Thursday, November 5, 2015

Volume 3 - Chapter 13 - New Beginnings (Middle)

Previously on EC - The group that went to rescue the Princess completed their quest, a soldier within the Princess’ Guard turns out to be a refugee from the Pent Kingdom and request asylum from our MCs. Hank, Kun’s guardian-ish uncle-like person, wraps up a lecture on medical treatment in the field, hinting at the appearance of a certain military figure that plans to wreck havoc on the future trainees.


*Ling Ling* *Ling Ling*

Two metallic bells chime above the shuddering, round, analog alarm clock.

*DON*

A hand makes a lazy arc in the air before heavily smacking the clock into silence.

“Uwaaaa…”

A youth crawls sluggishly out of bed, his naked upper body stopping momentarily in the warm morning sun. With his eyes half-closed, he does his usual morning rituals of cleansing himself before doing his daily run.

“Morning, Rick!” A small child greets the youth as he’s locking up his apartment’s door, a woman next to the child also gives a nod in greeting.

[T/N: It says oniisan, similar to how Gui address Kun, but there’s no english equivalent I can think of that fits the context as “brother” wouldn’t make sense, so I replace it with Rick, it’s suppose to show a hint of respect, as opposed to casually calling his first name. :<]



“Morning, kiddo. Off to practice?” Rick gives the door a push to make sure it’s locked before turning to face his neighbour. “Good morning, Ms. Hemming.”

The lady gives the youth a slight nod as she checks the door to make she had locked it.

“Yeah! We are going to learn how to throw curveballs today!” The kid that’s barely half the height of Rick answers him energetically.

Immediately, Rick’s face darkens. “Ms. Hemming…” As nothing more than a relatively recent neighbour, the youth isn’t sure what rights he has to stick into their business. But his personal experience and conscience are nagging at him to stop them. Sighing with a *Fuu*, he continues. “You might want to have Jean join a different team or something.”

“Why darling? Is there something wrong with the team he’s in?” She asks in a concerned voice as she walks towards the two.

“Jean isn’t at the age where he should even be throwing curveballs, I’m not saying he can’t ever throw it, but it can easily wreck his shoulder and elbow if he starts it now. The first thing he needs is a stable arm with enough strength.”

“Is that right?” She walks up behind Jean and puts her hands on his shoulders. “Where did you learn this?”

Rick reveals a bitter smile as he pulls his shirt’s collar to the side, revealing a portion of a surgical scar on his left shoulder. “I went through it.”

*hii*

The mother draws a cold breath. “I see.”

“Well, maybe it wouldn’t happen to Jean, but I thought I’d let you know. Sorry if I scared you.” Rick scrunches a corner of his lips before rustling the kid’s hair as he heads out for his morning run. “See ya, kiddo.”

The youth starts off slowly into a jog down the stairs, turning off into the main path of his apartment, he jogs towards the usually quiet road. Except today, the road is lined with numerous elongated cars with tinted windows. He looks at the motorcade with curiosity as he continues his jog.

“Mr. Richard A. Carter, I presume?” A middle-aged man dressed in a black tweed suit with matching pants, sunglasses and bowler hat appears silently in front of the youth, causing him to jump and become vigilant. As his eyes make a quick sweep of the surroundings, he realizes there are many more men dressed similarly all around him.

“Who are you people and what do you want?” Rick’s eyes narrow slightly, trying to think of a way to get away from these strange men.

“We are with the Police, there are some questions we’d like to ask you.” The man bows slightly while directing his right hand in a leather glove to one of the cars.

*tsuchi*

The blond youth immediately sprints off without giving a response, causing the man to smirk. The man lifts his right index and middle finger up, flicking them forward slowly. The other men in the vicinity dispersed in different directions, with two chasing after Rick.

“What kind of moron would believe you are with the Police?” Rick mumbles as he races toward the main street where he knows he would be relatively safe. As it’s still early in the morning, in the awkward time where early labourers had long since left for work while those working office jobs have yet to wake up, no help would arrive in time even if he screams for it in this quiet residential neighbourhood - so, he runs with all his might.

A mental map appears in Rick’s mind as he contemplates his destination. If he keeps following the current street, there’s only a distance of about 70 meters to the nearest main road where he could cause a commotion and get help. Considering that Rick himself knows that he has done nothing wrong, there’s only one conclusion, they aren’t the Police.

‘Are they spies…? No, this shouldn’t be possible… then are they kidnappers?

As the son of two diplomats, he has been briefed on the dangers of those who would target him for a variety of reasons. Although he was provided with training, it was merely a formality as it was just an information session with a one-time demonstration by some bureaucrats. He would’ve never thought that he’d actually have the need to use them.

“Mr. Carter, please stop.” Two men appear in front of him suddenly, blocking his path.

“Tsk.” Clicking his tongue, Rick does a crossover step and cuts to the left without slowing down before leaping at a tall wooden fence with a *dakon* before pulling himself over into someone else’s backyard.

[T/N: This crossover step -> cut is apparently an American Football thing, not to be confused with basketball or other sports. For those that are more knowledgeable, you see this quite often during running play evasions and the runner of a hook passing play.

“Damn it! How can he move that fast?!”
“Go! Don’t lose sight of him!”

The two men grumble as they split up, with one following Rick over the fence while the other turns back and tries to cut him off at the front of the house. Shortly after, the two men stare blankly at each other across the open path at the side of the house.

“Where did he go?!”

*dakon*

The two men turns to look at the fence before letting out a simultaneous ““Fuck!””

The blond youth ran and hid behind the tool shed when the man chasing came over the wall, considering the way the men are trying to catch him, it’s highly possible that his running away wasn’t expected. This means that if there are men trying to catch him, they would leave an opening should they pursue him. With this in mind, he waited for his chance and double backed over the fence, exploiting that weakness.

With the way unobstructed, adrenaline kicking in and the short distance, Rick manages to reach the intersection within a dozen seconds and then screams “HELP! KIDNAPPERS!” at the top of his lungs. His voice cause the various horses tied to the posts and hitched with carriages to neigh as well as catching the attention of the passerby, some shopkeeps even rush out of their store with various tools in hand. Although technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in the last few decades, the cities and towns within the Atlantic Union still operate under the mindset of close-knitted communities where neighbours greet and help out one another. Even when Rick first arrived at his bachelor pad, it was filled with food to last him for a few days due to the wellwishes of his neighbours.

“Where are they?!” A slightly bulgy man with an apron and balding head asks Rick while holding a rolling pin. Similarly, other shopkeeps with brooms, mops, firepokers and so forth start to walk towards the youth.

“There he…!!” Three men in black suits rush out from a small street, with one of them pointing at Rick before stalling in his pose in shock. Within seconds, a mob of passerby and shopkeeps surround the men, all of which are showing an unpleasant face.

“Make way! Make way!” A pair of officers walk into the crowd, apparently having come out from a shop further down the road. “What’s going on here?!”

The three men’s faces twitch slightly, albeit with relief in their eyes. The crowd turns their head at the youth who is perspiring heavily, panting slightly.

“They claimed to be the police and surrounded me outside my home. I managed to evade their group and got here.”

One of the officers’ face turn cold as he walks up to the three men. “I don’t recognize you people, take out your IDs.”

A middle-aged man gets out of the car nearby, putting on his bowler hat before closing the passenger door with a *TAA* right at the edge of the crowd. The men turn their head in the man’s direction, before saying “Boss.” The man makes a comehither motion with his right hand to one of the officers. The officer approaches with a scowl on his face, obviously displeased that someone has the nerve to cause a commotion here.

“Don’t worry, kid. You are safe here.” The remaining officer comments while keeping his eyes on the three men.

“Damn right!”
“No one gets to mess up MY town!”
“Yeah!”

The crowd agrees wholeheartedly, giving Rick a rare heartwarming feeling. The crowd gossips amongst themselves for a while before the other officer returns with the middle-aged man in tow.

“Let’s bring them in, Joe. There’s something we need to confirm.”

“Got it, I’ll get the horses.”

“Sorry, kid, mind coming down to the station with us? There’s something we need to clear up, don’t worry, we will keep you safe.”

The middle-aged man smiles mysteriously, a hint of bitterness and playfulness in his eyes.


* * * * *


“Okay. I understand. Yes. Thank you. Bye.” The officer finally gets off the phone after talking to his superior before turning to the middle-aged man that’s fiddling with his bowler hat in hand. “Mr. Geraud, was it?”

“Yes? You’ve received the confirmation I presume?”

“Yes, but the kid broke no laws and you acted outside of your jurisdiction, so we will not be handing the kid over to you until you provide us a valid explanation.” The officer shifts his eyes to the youth sitting in the chair with a slight nod of his square, chiseled chin. It’s obvious that the officer is doing everything in his power to keep the youth safe as promised.

The middle-aged man gives his bowler hat a twirl before catching it. “I’m not trying to start a turf war here, Lieutenant. But this matter concerns National Security.”

“Then give us an appropriate reason or proof that Mr. Carter here committed a crime, until then, he’s under our protection. The Intelligence Bureau does not have the right to take Mr. Carter into custody without reason.”

The man called Mr. Geraud sighs with a *huu* “And here I thought only bureaucrats are stubborn. Very well, Lieutenant. I shall take my leave for now.”

“Certainly, but unfortunately some of your men will be detained for a while.”

The middle-aged man scowls. “And for what reason?”

“According to the property owner, some of your men trespassed onto his property and caused some damages. We will need their statement and some time to investigate.”

“Hmph! Fine! I will see you soon, you as well Mr. Carter.” Mr. Geraud makes an ugly face before storming out of the room. Leaving the officer, Rick and the two guards protecting the entrance to the room.

The officer finally slumps onto his chair a while after the agent left, sighing deeply.

“Thanks for the help, Lieutenant Sampson.” Rick bows slightly while saying so.

The man gives a casual wave of his hand. “Don’t worry about it, just doing my job. Have to keep you at the station for the time being though, sorry about that.” The man rotates his neck, giving it a light stretch. “Oh right, someone dropped off something for you.” Grabbing at something near the bottom of his desk, he brings up a small woven basket covered with a red and white checkered cloth. “A Mrs. Hemming said to give this to you after she gave her statement earlier. She called the police when she spotted you being chased by those men.”

“Oh?” Rick takes the basket and lifts up the cloth, causing a savoury aroma to leak out. “Oh! Beef sandwiches. Right, I forgot about breakfast and lunch!”

*guru guru*
*guru guru*

Two stomachs growl simultaneously.

“Care to split it?” The youth offers after grabbing a triangle of bread out of the basket.


* * * * *


*PA*

A loud slap echoes inside the room, a youth stumbles backward from the force of the hit by a tall, blond man dressed immaculately in elegant suit and tie. “Haven’t you shamed our family enough?! What trouble did you cause this time?!” The man shouts with a sneer on his face. “I am not even sure if you are my son!”

[T/N: Not to be taken literally, he’s saying implying that Rick’s behaviour is far from his own.

The youth gets up calmly without replying with his head down. *DA* He suddenly thrusts out his left fist, which is caught by the man with his palm.

*TAKA*

Without stopping, Rick swings his right arm, uppercutting his father in the jaw.

*pichi*

The youth spits out some saliva laced with blood while the man winds up his fist, ready to strike back.

“ENOUGH!” Lt. Sampson roars, as the two guards from outside enters the room, ready to intervene. This shout causes the man to lower his fist, while Rick stares at him coldly.

“I apologize, officer. I don’t know what my son did this time, I’m willing to pay the fine whatever it is. I will teach him a lesson he won’t forget when we get home.” The man puts his left hand on his chin, giving it a light massage.

“Mr. Carter.” The officer’s voice dropping a pitch. “Your son, did, nothing, wrong.” He slowly and carefully says the words to drive it home. He’s a sworn officer of the Atlantic Union, unlike the militia or the military, his role is to be a mediator, protect the innocent and keep the peace. At the most fundamental level, nothing disturbs the peace more than falsely accusing someone as it doesn’t just create needless drama, but it also creates unnecessary enmity and the loss of dignity of the accused. If someone already lost their dignity with their fellow man, it wouldn’t take much to nudge them into actually committing acts similar to what they were falsely accused of.

“What, what do you mean?” The man frowns slightly, still staring at his son in disdain.

*kon kon*
*kacha*

Two knocks come from the door and it opens before anyone can react, the guards immediately put their hands on their billy sticks tied to their belts.

The silhouette that enters is the middle-aged man from the morning, hat in hand. The lieutenant gives his head a shake, causing the guards to stand down.

“Good evening, Lieutenant.” The man speaks somewhat more amicably than in the morning, before turning to the tall man. “Ah, Donny, I didn’t expect you of all people to be here.”

“Howard Geraud… What is the Intelligence Bureau doing here?”

“Have a seat first.” The man switches the bowler hat from his right hand to his left, before pulling back his left sleeve to look at his bold, silver watch. “The files will arrive shortly.”

The lieutenant nods as well, having already received a brief from his Chief. It’s one of those rare cases that the Intelligence Bureau isn’t out to cause trouble.

*kon kon*

“Come in.”

*kacha*

“Express dispatch here from Central, Sir!” A robust young man with a dusty overcoat salutes the lieutenant.

“Ah, that’d be for me, right on time.” The middle-aged man pins his hat under his armpit as he fidgets around in his breast pocket, producing a stamp and pen. The messenger hands over a piece of paper on a miniature clipboard where the man stamps once before signing it with a scratching sound before handing it back to him.

The young man checks the paper, nodding once before handing over a package from inside his overcoat. “Have a good evening, Sirs!” He makes a salute once more before leaving.

“Stand guard outside you two.”

““Yes, Sir!””

“What’s going on here? Why is Central involved?” The tall man’s face turns dark, worry creeping onto his face. Central is short for the Central Office, the highest authority within the country dealing with non-military affairs - this includes intelligence, counter-terrorism, domestic and foreign affairs.

The man known as Howard carefully opens the package and retrieves a stack of paper from inside. After verifying them once, he hands it over. “Take a look yourself.”

*sha* *sha* *sha*

Rick’s father goes through one page after another, the lieutenant closes his eyes and looks out the window while Rick remains standing, staring coldly at his father.

“This… This doesn’t make sense.”

“Exactly, this is unprecedented. 11 countries allied with us or have friendly relations sought us out to try and set up an informal meeting with your son here. 19 countries with minimal ties or no ties at all asked for introductions. These are just the ones from official diplomatic channels. Certain para-military elements involved are supposedly listed in the dozens.”

Hearing this, Donatello Carter takes a cold, silent breath and turns to look at his son. At the same time, the lieutenant turns to look at the youth with a smirk, finding this amusing. The youth in question loses his cold stare and replaces it with a “What the hell?” expression.

“Our spies have limited success in identifying the sources, but what we have found out is that there are 3 sources giving out the commands in establishing contact, and in every single case, the command emphasize that the contact must be courteous and amiable - this include the para-military elements.” The agent continues.

“Rick, what the hell did you do?” The man forces his word out with a tightness in his chest.

“I didn’t do anything! Why do you always assume I am at fault? You think I am like you?”

“You ungrateful little-” The tall man swings a fist at him to shut him up.

*DIIN*

A dull metallic sound rings out as the agent casually block the fist with the bowler hat.

“He’s right, we went through all his communications and even followed him for a while. Your son is very diligent you know… and resourceful. He embarrassed our agents quite a bit this morning.” The agent smiles while turning toward the lieutenant, who went to sit at his desk at some point in time, with his hands tented.

Silence fills the room, with the tall man seething and nursing his fist.

“So what happens now?” Rick, as the primary person involved, asks the agent.

“Well, you’ve some choices. We can put you in jail for awhile while we sort this out, but I’m afraid our friend over there won’t let us do that…” The lieutenant narrows his eyes at the middle-aged man sharply, causing him to move on. “We can have you join us and train you as an agent, I mean, you certainly have the aptitude for it. We could also put you into Protective Custody at a secure location.” Looking at the displeased look on the youth’s face, the man offers one last solution. “Or… we can assign agents to follow you 24/7, this means you won’t have any privacy and every single activity will be monitored.”

“Just put him in Prote-”

“Go with the last one.” Rick cuts off his father in mid-sentence, contradicting him.

“You sure? You can’t even go to the washroom without someone there you know.”

“There are things I want to do and still need to train for, seeing as I’m NOT at fault or committed any crime, why should I suffer for you people’s convenience?” Even for someone as dense as Rick, he knows that he’s in an advantageous position, he knows that even in diplomacy, bluffing and hostile negotiations are common. But in his case, everyone involved was commanded to be courteous to him, this means there’s something they want - yet, they cannot afford to offend him in any way. He scoffs once at his father before turning to the lieutenant, bowing once. “Thank you for everything, Officer Sampson.”

The lieutenant smiles amiably as he gives a small nod.

“Wait right there, Richard, I am not done with you!” Rick’s father commands with a strict voice as the youth tries to leave.

“But I am done with you!”

*kacha*

The door opens and closes, leaving two men smiling with different meanings while a single man fumes wordlessly.


Subject: Might be absent for a few days.
Hey goofballs, I won’t be able to show up for a while, I don’t know how long, there’s some real life stuff I have to deal with. Guess the semester will have to start without the Principal, muahahaha. Bell can take over my portion of the work! Hope to see you guys soon!

- Rick


The youth, after sending out the email, collapses on his bed and falls asleep right away without even knowing.


* * * * *


*Di-in*

“Eh? Oh right.” A girl with black hair stops in the middle of the walkway to move into the shade of a nearby shop before taking out a palm-sized electronic. After poking at the menu a few times, she finally locates the the source of the notification. “Oh… what’s happening with Rick-ni?”

In her hands is the prototype for one of the future wireless products made by Leviathan Corp. Wireless communication is the latest, bleeding edge technology for the masses, but the researchers at the corporation already have multiple ideas to take advantage of it and to incorporate an integrated Wireless<->Wired network to increase accessibility.

While she’s checking out the email and writing one to Isabel, a youth wearing the latest fashion with dyed hair and piercings stumbles into her while holding a drink, causing him to spill it on his pants.

“The fuck is your problem, bitch? Don’t you have eyes?”

[T/N: The transliteration for the last question is “Don’t you bring your eyes while walking?” Not sure if there’s a better way to translate it while keeping that arrogant tone.]

Nyoko’s eyes narrow, with inaudible mechanical clicks chirping away from within, as she stares at the youth and his entourage.

22 comments:

  1. Yay, no more time consuming events for me to handle til at least xmas... unless I somehow end up in the US to host a thanksgiving down there, I should be safe for a month or two.

    Let's see how many of you remember why ppl are after Rick :3

    (I know, it has been so long, I am so sorry xD)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coz of his compatibility to learn those something-something techniques from that powerful yet aloof someone-someone when no one else in the game(?) is compatible? I dunno.....

      Thank you for the update, made my day :D

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    2. That's what I was gonna say.
      If it's not that then I have no idea.
      Tell me please?

      Delete
    3. Also, didn't what Pubah said apply to everyone?
      That the martial art instructors were looking for diciples through the game.

      Delete
    4. Either the martial arts thing or his magical ability to make people 100% virile by headbutting them in the nuts. *snicker*

      Delete
    5. (even if it's slightly wrong, I realize how long ago this was xD)

      Delete
    6. Those are all wrong, what they want from him is his god given "talent". Thats the only explanation for over 30 countries or so request.

      Delete
    7. The game side went and add the martial art patch with a hidden function: "They jokingly added a hidden function, that when a 99%+ compatibility occurs between the user’s data and a given school’s set of data, it will become the only option available to the user." And that user happens to be Rick. The martial art masters all consent to this and one of them even said, “If there’s such a player, I’ll drag him to become my successor even if I have to swim across an ocean of fire and cross a mountain of blades!”. I'm just assuming the masters all want him...but he's a man with many...ummm... talents? So it might be for something else lol

      Delete
    8. Let's see, he is recognized as a God, has the unexplainable ability to boost fertility, and is the head of a very well defended, much sought after magic school. These have brought him, political connections around the known world there, an army, and a ton of religious believers who actually send their prayers and faith. I can see people scrambling to learn the secrets to his success.

      Delete
  2. Oops didn't mean to do that. I'm glad this updated, I've been missing it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the chapter.

    Well that guy deserves whatever is coming.
    Assuming something bad is about to happen to him.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Are there any more real life distractions left or are you going to go back to a good pace for releases? I sure would hope for the latter! *begs for the god of fertility who's also a principal in a school for magic*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There might be some health issues I have to deal with, but the test and scans restarts next week, even if I have to end up under the knife, it would still be a while.

      Delete
  5. Wait, why are there so many organizations? I get it if the school wants him, and the game company, but more than 10 different organizations?

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  6. *overly dramatic* The long wait is over! the prophesies has arrived! The head Buttington of fertility,the saviour of a beastmen of doggy clan, *disinterested tone* ..and a certain martial artist successor.. has been recognized to fulfill his duty~

    lol.. thank you for the chapter :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. *overly dramatic* The long wait is over! the prophesies has arrived! The head Buttington of fertility,the saviour of a beastmen of doggy clan, *disinterested tone* ..and a certain martial artist successor.. has been recognized to fulfill his duty~

    lol.. thank you for the chapter :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clone: "NOOO!! you ate the real one!! oh no.. what do i do now.."

      Delete
    2. Take over the real one's life, and pretend no one saw what really happened..

      Delete

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