Step by step.
One, two, three, four.
Come with me,
I'll carry you away!
"What a mean old wolf you are, Retsuga, those poor trees can't defend themselves against your fangs, hardly the behaviour worthy of such a noble wolf such as yourself. As for me perhaps you would call my skill cheating, but is it really? If you are allowed to use your Battouga, then I should be able to use my harmless mist. Who knows, maybe it'll help you improve your eyesight."
The origin of Retsuga's missing eye, or the scar that nearly divided his face, remained a mystery. Maybe it had been nothing more than a simple training accident, or maybe it had a darker origin that the old wolf chose not to reveal. After all, not all scars signified a heroic achievement or glory. Some of them were signs of abuse or treason, and perhaps his scar fell on such ancient times. Even if they did, any past Retsuga had was so long ago that many now residing in Ohu would have little idea about who or where the wolf with the missing eye came from. Maybe he decided the whole explanation to be too trivial to explain, or, even, that no one had ever directly asked him about it. "Haha, some of these trees may be older than you or I, they must have some source of nobility. They should hold their wounds with pride! Not every tree becomes target practice." The wolf's interest was then drawn to to the symbols and shapes that the mist created. He could easily make out the tree, but the star took a moment or two longer, perhaps because Retsuga wondered if any symbolism was behind it. He knew that Gin had often been symbolised with a falling star, but maybe it was more profound than that? Or maybe Hyouma meant nothing at all. "If your mist becomes too thick I could easily blow it away with a puff of wind, you know." Retsuga commented casually, as Hyouma knew his abilities well. The wolf hardly cared who knew or did not know of them, he was far too old to be a secret. "Maybe it isn't cheating, but it is quite inconvenient for your enemy. It doesn't at all help that you blend right in, mohawk and all." The wolf was only kidding, Hyouma was a dear friend to him, as he was the only other wolf within Ohu. "Besides, you have a battouga of your own, we are fairly matched, I'd say."
"I am not so sure about that, I am however positive that you will successfully chase away any intruder in the future; we are both unused to fighting, though we are still capable of defending our home, we're not as... skilled as we used to be. Our limbs are rusty while those young rapscallions are still supple as can be. I can't say that he was able to hurt me considerably, any pain I received from that pitiful battle was minute. Made my body ache, at best, as for the Battouga, I did. I thought that, perhaps, if he witnessed it, he would stop regarding the old legends as lies. But of course my plan worked poorly."
The old wolf sighed, nodding, although reluctantly. Of course he was grateful that his old friend had come to his aide, but to have an old friend aide him against such a novice foe? To see his life begin to flash before his eyes simply because he was rusty and his fangs did not have the grip they once did was humiliating. Not only was Retsuga a member of Ohu, but he was also a wolf, not a dog, and possessed far superior strength. As if to add to the insult, he was the user of a Battouga! Perhaps it would have been better for the old wolf to die than live in humiliation, but Retsuga did not believe this. He would rather be alive. Being dead seemed to be much too boring. "What has become of the young? I could understand doubt, we all doubted that Gin was the user of the Zetsu when we first met him. However to hold that belief, to hold that everything is fictional when it is preformed on them? It lead to far too many deaths of our comrades, you know. I would like to believe we've learned more than that by now." His sole eye glanced up at the sky, as if remembering the young wolf Hyakkiga once more. He had wanted to see the world outside where he was born...but his eyes had faded before he was able. Simply because of doubt and distrust of the Ohu dogs. However Retsuga mustered a good natured, although sad, smile. "I am glad you did not receive too great a wound. It would a shame to be the last wolf among Ohu, and what would become of us if he inherited your Battouga?" He grimaced, his fur jumping on end, although he seemed to be kidding - although it was a very dark sort of kid, to be sure.
"I am Hyouma, the user of the Metsu Hen'i Battouga. I'm afraid that I don't recognise this fellow, either. It is as Retsuga says; I saved my friend before I continued the battle on my own, but I failed to get a good grip on my opponent. I eventually showed him my Battouga, though I didn't manage to sustain any mentionable damage. Despite this he didn't want to believe in the legends, so in the end, we didn't manage to open his mind in the slightest. What is your name, if I may inquire?"
"My apologies. I had thought that only the Leaders knew something like that. My name is Bat, formerly of Shingan. I patrol and help run patrols for Ohu. I am rarely within Gajou's confines so I rely on others to deliver news of what's been happening."
The ignorance of the blind dog that neither he nor his friend recognised was to be expected. A few of the older soldiers had inherited the battougas, but many of them had also been lost with the death of the wolf who carried it. It also seemed, as the years passed, that only the user of the strongest battouga - that is, Gin and Weed - were ever allowed to display their ability. This was good, of course, as it meant little conflict occurred within Ohu, but it was also sad to see his history - as the battouga itself was his (and Hyouma's) history. Only chosen ones were able to use such attacks, and it required much discipline and determination to master. Either way, Retsuga was not at all insulted by Bat. "Hello, Bat." Retsuga inclined his head slightly (even though the gesture may be lost to the blind dog, the wolf seemed not to care). The wolf may not have known Bat's name or face, but he had certainly heard stories involving Hougen and his generals. If not from rumours then from those involved - such as Ben and Kurotora. How on earth those two, two who wielded a battouga each, could be felled by this blind Labrador was beyond the wolf. But he mustn't judge appearances."There are, in fact, eight Battougas. Originally only chosen members of our race were able to use them, but when we met and fought both with and against Ohu, some of our attacks were passed on, others were lost. Some of the older generation of Ohu carry the ability, even if they don't talk about it much." Retsuga paused, and then added, as he believed it was fitting that only he speak of the Zetsu, something that had been his father's attack. "The Zetsu, the one that Gin and Weed wield, is the strongest of the eight. Gin's father, Riki, learned it from my father Fuuga, when Riki saved his life many years ago." It seemed like an eternity, and the wolf hardly seemed to note that he was actually a wolf. There were tensions between the two races, but wolves were scarce, and he and Hyouma were perhaps an exception to the rule. They had no other family or friends of their kind - all of them were lost. And, at least for Retsuga, the users of the remaining battougas seemed to him like brothers. He could not abandon them.
"Would he still be in the area? I dislike that another dog could walk so freely into our midst and challenge two of our members."
The old wolf thought for a moment, and then turned to his friend with a slight tilt to his head. He was unsure, would the dog still be in the area? Retsuga had left Hyouma to do what he could to teach the youngster, but he had little idea what had become of him. For all Retsuga knew, the dog - who, Retsuga realised, he did not even know the name of - could be nearby, learning all of their secrets. However he believed that if an intruder were near, Bat would know. A blind patrol dog may have seemed like an absurd idea, but it was easy enough for Retsuga to realise that a blind dog would have sharper senses in smell and sound than a regular canine. His fellow wolves carried far more extraordinary abilities back in the day, so such an ability was not too hard to believe. However he was at a loss for words, and he stopped himself from preforming a useless shrug to the other dog. "I am unsure of his whereabouts. Hyouma would know more of the subject than I." His torn ear flicked slightly at Bat's next statement. "It isn't the first time such has occurred. When we first met Ohu it was in the form of a kidnapping, but the details on such are far too long." However Retsuga spoke these words humorously, even though it had been the truth. He had been one of the ones to kidnap Cross, even after being wounded by Gin's battouga. Of course Retsuga had had an unfair advantage - his hurricanes. He then sighed, shaking his head sadly. "But yes, it is very disheartening. If he has half a brain he would leave the area, word travels fast, does it not? But I doubt he'll be gone for long. If he doesn't show up in a matter of months, another young blood with hatred in his heart will appear to take his place. Doubt and lies spread much faster than truth, I'm sure you know." His travels had allowed Retsuga to hear many opinions on many things, and he had heard far to many stories about the 'myths' of Ohu to truly be surprised. However that didn't mean he had been caught off guard during the fight, he had, and his wise knowledge hardly worked to his advantage as he was far too mouthy to put the wisdom to good use. That was a fault on the old wolf's part.
Word Count: 1,840