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KINGSGUARD Chapter 17: First Day's End

Discussion in 'Writer's Corner' started by Marco Polo, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Marco Polo

    marko de polaris
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    Contents of today's chapter:
    • Marko-sensei
    • Foreshadowing
    • More foreshadowing
    Also, if anyone catches the sports anime reference I threw in there and can name it, I'll love you forever

    @Twelve @Grin it's here now, are you happy?

    *
    KINGSGUARD

    Chapter 17 – First Day’s End

    November 21st, 2252. 7:40pm. Combat Training Facility.

    Chirch and Rose looked at each other nervously. They’d barely been Kingsguard for a day, yet they already had to go up against its strongest soldier? Almost as if they were telepathic, they managed to exchange words through eye contact alone.

    “It’s only the first session. He won’t be too harsh.”

    “Yeah… Yeah, you’re right. We’ll be fine!”

    Their conversation was interrupted mid-flow.

    “Let me make one thing crystal clear. If you don’t meet my standards, I won’t hesitate to send you two back to the Academy.” Marko announced, bluntly.

    Chirch and Rose’s eyes widened in panic, their expressions turning from calm to not so calm instantly.

    “So, which one of you is going first?” Marko asked mid-stretch.

    After a few moments of discomfort, Rose stepped forward confidently. “I will be, Captain.” Despite the confidence in her stride, her heart was racing. She hadn’t forgotten how savagely Marko had beaten Niklaus in front of the entire Academy. Having spoken to Niklaus after the fact, he’d told her that he’d been left with several very sore bruises, and had been hit so hard it hurt to breathe for a week. Added to that, she’d been given a very heavy weapon; she estimated it was roughly 20 kilograms, which was far heavier than the sword she’d been using previously.

    “One thing before we begin, Shiira,” Marko added, “Don’t think I’ll hold back as much as I did for Zaklaus.”

    With that one sentence, Rose felt her whole body begin to tremble. As Marko nonchalantly spun his staff around, Rose began to breathe deeply. Her father had always told her the most important aspect of swordsmanship was a steady hand; hers were wobbling like jelly. If she were this nervous just in training, how would she cope in the field? As Marko’s expression grew impatient, Rose decided it’d be best to attack. Running at full pelt, she looked out for Marko’s swing. When she didn’t see one, she moved to strike. Swinging her staff as hard as she could, she was slightly pulled back by its weight. However, she managed to compensate, and swung forward, at an opponent who was still static.

    “Too slow.”

    In what must have been a fraction of a fraction of a second, Marko’s staff rose from being by his right side to blocking Rose’s swing, which was aimed at the left side of his body. Rose’s eyes widened in shock. Not even Niklaus had been able to outpace her like this. Taking a few more swings to gauge the weight of the staff, she watched Marko carefully. Before pulling back, happy that she’d warmed up, she noticed something somewhat strange. Whilst taking a breath, she confronted Marko:

    “Your eyes were closed just then, weren’t they?”

    Marko, eyes now open, looked back at Rose. “Well spotted.”

    Gritting her teeth, and feeling somewhat insulted, Rose charged in with a fresh fire in her gut. This time, she leapt to her right an instant before attacking, hoping to catch Marko off-guard. Once again, she was unable to connect, and was parried. As she leapt in, swinging at full pelt, she just about stopped herself from overbalancing as Marko blocked each one of her shots. After roughly a minute of fierce combat, in which Rose threw attacks from all different directions and heights, only to have them blocked each time, she suddenly had the wind knocked out of her. Looking down, she saw Marko’s middle and index finger pressing on her diaphragm. As he removed them, she fell forwards, gasping for breath. As she rolled over to her back, Marko began his evaluation.

    “Very good, as expected. You got used to the weight of the staff quickly, and you seemed to have a solid strategy throughout. Your style is very defense-oriented, and it works well for you. It took me a while to find a proper opening in your guard. If I were to pick one point for improvement, it’d be your stamina; the reason I eventually managed to break your guard was fatigue. To reach the next level, you have to be able to fight with that intensity in longer bursts.”

    As Rose absorbed the information, she felt somewhat surprised. Even though she hadn’t come close to landing a hit on him at any point, Marko’s feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Regaining her breath, she sat up.

    “It’s not good enough if I can’t hit you…” Rose lamented.

    After a brief pause, Marko replied; “I told you I wouldn’t be going easy on you.”

    Rose’s jaw dropped slightly. Had she just fought Marko at his full strength? The Captain Marko that even her father, Hiraeth’s mightiest hero, had acknowledged as his superior in combat? She almost couldn’t believe it. However, her illusion was quickly snapped by Marko.

    “To say you’ve fought me at full strength, you have to get me to attack first. There’s another thing I have to tell you both, but I’ll do it after I’ve fought Chirch.” Turning to Chirch, Marko challenged her. “Are you ready?”

    Chirch nodded sheepishly, and stood up. What had she gotten herself in to? If Rose couldn’t do anything, what could she do? In fact, was she even ready to be here? She suddenly felt afraid and intimidated, as she stood up. She could feel her body tensing up as she attempted a practice swing with her staff. Almost surprised by its weight, she stumbled forward a little.

    “Chirch,” Marko instructed. “This is just training. There’s no need to be so tense.”

    Snapping back to reality somewhat, Chirch nodded back. Focusing her thoughts, she began to prepare herself for Marko’s assessment.

    *​

    7:43pm. Kingsguard Facility Hub – Apartment 74. Eve, XO, Judge, Pragma and Kai sit around Eve’s coffee table, enjoying a beer and some light conversation.

    “Commander Grinnington has what in his lab?!” Kai yelled in a state of drunken surprise. “That’s really weird… Though he’s known for being weird…”

    Eve nodded. Gesturing towards Judge, she began to speak. “Both of us asked him a few times what exactly it was for. But he gave some really weird answer about telling us when the time was right, and that if we prove ourselves useful we might be able to help him with it… But I’m not sure I want to.”

    Judge concurred. “Yeah. I’ve seen some pretty messed up stuff in my time, but that’s definitely up there.”

    XO turned to Pragma. “Have you heard anything about Commander Grinnington that could give us a hint? Because if he has some kind of weird body part collecting hobby, I probably have to report it to Dr. Seiko…”

    Pragma thought for a moment. “Well… I did hear a story from Commander Bauer once.”

    The group’s heads turned almost simultaneously, eager to hear Pragma’s story.

    “I don’t know if it really explains the whole floating head thing, but apparently a few years back, Commander Grinnington went through a phase of making a load of combat-trained bots. He would often test them out against a certain someone, but each time they’d come out a resounding failure. However, there was one that he made that was a success, and it managed to beat the person he’d been trying to beat for so long. However, it went out of control, and ended up hospitalising that person, and causing several other injuries. It took three members of the Elite, including Commander Kyros, to put that creation down. Since then, he’s apparently not been allowed to work on that project, despite his promises that it won’t lose control next time.”

    Eve’s eyes suddenly widened in shock. “Then… Could that head be the head of one of the victims that bot claimed when it went berserk, that he keeps there as a reminder of his own failure?”

    XO laughed. “Come on, I’m sure it’s nothing that morbid…”

    Pragma remained stoic. “Who knows? From what I’ve heard, a load of weird stuff goes on in that lab… I wouldn’t be surprised.”

    A few moment’s silence followed Pragma’s story. Eventually, XO turned to Eve.

    “Have you heard from Chirch and Rose today?” he asked.

    “They’re training with Captain Marko, apparently.” Eve answered.

    “Captain Marko, huh… I sure hope they don’t get on his bad side.” Pragma commented.

    *​

    7:46pm. Combat Training Facility.

    Chirch stood opposite Marko, breathing heavily. She’d done everything she could, but to no avail. Her opponent stood before her, wearing an expression that looked more like he was waiting for the bus rather than sparring. As she readied herself for another attack, Marko spoke.

    “Chirch. Do you know why you’re here?”

    Chirch paused for a moment. “What do you mean?”

    “What made you choose to join the Kingsguard?”

    After a brief stunned silence, Marko continued.

    “I wouldn’t like it very much if you came here just to support your friend.”

    Chirch was too stunned to respond. She hadn’t really thought about it. But now Marko had said something, she began to wonder. Did she really just come here to be with Rose? Was that really reason enough to be here? She didn’t know. What she did know, however, is that she had no intention of turning back. She could find her reason later. For now, she just needed to channel all her focus into her training. With renewed vigor, she charged at Marko. Somehow, her movements felt faster. She could see Marko having to gradually move faster and faster to block her shots. As her speed increased, she saw him open his eyes. Result. After a few more swings, she took a step back and leapt in the air. Cocking back her arm, she took aim. Right between the eyes. Mustering all her strength, she launched her staff towards Marko’s head. Marko just about tilted his head out of the way in time, however his face wore an unusally surprised expression, as Chirch’s staff stuck in the wall twenty meters behind them.

    Regaining his composure, Marko concluded the session.

    “Let’s call it a day there, shall we?”

    A wave of exhaustion suddenly hit Chirch, and she fell to the floor, panting.

    “That final burst there was very impressive. Had it been anyone else, you probably would have caused them a pretty nasty head injury with that throw. If I remember correctly, your specialty is in archery?”

    Chirch just about mustered a “Yeah” between breaths.

    “Interesting. Well, it seems I wasn’t wrong about you, Chirch. The aim is to bring your overall level up to what you just showcased there. But it’s going to take a lot of all-around work. Cardio. Core workouts. Weights. And a lot of combat training. It seems you found some kind of motivation towards the end there, even if only temporary. Well done.”

    Rose walked over to Chirch, and helped her up. As Chirch looked at her face, she noticed that Rose looked shocked.

    “Those last few seconds… It was like you were an entirely different person… How did you do that?” Rose asked, bewildered.

    “Haha… I don’t really know myself.” Chirch commented, still short of breath. After being handed a towel and a bottle of water, Chirch began to wipe the sweat from her brow and rehydrate. After a short rest, Marko came over, pen and paper in hand. Scribbling quickly, he tore off a sheet of paper and handed it to Chirch. A few scribbles later, he handed another sheet to Rose.

    “Those are your exercise plans for the winter break. You’ll need to follow the workout listed there four times a week. We’ll meet here once a week for combat training. Make sure you eat right, and don’t overdo anything. That’s all for today. I’ll see you in a week.”

    As Chirch and Rose read Marko’s guides, they felt a sense of dread. Was it really possible to do all this? Wouldn’t their bodies just fall apart? Regardless, they knew it had to be done. It’d be tough, but they’d be able to work through it together. Folding the paper and jamming it in their pockets, the pair readied themselves to leave. However, Rose noticed something that she found odd.

    “Captain Marko… Are you holding your pen in your left hand?”

    Marko nodded. “I am left handed, after all.”

    Rose, stunned, replied: “So, all this time, you were…”

    For a moment, a smirk began to emerge from Marko’s face, but disappeared before either of the girls noticed.

    “You’ve still got a ways to go.”

    *​

    12:30am. Marko’s Apartment. Marko is taking a phone call.

    “... Yeah. They’re both showing a lot of potential already. Shiira? Yeah, I think she could well surpass you within a few years… I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you came to visit some time. In fact, I think you should. It’d be a good motivator. But I know you didn’t call me to ask about her…”

    Taking a sip from his glass, Marko listened to the voice on the other end of the phone for a moment. Once they had finished speaking, he answered.

    “Yeah. It’s there. I even saw a glimpse of it. It’s obviously not on the same scale, and it’s still very raw, but it’s there. It’s not that I thought he’d lie, but I’m still surprised to see it live. To see someone who’s just like me...”

    END

    Character(s) Debuted:
    None :(

    NEXT CHAPTER: Chirch and Rose's training continues! They're already beginning to grow stronger, and even Marko is impressed! But a certain call interrupts their training...
     
  2. Grin

    Only hers
    Haoshoku Haki
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    Whoa, foreshadowing intensifies.
     
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  3. Storm chaser

    Rock n' Roll
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    Nice chapter. Marko seems more badass with each chapter.
     
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  4. Deathbloke

    calvin klein model
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    Nice one, the call was probably Rio, so I wonder what they talked about!!
    Can't wait for 18^^
     
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  5. Marco Polo

    marko de polaris
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    Lots of big foreshadowing here, yes

    I'm glad he does, I'm trying to build hype for him

    I should start a poll to see who people think Marko is talking to...
     
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  6. Grin

    Only hers
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    OOOOOooooooOOOOoooooOOOO~

    I'll be more hype when I see him fight something other than kids like in the flashback

    Grinningtoooon of course
     
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  7. Glaze D. Bacon

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    This feels like a Hunter Hunter chapter. One thing gets teased in one chapter, then a million other things are hinted in the next. Nice chapter!
     
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  8. Marco Polo

    marko de polaris
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    If people are hype and all he's done so far is stand there, I'll take that. Next chapter(s) he'll finally start to show off a bit

    I don't read Hunter x Hunter but my housemates do and they really like it so I'll take that, thank you!
     
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  9. Glaze D. Bacon

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    R̙̳͑̿͋ͮͧe͙͕̼͔͙̝̓̔̓̌̉̋ͦͅa͚̙͍̬̲͆d̩̦ ͈͇̖̲͎͈͉ͤ͑̂̌ͦͮi͇ͥ͋͂̀̊ṫ̎
     
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  10. Deathbloke

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    But they're talking about Rose and all, who else could it be? Also, since I have created a tradition, I hope we'll see Ragnar soon xD
     
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  11. Christina Choi

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    Nice chapter!

    If I had a teacher at school like Marko, I'd be tense every time I walk into his class.
     
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  12. Twelve

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    YES! I AM VERY HAPPY NOW. :sanji:
    [​IMG]
    This training session made me think of Kageyama and Hinata a lot. But more on Chirch being Hinata-ish in having one specialty and in feeling like a lost kid in the Kingsguard. I'm very excited to know more about Chirch's true potential and about that mystery man/woman over the phone. I'm hoping it's an old character who's supposed to be dead xD

    I could imagine @sweetjacky saying this for real. That was good.

    Also...afsdhdievdidbsbdjjjn Marko is left-handed :yay: :yay:(Sorry. Don't mind me. Lefties just have a special place in my heart)
     
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  13. Chaudfontaine

    Chaudius Caesar
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    That little smirk. Maruko is still human after all :laughing:
     
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  14. Marco Polo

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    *picks up phone*

    "Hey, it's Marco... What's going on? Ragnar's gone on a year-long sabbatical? Oh, well I guess I can't write him in then..."

    He's a big softy, really

    The "lost kid" thing is something that I think is quite important for Chirch's character, and it's something I'm hoping to resolve slowly throughout the series. As for who's on the phone, I'll say what I said to Deathbloke and leave it up to you for now

    It's the only part of Marko's character (aside from the hair colour) that's based on my actual self

    That's what he'd like you to think...

    Also

    Since nobody's caught it yet


    This line is from a famous sports anime (It's translated but yeah). Does anyone recognise it?

    HINT: The character who says it also pretends he's right handed before revealing his left-handedness
     
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  15. Grin

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    If it makes you happy I'll answer: Ryoma Echizen, Prince of Tennis.
     
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  16. Deathbloke

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    Haha :ok:
    I just hope he wasn't just a flashback character :P
     
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  17. miss_SMP

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    Awesome :D

    Call = might be Rio. Can't wait to see him (read :>) oh my. Sooo excited to see how he would be portrayed, hopefully its him by ch18, lol :)

    Training = spartan??? :D
     
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  18. Marco Polo

    marko de polaris
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    I knew you were the only one I could trust, Grin-chan

    ... No comment

    It might be Rio, yes
     
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  19. Twelve

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    Were there any KnB references here? I'm curious about the first part where Chrich and Rose were conversing telepathically :D

    I like it. Lots of room for character development.
     
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  20. Grin

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    Agreed. These ARE still students, and her being the youngest just means she has the most to learn. I look forward to this sort of thing more than established badasses.
     
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