Feo sat watching her master tinkering with yet another old part behind the counter,
no doubt recovered from some junk bin or garage sale somewhere. It was to be expected,
as the proprietor of a refurbished parts shop. He glanced up only long enough greet a
walk-in before returning to his work. Like most, the customer was carefully inspecting
the various cases and shelves and their contents. Her shinki companion, an olive-painted
Howling, didn't seem terribly enthralled with the search-for-noting-in-particular.
Jogging over, she climbed up the desk where Feo sat, across from the shop counter.
"Tenrou," the Howling announced to the black and grey shinki. "What's it like living in
a junk shop? Oh! Sorry, I don't mean your stock is junk..."
"It's fine. None of it would be here if someone hadn't thrown it out. Of course what you
see on the shelf is all in perfect working order. I'm Feo, and it's more eventful than
you might think just to look at it," she waved over to her master, who was still
quietly hunched over an old part. As she motioned, the dog-like shinki noticed deep jagged
gashes and scrapes along Feo's back.
"How did that happen...?" she gave a concerned expression.
Glancing over her shoulder, Feo finally nodded. "A gift from my master." she said with an
difficult smile, as if recalling. There was silence, but the concern on Tenrou's face was
practically audible in its own right. Feo waved dismissively, "No judgements until you
hear the story."
Another long pause, "...Okay."
"It was a few years ago, we'd just moved here and set up the shop. Not many people knew
about us yet, so we were competing in the local tourney for publicity. I was using parts
from the shop's stock..."
"If we win this tournament, everyone across the region will know our faces. We'll be able
to attract tons of customers, Feo," commented her bespectacled master. With the small
treasure trove of parts they'd brought, they'd shot up through the ranks with little effort.
The were in the semi-finals now, preparing for their next match in the competitors lobby.
Just three matches between them and local celebrity. This opponent had also fought her way
here, beating all challengers along the way though. Just having a variety of weapons wouldn't
be enough from here on.
Their names were called to the arena.
Their opponent was a lightweight speed oriented scrapper with a preference for close combat,
so Feo had opted to counter those tactics rather than trying to compete directly. She'd never
be able to outrun her, so instead Feo grabbed as much defence as she could carry.
The terrain formed between Feo and her opponent, and the buzzer sounded. Time to work.
She immediately dashed backward and skirted a corner, knowing her enemy would be speeding
straight for her any second. Ducking just behind the corner of the dilapidated holographic
building she readied her pistol. Tense seconds passed before suddenly a blur of white shot
past. With little chance to react, the opposing shinki immediately took a single shot to the
shoulder, but the following two were easily dodged.
Feo backed away, firing shots in time with her steps, to keep the white blur busy, but the
gap was closing. Nearing the edge of the building, she dashed to the right, straight into a
blocked-off alleyway. No escape from here now. Her opponent appeared at the opening staring
cold as ice. Half a beat and she was dashing forward, knife first. Feo's final shot was easily
parried. She was ready for a close fight, though. She'd prepared for it. She immediately
activated her barrier--just in time to block a fast swipe from white's knife, and one more.
This was the chance. There would be one more swipe. She always swung in threes. Rather than
defending with her nearly drained shield, Feo ducked left, pulling her sword and flooring
the white shinki with it. Next was the make-or-break play. Getting greedy and trying to finish
the match immediately wouldn't work. White would be able to counter as she got to her feet,
and Feo wouldn't survive that, but that only works if she has something to counter.
Feo took a half step back, just enough delay for white to get to her knees. A quarter second
later--ATTACK NOW! Just before white could get her hands on the ground to push off, Feo's
large katana drew across her back at full force. The former white blur collapsed, and the match
was concluded. The final scores were awarded, and Feo would move on to the finals.
"Wait, I thought you were going to tell me how you got those cuts!" Tenrou interrupted.
"I'm getting to it. I'm getting to it. Be patient. My opponent for the finals was a heavy..."
"Master, I need to use this!" Feo dragged out the back-mounted gear. It was a large pair of
vicious claws on equally impressive arms. A massive maul was sheathed behind.
"I can't let you use that one. I haven't checked it out yet." he replied, calmly.
"But look at it, it's practically brand new! It's not even scuffed!"
"No. Sorry. Not that one. You'll have to find something else." Soon after, they were called for
the finals. Just as the match was about to begin, Feo grabbed the heavy back gear and mounted it.
Her master could only sigh, resigned that nothing could be done about it now.
After some grappling, the match seemed to be going well, for Feo. She'd just pinned her opponent
and reached behind for the maul, ready to end it early. Suddenly she seized. She spasmed violently
the moment the claw gripped the maul at her back.
"Shit!" the master shouted, pushing past the security that tried to block him as he lept over the
spectator barrier and reached into the ring. Swatting away the opponent's shinki who was about to
use the situation to her advantage, Feo's master ripped his glasses of, snapping the thin frames
and using a jagged piece to pry off the mounted gear. It was only after her seizing subsided that he
noticed his profusely bleeding hand and the irritable hand on his shoulder, ushering him out of the
"We were disqualified for direct interference. The gear I'd switched at the last second had a ground
fault. I can never use back-mounted equipment again. Circuits got fused. I nearly died," Feo grinned.
"That's awful! Why are you smiling!?" Tenrou scolded.
"Because that was the day I learned that my master would never hesitate to protect me, even if he got
hurt in the process. Since then I've always trusted his word. If I ever get the chance, I'll protect
him just the same. Until then, I'll wear these scars like a badge. They're a reminder of how much
my master loves me." Feo nodded slowly, retaining a soft smile.
"I'm glad it had a silver lining in the end," the customer, Tenrou's master, chimed in from behind.
"Hee hee, I didn't know I'd attracted such a large audience," Feo stated, causing the woman to glance
around at the still-empty shop. "Comparatively speaking, anyway." Feo gestured to her body.
"Oh, yes," the woman chuckled in return, "Well, Tenrou, are you ready? We need to be going."
Well? I wrote it through the night, so I'm not sure if I remained fully coherent, or got too overly wordy... in any case, my second shinki tale is writ. I hope you enjoyed.