to me.  The first and only time I can remember actually failing would be back in elementary school, when I first met Chris.  Funny kinda, when I showed up as the new kid I was harassed by a group of older guys.  I just let ‘em talk on and on, and then they began getting violent, so I knew I’d have to fight back.  But before they could actually take a swing at me, this kid named Chris showed up and stood between me and the older kids.  He turned to me and tried to get me out of there, thinking that the other guys could actually hurt me.  I told him to mind his own business and pushed him aside.  When I did this the douche bags saw a chance to start something and the three of them began wailing on me, taking cheep shots and whatnot.  I was caught unaware, but Chris stepped in again, got his own ass beat pretty good alongside me.  We weren’t hurt too badly, but when the older group left us alone, I was extremely pissed at this kid, told him that I would have been fine if he hadn’t stepped in the way.


Kevin:  At least Chris defended you, right?


Derek:  (Annoyed).  I didn’t ask for his help and if anything I spend more time trying to keep him from getting hurt worse than what he got instead of just kicking the crap out of the older guys.  But it didn’t end there.  Oh no, these guys would not take my dignity the way I’d seen happen to my dad.  The very next day I walked right up to them and without saying a word I settled what they started the previous day.  The three were made fools and I was on top, but Chris just couldn’t stand for that.  After I fought the three he came up to me, tried to convince me that what I did actually showed how weak of character I had.  I used a few words that caught the schoolyard off guard, then told Chris to either leave or I’d personally beat him the way I did with the other kids.  He refused to fight me, so I took a swing at him, knocking his ass to the ground.  He got up, but wouldn’t fight back.  Still, he had to learn his place, so I hit him again.  Every time he’d get back up, look off towards his little crush, then refuse to fight me.


Kevin:  His little crush?


Derek:  (Rolls his eyes).  It was still Lindsey back then.  It’s always been Lindsey.  I could tell that more than anything all he wanted to do was show off to the girl, so he just kept taking my punches.  Still, he’d get back up and refuse to give in.  I let off after I realized that he wasn’t just all talk; he was gonna stand by what he said.  I respected that about him, and so I apologized to him and helped him to his feet and to the nurse’s office so that he could get his face bandaged up.  Since then we’ve competed in just about everything from academics to sports to theater and just about everything in between.  Except for women, but that was mainly because he was hung up on Lindsey and I had no attraction to her.  Otherwise he and I became close friends through our mutual desire to surpass one another.


Kevin:  How often did he beat you?


Derek:  A fair share of times, but never in anything hugely important.


Danny:  (Dreamily reminisces).  Willy and I met when we were just little tykes, still in diapers…


Derek:  (Angrily gives Danny a sharp look).  What does this have to do with what I’m talking about?


Danny:  (Snaps back to the present).  Oh, I thought we were just talking about our childhoods.  My bad.


Kevin:  (Gently encourages Danny).  No, please continue Danny, I want to hear this.


Derek:  (Sigh).  Sure, let’s hear this story.


Danny:  Well, we were just toddlers, Willy and I, but it was obvious that we were to be best friends.


Derek:  And then what?


Danny:  Huh?


Derek:  Isn’t there more?


Danny:  (Genuinely confused).  Why does there have to be more than that?  We grew up next to each other, my parents knew his parents, we were always playing together in the yard, why do you think that there has to be a huge back-story to our friendship?


Derek:  (Rolls his eyes again).  I have no idea.


Danny:  (Excited).  Oh, there was this one time when we were about three or so and we got it in our heads that we should breed a new kind of animal, so we took my cat and his dog and-


Derek:  (Puts his hand up, turning away from Danny).  I’ve heard enough.


Danny:  What?  We tried to get them to hatch a bunch of eggs that we stole from the fridge.  What’s so bad about that?


Kevin:  Well did it work?


Danny:  Hah, no, I’m not stupid, we were three.  (Thinks).  No six, we were six.


Derek:  (Smacks his head).  Only you Danny…  (Looks up ahead and sees a palm tree).  Wha-zat?


Danny:  (Dry).  ‘S a palm tree.


Derek:  (Annoyed).  I know that, what is it doing out here in the middle of nowhere?


Kevin:  (Pointing).  Providing shade for that tent apparently.


Derek:  Tent, what tent…?  (Looks more carefully.  He gets excited).  Crap there’s a tent over there!


Danny:  (The gears in his head begin turning).  Tents mean people…people eat food…therefore tent must equal food!  Hooray!  (Takes off running towards the tent followed by Derek and Kevin).


Derek:  There’s an entire oasis here!  Oh how I’ve missed you dear sweet water!


Danny:  Hello~?  Anyone with food around here?


-As the three get closer they finally see the owner of the tent.  He’s an older man with long graying brown hair and a moderate beard of the same color.  He is wearing cargo pants and a baggy, raggedy shirt as well as a blanket draped around his torso.  As the three run up he looks over at them as he rocks back and forth in a rocking chair.


Hermit:  (Casual yet warm, all smiles).  Well hello there.


Danny:  (Extremely excited).  My name’s Danny and I’m starving do you have food ‘cause I like food it keeps me from dying can I have it now please?!


Hermit:  Hmm, I think I can scrounge up a bit of food.  Let me see what I’ve got hidden in the old tent here.  (Slowly stands up and walks into the tent.  He shortly returns with a few loaves of bread and a pitcher of water).  You’re all in luck, I just happened to have enough to feed you three and myself.  Fancy that…  (Derek and Danny pounce on the food offered and begin gorging themselves).  Wow, you really were hungry, weren’t you?


Kevin:  I must apologize for these two, we’ve been wandering around the desert for the past few days without eating or drinking anything.


Hermit:  Yeah, I know how wandering goes.  It can be a handful if you’re not entirely prepared.  Also, wearing comfortable pants is key.  (Points at their pants).  Jeans are a bad choice.


Kevin:  (Smiles).  Hah, this is quite true.  My name is Kevin, and these are Derek and Danny.


Hermit:  And a very warm how-do-you-do to you three.  Here, eat, drink, be merry.  (Thrusts the food and drink in Kevin’s face).


Kevin:  Oh, I don’t want to impose, especially since these commodities are so hard to come by out here.


Hermit:  No worries my friend, there’s plenty more where this came from.  I insist.


Kevin:  (Smiles and bows).  Thank you.


Hermit:  (He sits back down in his chair as the others sit cross-legged in the sand).  So what brings you to this particular desert, other than wandering of course?


Derek:  We were part of a much larger group that got separated way back along the ridge.


Hermit:  Back at that military base?


Derek:  (The three stop eating and stare at the Hermit).  Yeah, how did you know?


Kevin:  (Hopeful).  Did any of our friends already come by here?


Hermit:  No, I’ve just done my share of exploration, so I’m pretty familiar with the area.  Also after seeing that light show last night I figured something must have happened over there.  And plus, you’ve all got military jackets on, so that’s a dead giveaway that you came from there.


Derek:  (Goes back to eating his food).  And why exactly are you out here in the middle of this God-forsaken desert?


Hermit:  Well, I wouldn’t exactly say that God has forsaken it.  Take a look at that oasis there.  With the cool water there and the bountiful palm trees, I’d say that he’s blessed it fairly well; you just have to keep your eyes open to see the blessings.


Derek:  Point taken.  (Burps).


Hermit:  I came out here to get away from the city for a little while and because I felt like it’d be worth my time to set up camp here.  Turns out I was needed after all.


Danny:  (Finishes stuffing himself and sprawls out on the ground).  Thank you very much.  My name’s Danny by the way.


Hermit:  Haha, yes I know, your friend already said so.


Derek:  (Skeptical).  Well we haven’t heard your name yet.


Hermit:  Me?  I’m just an old hermit.


Kevin:  You don’t look very old though.


Hermit:  Aw, well thank you.  I guess you could say that I’m just a wise hermit then, old in the mind, but strong in the body.  (Notices Derek’s unzipped flack jacket with his sai sticking out).  Those are some pretty shabby weaponry there.  Standard issue where you come from?


Derek:  What?  (Pulls out his sai).  These?  Nope, I had to bring these along myself.  I stopped off at a pawn shop before we were shipped out here, but with my current funds these were the best I could get.


Hermit:  I may have something you might like.  Hold on a second.  (Gets up and walks back into his tent).


Derek:  Who is this guy…?


Kevin:  I don’t know…  (They look over at Danny who shrugs).


Hermit:  (Comes back out with a plain looking bag).  What I’ve got here are a few things that you all might find useful.  (Empties the bag onto the sand.  A pair of dark black sai fall out along with a small amber stone).


Derek:  (Instantly picks up the sai).  Ah man, these are really nice.  (Stands up and swivels them around in his hands).  They feel a lot smoother and more balanced than the crap I bought.


Hermit:  You can have those if you want.  I don’t have much need for fighting.


Derek:  Jeez, thanks!  (Starts swinging the two sai around in formations that he’d been practicing).


Hermit:  You’re welcome.  And be careful with those, they’re a bit different than what you may be used to.


Derek:  They are sai though, right?


Hermit:  Yes, they are known in some circles as the “Sai of the Demon’s Laugh.”  (Looks astute).  Not to be handled foolishly.


Danny:  (Laughs).  Heh, we should probably take them away from Derek then.


Derek:  (Sarcastically not amused).  Ha ha, shut up.


Hermit:  Do me a favor.  Turn that way and try a rubbing the two together during a cross strike.


Derek:  What, like this?  (Derek brings the two in close to his chest and upon unsheathing them, hits them together.  As a result, a sonic boom tears up the ground in front of him.  Derek is amazed).  Crap, what was that?!


Hermit:  (Smiles).  That would be why they’re not to be used foolishly.  Any time they come in contact with each other, expect basically the same result.


Danny:  (Picks up the amber stone).  What’s this?


Hermit:  Hmm…if I remember correctly, that is the Venus Stone.  Very powerful when used right.  (Thinks to himself).  You know, most things are pretty powerful when used right…


Derek:  What does it do?


Hermit:  (Snaps back).  Oh a variety of things.  (Thinking to himself again).  Such as…actually it only really does a few things.  Mainly it lets you shrink to just about any size imaginable.


Derek:  What’s the point of that?


Hermit:  I’m sure you’ll find a use for it eventually.  But I’ll have to teach you how to use it first.


Derek:  Thanks but I doubt we’ll need to shrink any time soon.


Kevin:  If it can shrink things, can it enlarge them as well?


Hermit:  With practice it may be possible.  Most things are possible with practice.


Derek:  Unless you know how to teach us how to level mountains and such, we’re not interested.


Hermit:  Well then you’re in luck.


Derek:  (The three look inquisitively at the Hermit).  How so?


Hermit:  I may or may not know a few things that could come in handy for you three.  (Playfully rolls his eyes and starts to trot away).


Derek:  Wait wait wait.  (Runs after him).


Hermit:  Oh I do think you’ll have to catch me first.


Derek:  Don’t be lame!


Hermit:  (Shrugs).  Hey, you gotta learn to make the most out of these little moments in life.


Derek:  Fine!  (Runs at the Hermit and dives to grab him.  The Hermit jumps up in the air and floats there.  Derek looks up stunned again).  You can fly?!


Hermit:  What, you can’t?


Derek:  (Annoyed).  Ah, no, we can’t.


Hermit:  Oh well then I should probably start training you in that first before I teach you how to actually use energy combat.


Derek:  (Blinks rapidly in confusion).  What?  You know energy attacks, too?


Hermit:  I know how to teach it.  I refuse to use it though.  It’s unnatural, it’s dangerous, it’s hard to do when you want to do it correctly.


Derek:  Whatever, we already know how to do energy blast and the like.


Hermit:  Oh really?  (Crosses his arms and floats back down to the ground).  Show me.


Derek:  Alright.  (Puts his new sai away and thrusts his arms out in front of him, begins charging his attack, then after a lot of heavy breathing and strain, he fires his biggest and best blast to date).


Kevin:  (Clapping and rooting for Derek).  Ah wow, Derek that was amazing!


Danny:  (Pumps his fi9st in the air).  Yeah!


Derek:  (Panting and already winded, but still smiling).  Heh…thanks.


Hermit:  (Unimpressed).  Meh, I’ve seen better.


Derek:  What?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  That was my best.


Hermit:  (Smiles, excited again).  Oh good, then you’ve got plenty of room for improvement.  For starters your technique is all wrong for your body shape.


Derek:  (Almost bothered).  What does that mean?


Hermit:  You need to find a style that fits you best.  It’s different for everyone.  Also, (bobs his head back and forth searching for the words), you think that you can create something ridiculously powerful as a beginner.  You have to earn it.


Derek:  (Now he’s bothered).  And just how do I earn it?


Hermit:  (Stands proud with his arms crossed behind his back, chin up).  Welcome to the Hermit’s School of Miracles.


Derek:  (In disbelief).  Why are you helping us?


Hermit:  (Shrugs).  I’m a hermit, like I have anything better to do?


Danny:  How long will it take to learn everything?


Hermit:  As long as it takes.


Kevin:  Years…?


Hermit:  Haha, probably not.  I bet that I could teach you three in under a week.  (Does some quick calculations in his head and on his fingers).  Yes, I’m certain of it.


Derek:  (Finally letting his guard down).  That easy, huh?


Hermit:  Oh heavens no, but I need a challenge, too.  Otherwise what fun would it be for me?


Derek:  (Smiles).  A valid point.


Hermit:  Well then we don’t have time to waste.  Your training begins right after a nice relaxing swim.  First one in the water loses!  (Runs off towards the oasis).


Kevin:  Perhaps we’ve finally stumbled across some good luck for a change.


Derek:  Perhaps we have.


Danny:  (Yelling back to Derek and Kevin as he’s sprinting towards the oasis with an ear-to-ear grin).  You guys are loooooosing!


-Derek and Kevin look at each other for a second before sprinting off as well.


To Be Continued…


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