Chapter 1 My Style
“Have you had enough?” questioned the young man as he skeptically stared at the other boy lying down on the floor in a puddle of his own sweat.
He raised his head just to barely pant, “What are you talking about? You’ve barely landed one ht on me!”
“But you seem pretty worn out,” the other responded coolly.
“Are you serious? You know I can go for hours more!” he exclaimed as he rose up from the ground readying his stance. The two boys stood a few meters apart from each other carrying bo staffs on a large platform made for sparring. While a platform of this type would normally be found in a dojo, this one was set outdoors, surrounded by lush green grass and a path leading to the estate of the owners of this “fighting stage.”
“Go for hours more? Then why are you so out of breath? Eh Takahiro?” the first boy taunted.
The boy who was out of energy, Takahiro, suddenly had a fire burning in his eyes as he exclaimed. “Rrrrgghhh! I’ll show you who’s outta breath!” He bolted at his opponent, launching a strike at his head with the end of his staff, but the young man smoothly blocked the strike and jabbed Takahiro, knocking him to the ground once again.
“You’ve been practicing for months and you still go with head on attacks?” said the young man looking down at Takahiro, “You should practice the forms first. We can spar later.”
“Watch what you say, Naoki,” warned Takahiro as he still pushed on to rise up after being knocked down so harshly, “It’s not over yet. You say I can’t win without learning all of your forms?” These words carried the weight of Naoki’s superiority over Takahiro that the ladder had to deal with ever since he met him. “Screw the forms! Here’s my style!” Hiro snapped the staff on his knee and threw one half at Naoki. With quick precision, he blocked the projectile, but before he could defend himself again, Takahiro landed a strong hit, straight in the center of Naoki’s head, knocking him to the ground.
“Well I wouldn’t exactly approve,” Naoki said, standing up and rubbing his head, “but congratulations. That’s the first hit you’ve landed on me.” Naoki was only referring to his spars with the bo staffs, but for Takahiro it was the first time he came close to Naoki. He knew his goal was coming soon: his chance to protect his brother—Naoki.
Chapter 2 History Repeats Itself
“What’s the point?” Takahiro yawned quietly as he sat in the back of his ancient history and mythology class. “History’s not gonna change any time soon. Why do we have to study the same thing every year?” It was just loud enough for Naoki to turn around and hear his ignorant word. He turned around, giving Takahiro an angry look that demanded him to be quiet.
The history teacher paced back and forth as he gave his lecture with imaged projected on a screen in front of the black board. “Long ago,” the teacher began, “only some years after civilization had developed, one history’s most intelligent philosophers grew sick with the evil that had grown in the world. This man, known as the Re-creator, discovered that everyone had a soul within them that radiated energy. Every soul emitted its own unique energy, but there were only two types of souls: good and evil. All good souls shared a similar energy pattern, as did evil souls. The Re-creator discovered the difference between the good and evil souls’ frequencies, and he slowly began to have ideas of purifying humanity from evil, making a society of good. His first attempt at cleansing the world of evil was to change the frequency of evil souls with a gigantic radio wave to make them good. He was successful on his first few test subjects at first, but the artificial good souls soon reverted back to evil. The Re-creator grew desperate, wanting to create a Utopia by any means; even if it meant wiping out more have of the population.
“He put all of his time and energy into creating the Anzunder, a tool that would resonate with the frequency of every evil soul and destroy it. And he had succeeded—at least, that is what he had thought. The Anzunder did not act as the Re-creator predicted, and resonated with every human being’s soul, yet it did not destroy them. Their souls were strengthened and shed from their bodies; converting them into what we call a spirit form. In this form, the humans were much stronger since they had full control over their soul energy. The good and evil spirits fought relentlessly with their newfound power, until only one side remained: the good. The spirits worked backward from the Re-creator’s designs and regained their bodies. The Re-creator’s utopia was a reality, but at the cost of so many lives. Evil souls were eventually born, and society returned to its previous state. There are theories stating that some people have strong enough souls to tap into their soul energy and activate powers from—”
“Agggggghhhhhhhh, this is so boring!!” loudly interrupted Takahiro, slamming his hands on his desk. The history teacher strode to the back of the class where Takahiro was sitting, and grabbed his collar, angrily interrogating, “What was that, runt? Is my class so boring you just can’t keep it in? C’mere we’re going to the principal’s office!” As the teacher dragged Takahiro away, Naoki shook his head. “You’re going to get expelled at this rate, Takahiro,” he said.
“Please, just call me Hiro!”
“Heroes don’t get expelled,” responded Naoki.
“We’ll see about that,” yelled Takahiro as the teacher already took him out of the room, and was quite a distance down the hall.
Chapter 3 An Offer to be a Hero
Late into the afternoon, Takahiro is seen walking out of the school and onto his way home. There are sidewalks that would lead to his house, but he knows a shortcut through an alley way and prefers to go that way. To be completely correct, he is not walking to his house. He is actually walking to Naoki’s house. Takahiro had not walked to his own house ever since he was only 8 years old; before his parents were taken away from him by lowly thieves, before he suddenly thrown into world to live on his own, jumping from the age of 8 to 18. Even as an 8 year old, Naoki was less mature then the other kids his age. His closest friend, Naoki, knew this, and asked his parents if they could take him into their home. Naoki’s parents were long retires, very successful businesspeople, and they used their money to start a foster home for orphaned children. Takahiro, however, was taken in as one on foster owners’ own child, and the two friends became brothers. The boys influenced each others’ personalities, each lacking what the other excelled at for a full five years until this day.
Takahiro was now about halfway through the narrow alley way, between two very tall building, and just at the right spot where he could not see end of either side of the alley. Takahiro was simply thinking, “Two whole weeks of non-stop detention. It really sucks, but at least that crummy teacher was fired.”
It was right then that Takahiro felt a hand fall upon his shoulder. “Oh hey Naoki,” he said as he turned his head. “I thought you had a socc—” he then saw that the person behind him was not Naoki, but a tall stranger.
Before Takahiro could react, the stranger said, “Hey there! How would you like to be a hero?” The stranger had an unctuous grin that seemed to disturb Takahiro. “Get off –a me creep!” yelled Takahiro, punching the man in the jaw taking a few steps back. The stranger rubbed his jaw and mumbled to himself: “I’m running out of time…okay, I’ll just be straight forward.” Takahiro began to walk away, and the stranger yelled “Hey kid, this is serious.”
“Seriously disturbing.” Takahiro said over his shoulder. “Go creep on someone a bit more your age.”
The stranger then had a grave expression on his face as he asked, “Do you want your friend to die?”
Chapter 4 The Anzunder
The words of the stranger shot into Takahiro’s ears and mind. He turned around and locked his gaze onto the suspicious man, getting his first good view of him. The stranger had long, straight black hair that went halfway down his back. He wore a fedora with a black feather jutting up from the right side, matching his suit also covered in black feathers, and his black pants and shoes. The sight of all the feathers surprised Takahiro for an instant, but he dashed at the peculiar man and grabbed his collar. “What are you planning to do to Naoki?” the boy demanded.
“I’m planning to save him.” The stranger said with unchanging seriousness. “But by the way you’re treating me, it seems you want him dead.”
“I don’t want him to die!”
“Well he’s going to. The world is going to end soon,” he stranger coolly responded.
“What the hell are young talking about?!” Takahiro asked with red hot anger.
“Have you ever heard of the Anzunder?” The man asked Takahiro. “I’m sure you have. But what you don’t know is that this device of the devil has been discovered, and that it’s about to be used to end civilization and bring about another Soul War.” This stranger’s collar slipped out of Takahiro’s hands, as he was still trying to grasp what he had just heard. “You see,” the man continued, “the man who found the Anzunder cannot activate it himself. As you probably already know, there are some people in this world who have strong enough souls that they can tap into their soul energy while they are not even in their spirit forms. The Anzunder can only activate using this type of energy, and there are two boys in this town who have strong enough souls to fulfill the requirements.” Takahiro was trying take all of this information in as looked down at the ground unsure whether to believe this man’s words. “I’ve managed to pinpoint the location of one of the strong souls—the one that’s inside of you.”
Takahiro now looked straight into the stranger’s eyes. “So you mean…?” He barley whispered.
“That’s right.” The stranger replied. “This is your chance to be a hero. To the world, and to your friend, Naoki. You see, right now, my colleague, who is in possession of the Anzunder, is probably on his way to find Naoki as we speak. If you haven’t already guessed, your friend bears the other strong soul, and he is about to be used to trigger the soul war.” Upon hearing this Takahiro’s eyes opened very wide, emitting the shock he felt inside. His instincts quickly took control of him, and he dashed forward, past the stranger and toward the school. “Naoki’s still at school right now. We have to go help him!” he exclaimed.
“Hey, wait! He’s probably been taken somewhere by this second Re-creator,” yelled the stranger, stopping Takahiro, and causing him to turn back around. “But don’t worry,” continued the stranger. “I have a device the can help us find him. My name’s Hayato by the way. But you’ll remember me as the guy who saved your friend’s life,” he said as he pulled a small black cube the size of a football with a large circle on the top face from a pocket inside of his suit. “This is a soul compass. I can use it to find strong souls, but I need another strong soul to activate it for me. Just grab it with both of your hands on top of mine and I’ll do the rest.”
Without a moment of hesitation, Takahiro reached out to grab the cube. A sinister smile grew on Hayto’s face, and as Takahiro’s fingertips were inches away from Hayato’s a blue, glowing disk flew at the cube. Hayato leapt back, barley dodging the blade as it whizzed in front of Takahiro’s face and sunk halfway into ground a few feet away. Takahiro stood staring forward, dumbfounded, until a voice called from behind. “You idiot!! A second later and the Spirit War would have begun!!” Takahiro turned around seeing Naoki waving his fist in the air at Takahiro, but he just barely managed to mumble, “So….that was….the…..”
“Yes,” Naoki replied. “That little black box is the Anzunder.”
Chapter 5 Soul Drive
“What the hell is going on?! Who are you, Hayato? And what’s that disk that flew at me?” Takahiro questioned in confusion. Another stranger followed behind Naoki.
“I’ll fill you in in a second, but right now we’ve got a fight on our hands.” The new stranger answered.
“So you’re here Katsuo?” Hayato said to the new stranger. “You came a bit too early, my friend.” Hayato then shifts his gaze at Naoki. “And you’ve found the other strong soul, eh Katsuo? It’s seems I’m outnumbered. Especially since you’ve taught this kid about the Soul Drive already. Looks like I’ll have to make this quick!” Hayato stretched out his arm and a long, black, glowing sword materialized in front of his hand. He then bolted at Naoki with the sword in his right hand.
“Naoki, auto-strike your shield!” Katsuo commanded.
“R-right!” Naoki said as the circular blade next to Naoki began to dematerialize and reform in front of Naoki.
“Too late!” Hayato said, lunging his sword forward at Naoki, whose shield had only formed halfway. Naoki used this half-shield to deflect the blade, but Hayato twisted around and made another lunge, hitting the center of the shield fragment.
“This is bad,” Katsuo thought. “Hey kid!” he yelled over at Takahiro. “Have you proclaimed your soul drive yet?”
“I….I don’t think so.” The boy replied.
“Well now you have to fight! What will drive you to fight? What drives your soul?!” Katsuo urgently asked of the boy. Meanwhile, Naoki’s shield gets thrown aside by Hayato’s sword. Hayato then pulls his sword back, preparing to stab Naoki.
“I…” Takahiro began. “I will protect those who I hold dear!!” Red light began to rapidly flow from Takahiro who started to run at Hayato. “I vow,” Takhiro exclaimed with all his passion as he dashed at the enemy and a staff began to materialize at his hand, “I vow that I will protect Naoki!!!!” His staff doubled in size, and he leapt through air taking Hayato’s attention away from Naoki. As he turned around, Takahiro fell from his jump and slammed Hayato in the ribcage with all his strength, sending Hayato sliding across the floor and into a wall. Takahiro then turns toward Naoki. “Who can’t land a single hit?” he said, panting.
“Heh heh. Thanks, bro” Naoki replied with a smile of relief.
“Dammit,” Hayato thought. “I really am outnumbered.”
“Now where’d this awesome staff come from?” Takahiro asked, gazing at the staff as he lifted it into the air.
“Let me give you an explanation now.” Answered Katsuo. “I’m Katsuo. When you proclaimed that you wanted to protect a loved one you stated your Soul Drive, activating your soul energy causing it to spill over its boundaries. This power that you are using right know, took the shape of a staff, the perfect weapon for self-defense, since it will protect you, but not pierce or slice the enemy. Obviously this staff is different than a regular bo staff. All soul weapons have the special ability to ‘auto-strike’. This makes the weapon reappear in your hands, ready for battle.”
“Katsuo came into the school as I was packing my stuff,” Naoki said. “He filled me in on this information, and he told me of that man Hayato. They were colleagues who were working together to find the Anzunder. Hayato was a bit mad, but Katsuo recognized that he was a true genius and believed that he could set Hayato on the right path as they both searched for the Anzundder. Once the two stored it away for later research, Hayato took it and fled. He then searched for someone who could activate the Anzunder.”
“Why didn’t he do it himself?” Takahiro asked. “It looks like he’s got a Strong Soul.”
“Once you use your soul to activate the Anzunder, you cease to live.” Naoki answered.
“I’ll take care of this criminal,” Katsuo said as he looked toward Hayato. “We cannot reveal the fact that the device has been re-discovered, but I can hand him over to the police for assaulting a child. I’ll take the device with me so it can never be used for evil. There should be no place for evil in this world, we would be better off with it eliminated.”
Hayato then became enraged as he belted out, “No place for evil? Bah! You think I wanted to use this device just out of some sick whim? What does today’s society think good is? Laws, restrictions, limits upon our freedom? Stuffing those who are thought to be ‘evil’ into jails and treating them like monsters, sometimes until they die? That is not how I want to live. No one can truly live in a world like that! Imagine a world without these limitations! A beautiful world of chaos. We’d all be free like birds soaring through the air. Everyone can fend for themselves. If you are robbed or murdered by a criminal, it’s your problem for being weak—”
“Shut up!” Naoki interrupted, angrily. “Hiro’s parents were killed by criminals like that! Do you really want to live in a world where children will suffer from such evil? My parents were kind enough to take him in, and we grew up together, so he’s had a family, and grew up fine, but many of these type of children don’t get that type of love and become villains themselves, contributing to even more hatred, creating a chain that never ends!”
“Calm down Naoki,” Takahiro said. “It’s alright. I’m fine. I’ve got you right? You’re not supposed to be the one losing your cool.”
“I agree with you Naoki, pure evil like this should be destroyed. Perhaps, by any means possible.” Katsuo said as he walked toward Hayato and threw his limp body over his shoulder. “Thank you two gentlemen. I’ll take care of Hayato. Meet me back behind the school so that I can help you with what is to become of you and your Soul Drives.” Katsuo then walked toward the end of the alley in the direction of Takahiro’s house and the two boys began to go the other way.
Chapter 6 Good and Evil
“Wow this sure is amazing!” Takahiro said with a large smile on his face. “So Naoki, what is your Soul Weapon anyway?” Naoki extended his arm to materialize a glowing, blue shield at his hand, and Takahiro tried to hold in a laugh. “A shield? AHAHAHAHA!” What are you gonna do with a dinky little shield? Block the enemy to death? HAHAHAHA!!” Naoki then extended his arm sideways and held his shield out as the edge began to glow. After taking a few steps away, he threw the shield at Takahiro, barely missing him and landing it halfway into the ground. Takahiro’s laughter froze and he exclaimed, “What are you trying to do? KILL ME?!?”
“It’s rude to laugh, you know.” The other coolly replied.
“Yeah, cuz its so polite to chop people in half.” Hiro replied sarcastically. “Well you’re just jealous of my awesome weapon!” Takahiro then materialized his glowing, bright red staff at his hand, but it suddenly broke apart into sections connected by chains. “What the…?”
“Hmm, what a strange weapon. Suits you perfectly.” Naoki commented. “Man this is so unbelievable. One crazy guy wants to use us for evil, so he activates your powers, and another guy activated my powers to save us and then just leaves.”
“Well I think this is awesome! Now, I can match up to you. And I can fight to protect you. Hey, what was your Soul Drive anyway?
“I want to provide peace to protect this world, so that no one can ever be hurt again as you were.” Naoki replied. He then recalled what Katsuo said when Naoki first activated his Soul Drive. “Katsuo said something kind of interesting acter I stated my Soul Drive.‘You want peace, hmm? I also wish for a world without evil. Just imagine; we could all be free; no worries or sorrows caused by crime or murder. Just never-ending joy. If only all evil could be terminated. What a world that would be. But Hayato is aiming for the exact opposite! Come; we have to stop him now!’”
“What?” Takahro said, a little thrown off. “Terminate all evil? Kinda harsh if you ask me.”
Naoki then stopped walking and looked at the ground, deep in thought. “…terminate all evil……oh no. Hiro. Katsuo is planning to use Hayato’s soul to activate the Anzunder , and begin the Spirit War to destroy the evil souls. Just think, he said he wanted to achieve peace by any means possible. He was probably specifically thinking of using the Anzunder.”
“Damn! Where the hell did he go?!” Takahiro asked with a tone of panic in his voice.
“He’s probably long gone by now, but we need to find him.”
“Alright,” Takahiro said with an unsure smile. “I’ve got an idea.”
Chapter 7 The Plan
The two boys are standing a flat plain of grass behind the stage at Naoki’s house. Naoki shoves the edge of his shield into the ground at an angle, causing the shield to stick diagonally out of the dirt. Naoki then sits on the upper half of shield and Takahiro on the lower half.
“Are you sure this’ll work?” Naoki asked.
“No idea!” Takahiro replied with a large smile.
Then, with all the parts together, Takahiro puts one end of his staff on the ground. “Here we go!” Takahiro extends a link of staff causing the shield to shoot up, and he continues to extend the staff link by link until the two boys are hundreds of feet in the air. “Now Naoki! Push out as much soul energy as you can!” Takahiro commanded. Naoki closed his eyes and his shield began to emit a large aura of bright blue soul energy. Takahiro extended his feet and jumped sideways off of the shield, pushing the two boys in different directions. He then pulled his chain staff up and wrapped it around Naoki, who held tightly onto the shield. Takahiro focused as Naoki did and dark red soul energy began to flow out of his staff. He pulled Naoki toward him while they were still high in the sky, causing Naoki and Takahiro to fly past each other. “When the cold air of a cool soul goes in direction,” said Hiro as he rushed past his friend, “and the flaming air of the soul of a hot head goes in the other direction…” the two aura’s of soul energy began to swirl together and Takahiro swung Naoki like a pendulum in humungous circles, further mixing the soul energies, “…you get a Soul Tornado!!!” The hot and soul energies whirled together even faster, creating a colossal tornado of soul energy, and a body flew up from the town below.
“There he is, Hiro! Opposite direction!”
“Gothca!!” Takahiro swung Naoki in the opposite direction as the tornado. The body that flew up was Katsuo’s and the two boys yelled “SOUL SMASH!!” as Naoki was hurled dead center into Kastuo sending him flying down at the ground.
Takahiro continues to swing Naoki in the opposite direction of the tornado in order to quell it, and once it was gone he extended his staff to the ground next to Katsuo and slowly descended.
“Yeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh!! It actually worked!” Takahiro exclaimed.
“Heh heh. A tornado made of pure soul energy, only affecting those with Strong Souls, pulling Katsuo up in the air, but causing no other damage. You might not be too bright Hiro, but you have a brilliant style.”
Katsuo was battered on the ground, unable to move. Takahiro looked down at him and said, “So I guess you already weakened Hayato to the point that the tornado didn’t affect him?”
“So you found out my plot, huh?” The injured man barely breathed out.
“That’s right,” Takahiro said. “It’s over Katsuo. There won’t be any Spirit War starin’ as long a me and Naoki are around. After all, if we let that happen, we'd be failing to fulfill our Soul Drives!”