Trials of a Kensei


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One Year after Ghosts of the Past

Yoshiro found himself in the thick of battle, he was alone as enemy soldiers kept pouring in. They had gotten far too close for him to use his sniper rifle and no matter how many of them he put down, two more seemed to take their place. He kept shooting nonetheless, hoping that there would be some end to this. His sub-machine gun ran out of energy and he tossed it aside, drawing his pistol and firing as the hordes kept coming towards him. It was all too soon that the hordes reached melee range and Yoshiro dropped the pistol to draw his sword and shield as he backed off. He started cutting soldier after soldier down, continuing to back away from the horde of soldiers that kept advancing upon him. He hesitated for a moment to wonder why they weren't firing at him, but turned around to see a giant fist slam into him and crush him into the ground, he heard a familiar voice call out, "You're nothing! You allowed the death of your Nakama!"

Yoshiro got angry and his armor took shape around him. With a bit of concentration, he flooded the giant full of his mana and solidified it, destroying the giant completely. Yoshiro stood up and sighed as he limped towards a door, when he felt a searing pain in his leg, forcing him to drop to one knee. He heard his own voice speak up, "Doesn't it feel great to kill? Don't you want to get revenge?" Yoshiro turned his head to see a version of him, that had glowing eyes and an aura of darkness, "I will save him... you nor anyone else will stop me!" Yoshiro grabbed the door and pushed it open as a shot pierced his lower spine, he lost all feeling in his legs. He crawled into the room and watched Rogelio speak up, "You will never hurt Lord Yoshiro." Yoshiro cried out, "Rogelio, no!" Though Yoshiro cried out, it didn't stop blood from appearing at Rogelio's chest and Rogelio falling over. Yoshiro became angry and dragged himself towards the body of his best friend, "Rogelio..."

Yoshiro turned around to see the dark version of himself standing there, a gun smoking, "You were the cause of Rogelio's death, if you hadn't been all about honor and had killed Aiko long ago, then she wouldn't have killed him. This is all your fault." Yoshiro threw a ball of light magic at the dark version of himself, but the dark version of himself knocked it away effortlessly, "You're much too weak." Yoshiro sighed and reached for one of his firearms, only to find out that they weren't there. Then he went to reach for his sword and realized he had left it back there. Yoshiro closed his eyes, "Fine, kill me, but this won't get us anywhere, you'll be just as dead as I will." Yoshiro felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and hissed in pain as the dark version of himself spoke to him, "You're pathetic, I'll only be doing you a favor." Yoshiro suddenly felt a sharp pain go through his head for a brief moment, and then suddenly nothingness.

Yoshiro bolted awake, his heart was pounding and he was breathing heavily. He had started sleeping in a separate room from Elbereth, because he kept waking her in the middle of the night with his nightmares for the past year. He looked around the room and sighed, "Another damn nightmare." He looked at his hand and closed it, "Rogelio... I don't know if I can do this. You were always there for me when I needed someone and even when I didn't want anyone there. You helped me through thick and thin and in the end, you sacrificed your life to save mine." Yoshiro tossed the covers off of him and sighed as he stood up, he was as usual in his small clothes, but he wanted to get some fresh air this night. He gathered some clothing and put them on so that he wouldn't be walking out on the town in his small clothes. He then smirked slightly as he climbed out of the window, only to find Lilah standing right outside his window, "You know, I taught you everything you know about stealth and I heard you distinctly having a nightmare again."

Yoshiro nodded, "Yeah, I fail to see your point." Lilah sighed, "Yoshiro, this shit is getting worse. You know I care for you and that I love you." Yoshiro nodded slightly as he looked up at the moon, it was beautiful, "I've known Rogelio for longer than I've known most people. The man has been at my side for as long as I can remember, Lilah. He swore a life debt to me and in his final moments, repaid that life debt. The man was my nakama." Lilah nodded, "I know. So what are you going to do now?" Yoshiro sighed and shrugged slightly, "I have no idea. Despite the fact that I've got people here for me, I feel alone. I think I'm going to go for a walk and then see if anyone knows what I should do next." Lilah nodded, "Alright, Yoshiro, just be careful, you know how Elbereth and Balthoron get when you risk your life..." Yoshiro nodded slightly as he started to go for his walk, "I'll be back in a couple of hours."

As Yoshiro walked through the town, his thoughts turned towards Rogelio, he couldn't stop thinking about the man and everything he had did for him. He remembered the only time that he and Rogelio had fought. All because Elena wanted to marry Harumi and Rogelio didn't want Elena to marry into the family of the man he served. Meanwhile, Yoshiro was more than happy to merge his family with Rogelio's, this caused a conflict between the two of them and Yoshiro punched Rogelio in the face, several times, before realizing that Rogelio wasn't going to hit back. He stopped and closed his eye, a single tear rolled down his cheeks, when suddenly a familiar voice spoke up, "Hey Dad, you're up late." Yoshiro yawned, "Ever since the death of your uncle, I've been sleeping worse and worse, Sven." Sven nodded, "I heard about that. I wish there was something that I could've done, you know."

Yoshiro sat down and leaned his head against a building, "There's not a day that I don't wish that I could go back and stop this from happening. I've been consumed with hatred and a desire for revenge, even though I killed the person that caused all of this to happen." Sven shook his head, "Maybe you didn't." Yoshiro looked at his vampiric son, "Come again?" Sven sighed, "Maybe you don't know who did order it, but you know you didn't get the right guy." Yoshiro nodded, "I see. Well, in that case, I'm going to have to find out who the right guy is. But before then, I'm going to have to train. But in a way that I've never done before." Sven tilted his head, "What do you mean?" Yoshiro looked at his hands, "I'm angry, full of hatred and vengeful. I desire just to kill the person who ordered the death of Rogelio. I need to learn control, so I need to go train under Erasmus." Sven nodded, "So what do you want me to tell Mom?" Yoshiro sighed, "I'll tell her, but before then, I'll finish my walk." Sven nodded, "Alright, I'll continue my patrol, you know how to reach me if you need anything." Yoshiro nodded and stood up, he sighed and then continued on his walk.

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Chapter 1

Yoshiro walked back into his house, he slumped down on the couch and sighed slightly as Elbereth walked into the room, "You look like you've had a rough night. Perhaps you should go see a doctor about these nightmares." Yoshiro looked up at her, he was tired, but he tried to not show it, "I don't think a doctor can help me with this one." Elbereth shook her head and frowned, "I'm sure that a doctor can help you." Yoshiro sighed, "I already tried, saw a therapist as well. Honey, I don't know where else to turn or where else to go. Deep down inside, I feel like I didn't get the right person, I feel like I got the wrong one and I can't rest because of it. But, at the same time, I hate that fact and I just want to leave it all behind." Elbereth nodded and sat down next to him, hugging him and placing her head against his shoulder, "I know that you're going through a lot, Yoshiro, you're a soldier and you've always been one. Despite that, I've stood by your side through thick and thin, I've seen you go through bouts of PTSD before." Yoshiro nodded, her words were true.

Yoshiro looked out the window, "Sven and I talked earlier this morning, he made me realize that what I need is training." Elbereth frowned and sighed, "Physical training isn't going to help you get better, Yoshiro. You know that." Yoshiro chuckled slightly, "When did I say physical, I'm going to go train under Erasmus, he's going to teach me how to control myself." Elbereth blinked, she was surprised to hear this coming from Yoshiro, "You mean that you're going to learn how to control yourself completely?" Yoshiro nodded, "I need to get my thoughts under control, I feel my hatred building up and welling inside of me, I want to do nothing more than find the man who had Rogelio killed. But just last year, I started a war on my own against Aiko and eventually a large group of bioweapons designed by the Menschilche. The only reason that I'm still here is that Balthoron was born."

Elbereth nodded, she was thankful for that, "So when are you going to leave?" Yoshiro sighed, "Immediately if I can, I can get rock climbing equipment in the city, I'm going to have to climb the mountain to get there." Elbereth removed her head from his shoulder and looked him in the eye, "Why not take Julius with you?" Yoshiro sighed, "Because, Erasmus has potential students scale the mountain on their own ability. I have to prove to him that I'm worth taking on as a student." Elbereth nodded slightly, and Yoshiro smiled at her, "Don't worry, Lilah will be here to protect you and Balthoron if something happens." Elbereth nodded, "I know, but how long do you think that you'll be gone?" Yoshiro shook his head, "I haven't a clue. It could be days, it could be weeks, months or even years. It depends on how long it ultimately takes to finish my training." Elbereth nodded, "Alright, but you'll come visit from time to time, yes?"

Yoshiro nodded and grabbed her chin lightly, kissing her on the lips, "Of course, my love. Balthoron still needs a father figure in his life and being away from home for long periods of time makes me get lonely." Elbereth giggled and nodded, "I'm glad to hear that, Yoshiro." Yoshiro stood up as Elbereth let go of him, before he could turn around, a young blue haired Kilf walked into the room, "Daddy?" Yoshiro walked over to the Kilf and knelt down before him, "Hey, Balthoron. Look, I got to go away for a little while, okay?" Balthoron nodded, "Where are you going, Daddy?" Yoshiro thought of a way to describe this, as Balthoron didn't know about Erasmus, "Um, you know about the dragon that your uncle Walthari keeps talking about?" Balthoron nodded, "Of course, Daddy."

Yoshiro nodded, "Well, I'm going to go train under that Dragon. He's going to teach me how to be more in control of myself and be a better man." Balthoron nodded, "You'll come back to see us, right?" Yoshiro nodded, "Of course." Yoshiro then took his wedding ring necklace off and handed it to Balthoron, "Here, keep this close, alright. If you treasure it and keep it safe, you'll have a big reward when I finish my training and come back, alright?" Balthoron nodded, "Okay, Daddy." Yoshiro hugged his son, who hugged him back, "I love you, Daddy." Yoshiro scratched his son's head, behind Balthoron's ears, "I love you too, son." Balthoron's tail wagged as the spot behind his ears was scratched, but soon, Yoshiro let go, "Balthoron, be good for your mother and your Aunt Lilah. Alright?"

Balthoron nodded, "Of course, Daddy!" Yoshiro smirked slightly, "Well, I think it's time that I head out now." Balthoron waved, "Good bye, Daddy." Elbereth looked at him, "Take care, Yoshiro and please stay safe. Remember, I love you." Yoshiro nodded, "I will, and I love you too." Yoshiro stood up and turned to exit the house. As he walked out of the house, he saw a green dragon standing there. The green dragon tilted his head and spoke up, "Si nymuer batobot wux re gethrisjir ios ve." Yoshiro nodded, "I am." The dragon sighed, "Kii ui nomeno?" Yoshiro looked up at the sky, "Because Erasmus requires all of his students to use their own ability to get up the mountain, or that's what Walthari told me." The dragon nodded, "Wer ominak batobot wux renthisj ultroi hefoc si jalla vucot coi."

Yoshiro smirked slightly, "Because, Julius, Erasmus is your cousin." Julius blinked in disbelief, "Batobot Erasmus? Wer ir batobot ui wer deevdru di Tiamat?" Yoshiro nodded, "Yes." Julius stood up and readied his wings to fly, "Si geou gethrisj ekess jacion, re wux jaunus batobot wux tir ti huven ihk sia letoclo itrewicir svern wer verthicha?" Yoshiro nodded, "I'm perfectly sure, Julius. If you wish to go to your cousin, that's your business, not mine. I'm going to him in order to learn how to control myself and trust me, this isn't the first time I have had to climb a mountain." Julius nodded and flew off towards the mountain in question, leaving Yoshiro behind. Yoshiro smirked slightly and laughed a bit, before he started working towards the mountain himself, it was going to be a trip that would last a few days, but in the end, it would all be worth it.

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Chapter 2

Yoshiro looked up at the last bit of mountain he had left to go, he had spent the last two days trying to get up this mountain, having set up base camps in order to rest and sleep. He was exhausted, but this was important to him. His dream to learn how to control himself was strong and his pride wouldn't let him stop. He grunted in pain as he pulled himself up to the next handhold and stopped for a moment, breathing hard, the cold and thinner air not doing him any favors. When he felt ready, he pulled himself up to the next handhold, grunting in pain again. His body was sore, but he knew it was too late to turn back now, as letting go would only spell his own death. He grabbed the ground at the top of the mountain, which formed a cliff and pulled himself up enough to see the monastery, "Almost. Ngh! There." He placed his other hand on the rock and started to pull himself up, when a Silver Dragon walked over to him, "Why didn't you use the path?"

Yoshiro sighed as he pulled himself onto the cliff and just laid down on it, "Because I wanted... I wanted to... hold on, got to catch my breath." The Silver Dragon nodded, "Take your time. Bruno, Walthari, can you come over to help me?" Walthari walked over to the Silver Dragon, "Sure thing Master Erasmus... wait, Yoshiro, you climbed the entire mountain by yourself?" Yoshiro looked up at his younger brother, "I'd give you a smartass response, but I'm too exhausted to move at this point." A rather large Lupine walked over and chuckled, "Now that's something I never expected to see, you climbing a mountain, Yoshiro." Yoshiro just laid there, "Believe me, if I didn't have my own reasons, I wouldn't." Yoshiro grabbed at the ground and pulled himself towards Walthari, with difficulty and pain, "Mind helping me up, brother?" Walthari grabbed Yoshiro's hand and knelt down, helping Yoshiro stand back up, "Well, Master Erasmus, you think that he should train with us?"

Erasmus smirked, "Well, he climbed all the way up here on his own, it'd be rude not to give him a place to stay, but we don't even know what he wants." Yoshiro sighed, "I want him back. But I can't have him back." Erasmus looked mildly confused, "So this is why you ducked out of training and stopped calling me Master Erasmus." Yoshiro nodded, "I thought I had a grip on everything, our training was always one on one, but now... I've come here to train, to learn how to control myself. I'm through coping, I'm a sniper. That means I kill people, but that doesn't mean that I can't have regrets. Even so..." Yoshiro looked up at the sky, "Rogelio's death has affected me in an extremely profound way, I feel completely empty. There's really no other way to explain it."

Erasmus nodded, "He was your best friend." Yoshiro shook his head, "He was my Nakama. We were closer than that. When I got my revenge last year, I felt empty. However, lately, I've been feeling like I didn't get the right person. Rogelio's killer is still out there, and I feel obligated to kill them." Erasmus nodded, "Walthari, take him inside, I'll talk with Bruno and we'll make a decision." Walthari nodded, "Alright, Master Erasmus." Walthari took Yoshiro into the Monastery, "It's a great place, not much technology, except for what we need. We've got peace and quiet, as no one really bothers us up here and all the food you could ever want." Yoshiro looked down at the floor and Walthari looked at him, "Something wrong, Yoshiro?" Yoshiro sighed, "Nah, just tired, little brother. Last time I slept well was a year ago, plus I just climbed a mountain, so that exacerbated that issue greatly."

Walthari took Yoshiro to a bedchamber and placed him in the bed, "Rest up, Big Brother, I'll be by your side this time." Yoshiro nodded slightly, "It's funny, you see so many people die, that it seems to hardly affect you. Then the right person dies and immediately, it's like being stabbed through the heart. The pain just never seems to end, you know. Honestly, I envy the humans, their short lifespans ensure that they don't have to deal with this kind of pain for too long." Walthari sighed, "It's not like you to contemplate suicide." Yoshiro scoffed, "Never said, nor implied that I was, I just said that for all of the disadvantages that they seem to have, it's one thing I envy about them. Verbanan Races live hundreds if not thousands of years, by the time a human gets through with their life, a Kitsune will be entering adulthood."

Walthari nodded slightly, "I understand big brother. How's Mom and Dad been doing?" Yoshiro sighed, "I don't know, I never bothered to go to the Kitsune Kingdom to check. Masaru and I aren't exactly friends, you know." Walthari folded his arms, "You and Masaru were never on good terms, even back during the civil war." Yoshiro nodded, he remembered disliking Prince Masaru because of the Prince's arrogant attitude, "He's a prick, that's about the gist of why I dislike him." Walthari nodded, "And he's quite afraid of you, Yoshiro. You have a reputation, one that draws soldiers to you, or do you not remember the war that you kicked off a year ago to avenge the death of Rogelio." Yoshiro looked away, "I remember, quite well in fact. Most people just joined me, I barely ever needed to ask them."

Walthari nodded slightly, "Masaru is afraid of that, Yoshiro. It's why he doesn't like you. Also before you ask, I seriously doubt that he had anything to do with the death of Rogelio. He might be afraid of you, but he's not stupid. Masaru will not take any action against you." Yoshiro nodded, "At least that's a load off my mind, wouldn't be able to deal with the Kitsune Imperial Army breathing down my neck." Suddenly the door opened and Erasmus walked into the room, "Yoshiro, Bruno and I have deliberated. Though this is considered a sacred Lupine mountain, you will be allowed to remain here and train with us. However, I expressly forbid you to train in your current state, rest and recuperate, then you will be given time to get adjusted. Once that's finished, we'll begin your training." Yoshiro nodded, "Thank you, sir." Erasmus shook his head, "Thank Bruno instead."

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