Letting his movements guide the next, Azura trained in the courtyard of an ancient monastery. Repeating the training that is now stored in the back of his mind, he looked like a dancer going through his routine.
Azura had no special interest in using his craft. He was there to follow the journey to obtain the perfect body. This was not the first training camp where he has lived in the last fifteen years. In fact, Azura couldn’t remember the times before he started training.
He was just a kid when his first mentor discovered him. Seeing the grace of his training was quite a spectacle. Today he was alone. Strange. However, Azura paid little attention to the details and continued with his daily routine.
Twirling and jumping while swinging his toned arms. Kicking and screaming to keep up with his breathing. Letting the rays of the morning sun bathe his naked torso.
There was an unusual feeling around him. There was no way to know for sure. But he trusted his instinct… walking slowly towards the armory. There, he grabbed a katana and waited.
Eventually. A couple of men appeared. They wore black kimonos and had their faces covered. “Azura,” said one of them, “we have come for you!”
Azura expected such a visit after humiliating the locals in their last tournament. “What do you want?” he asked, holding the sheathed katana in one hand.
“It’s about time someone taught you a lesson.”
Azura noticed that the men carried weapons… This was not a friendly visit. They intended to do him mortal harm, but he couldn’t be sure.
“You will soon have a chance to show your skill in the next tournament,” Azura said.
“There will be no more tournaments for you,” said the masked man and drew his katana.
Azura dodged a metal star that was thrown at him from the ceiling. “This intrusion will cost your lives,” he said and drew his katana.
Four more masked men appeared.
Azura couldn’t wait for them to band together and attack. He leapt down the stairs from the armory and landed his sword first on one of the masked men, and heard the clash of steel. Then, he turned to the side and sliced the skin off the other man’s arm.
Azuna stopped, found his position, and raised his sword to block an attack. Then, after filling his lungs with air, he jumped up and pushed the attacker with both legs, spreading his body and contracting it just in time to land on his feet.
One of the men leapt from the side, while another brandished his sword at Azura. The only way out from them was to block the attack, leaving his side unprotected. He pushed forward to evade both attackers and took cover with his sword.
He found himself in the middle of four attackers, two of whom were already brandishing their swords. Azura blocked one of their attacks as he spun and kicked his other opponent’s feet.
He back flipped to get away from the group. “This is not going to end well,” Azura said and swung his katana to deflect another metal star thrown from the roof of one of the houses. “Help your friend! He’s losing a lot of blood.”
The five masked men ignored their bleeding partner on the ground and continued.
Azura concentrated on his breathing and waited for them to approach in front of him. He grabbed the swinging hand of the first attacker and turned to strike his head with an elbow. Then, he brandished his sword to cut the skin from the hand of the next two opponents.
A metal star passed Azura, landing on the back of the masked man who was regaining his senses after elbowing his head. Only one of them continued to hold a sword. Azura faked a swing and noticed his clumsy defense, and continued his movement to give his leg more strength and jumped up kicking him in the jaw.
Azura dodged another metal star. Then, he raised his hand and pointed at the masked man on the ceiling, but was unable to find him. After a short while, a red kimono appeared on the courtyard. He was also wearing a mask.
“Bravo,” said the man in the red kimono, and took off his mask. “Rumors do you justice. You are quite competent. I am Broken Moon, the master of this land.”
Azura looked up but couldn’t find the man on the ceiling.
“Don’t worry,” Broken Moon said. “That was just a test to see if you are a worthy opponent.”
Azura raised his katana, while Broken Moon unsheathed his.
“Let’s see how good you are,” Broken Moon said and attacked.
Azura dodged the downward movement of the blade, attacked with his own, and heard the impact of the blades. They both continued with the dance, blocking their attacks. Moving around the courtyard and demonstrating their mastery of armed combat.
The balance of the fight left no margin for error, even the slightest mistake could cost them their lives.
Azura breathed heavily, while his opponent didn’t give him time to rest. Broken Moon walked carefully after each swing to get the proper posture to attack. The fight was taking its toll on Azura’s body, but the man in the red kimono didn’t seem bothered by the nonstoping attacks.
Broken Moon controlled his breathing and maintained his speed to prolong the fight. His strength had always resided in his stamina, allowing him to outlast his opponents.
He’s not stopping, Azura thought. I’m going to…I have to stop this fight.
Broken Moon saw a flash of blue in Azura’s eyes, and leaped back to see the bare-chested fighter’s skin glow.
Azura dropped his katana and dragged a foot back, as a blue light formed between his hands.
Broken Moon stood upright holding his sword in front of him.
Azura pushed the energy with the palms of his hands towards his opponent. His eyes glowed blue, and the face of a dragon of the same color appeared around him.
Broken Moon saw Azura turn into the head of a dragon, and saw the glowing blue creature open its mouth. Flame was thrown out of its mouth.
Azura kept his arms straight as he felt the energy pouring out of his palms. He saw his opponent covered in blue flames and held his position for as long as he could.
As soon as the fire was exhausted, Azura spread his arms at his sides and gathered energy with his palms. He lifted his arms and a blue energy ball floated on top of his head. Then, he lowered his arms guiding the energy over his body.
Broken Moon appeared as the smoke cleared, he was unharmed and surrounded by a red aura. “Legend does you justice, blue dragon,” he said. “I will not allow you to wreak havoc on my land.”
Azura saw his opponent’s sword glow red and grabbed his katana from the ground. “What are you?”
Broken Moon ignored the question and attacked. Azura saw the swing coming, locked his blade with his opponent’s, as he focused the energy on his free hand. Then, the face of the dragon appeared on his arm and the flame came out of his hand.
Azura burned the side of Broken Moon’s kimono, heard the whistle of the wind, and stopped to dodge the metal star.
Broken Moon glowed red and pushed Azura back with the surrounding energy field. “I’ll be back for you,” he said, and a smoking bomb exploded next to them.
By the time Azura could see, the masked men had disappeared.