The Trails of Moonlight II

Vol. 2 Chapter 2 II- Formless

"The moon's just probably getting to me."

Feb 18, 431 AR
1:00am
Springshroud

——

Sleep will not take me. No amount of tossing and turning could help me fall drowsy. Whether its the constant squealing I hear a few rooms away or the thoughts running through my head that kept me awake, I could not decide. I figure I'd take my gunto and Halophate badge and set out into the cold night. 

I ran into some guards on patrol as I went my way from The Misty Maid- obviously taking precautions due to Riz and Maxwell's shenanigans.
Some would question what I was doing out so late, but thankfully they let me go after I showed them my Halophate badge. The arson that happened at the archives were obviously a shock to everyone, and its no wonder why they'll make such a fuss about it, especially seeing some dodgy person walking with an Orient-style blade at one in the morning. But I, personally, shouldn't waste a night as beautiful like this to worrying over a load of rubbish. I'd rather train my sword arm more than anything else.

The lake harbor overlooked by the Labyrinth Archives reflected the moonlit skies. Its waters ebb and flow as the winds picked up.

'A perfect place to practice,' I told myself as I silenced the world around me with a tune from my headphones and took a deep breath as I assumed a stance.

As I exhaled, I drew Serotine; its martensite blade coming to life as it reflected the moon. I carved trails of light into the darkness, stepping back only to crash relentlessly once more like water on the shoreline.

It felt… stupid, dancing with no partner but the shadows in my own mind. Neither the tune on my ears nor the push and pull of the waters would provide the rhythm to this dance of steel and air. It flowed freely, independent of this world; a beautiful aberration, as I remember it to be.

Or… is it really? Something feels off… Is it the way I did that last cut? Were my movements too stiff? Ack, thinking about it made me step back without the counter- no wait, I'm losing balance… there… damn, I forgot to step forward for the thrust…  

'I'm hopeless…' I sighed at my inept execution of technique, and resigned myself to sheath Serotine halfway through the kata. I decided I'll settle for some well deserved stone skimming, at least. But as I cast my first pebble, it sank as soon as it landed.

I weakly laughed on how pathetic that throw was.

Looking back, Inori always did say I was sloppy. Not because I lacked talent, according to her, but for lacking focus; noticing far too many things at the same time. She kept telling me to 'flow like the stream, not the petals above it,' but no matter what I do, I found myself paralyzed like a rock at some point, hesitant to take action until I know I'm doing exactly as they do. I don't understand. Was it fear of mistakes on my end? I'd only be a disgrace to announce myself a practitioner of this form, the way Erina proudly calls herself as an Adept of Form 4. Guess that's why Inori never did tell me the true name nor number of this Kusanagi form. Even now, I'm stuck a beginner- perhaps even a drop out- of this 'Formless'style.

That nanny… guardian- no, sister of mine said I'd get it one day. And when that day comes, she promised that she'll reveal its name.

That day… never really came.

I lost her as well as its name… that night she tried to rescue me.
When my crimson flames first painted the starlit black.

'You worry too much about those who you'll hurt, but shouldn't you worry more about those who you could save?'

Maxwell's words echo through my head. What if he's right?

If I didn't hesitate on that night… If I knew about what power my blood held from the start… and gave in to the bloodlust… would things have been different? Would I have protected her from being taken by those lives that I took?

… I should probably head back. The moon's just probably getting to me.

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Chuunichi

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