Bleach Fan Fiction / One Piece Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Styx ( Chapter 14 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Kankuro
Charon took me out in silence. Before long I couldn’t see either shoreline.

“Now… Your payment.” I tentatively grabbed my scrolls.

“You want my life right?”

“You are correct. No living being may cross these waters. Please, put down those weapons. Should you kill me the next being to pick up my oar will take my place. So you will be stuck in this boat either way.” I hesitated, thinking.

“Well. I might have to take that risk.” I said, summoning Crow.

“You will fail.” He made a gentle sweeping motion with the oar and Crow collapsed. “Those puppets cannot touch this; only a living creature could.” I checked over Crow swiftly after I realized Charon was not going to strike. There wasn’t a lot of damage, but my chakra threads weren’t connecting. After a quick return, I considered my options.

“You cannot take something else as my payment?”

“Not from you. No a holy payment would be required to allow you to pass.”

“And there is no other way down?”

“Not for you and your group.” I sat back and he chuckled. “Take your time, enjoy it.” I sat for a long time pondering, watching the murky waters below race past.

“What’s in there?” I asked.

“A tincture of souls.”

“What?”

“Soul energy, Death. It is what powers the Solarus, it is the Master’s greatest weapon. It gathers here naturally, and the Master takes advantage of that. Most have lost sense of self, but occasionally you can see one still clinging to its mind.”

“Would a Solarus be able to use that oar?” I asked. He looked at me, his bony fingers thrumming along the wooden oar.

“Yes.” I couldn’t help but smile.

“Do I absolutely have to kill you to take that oar?”

“Yes.”

“Will you fight?” He laughed and stood slowly.

“I sincerely doubt I would pose much of a threat. I take it you are going to sacrifice yourself to allow your companions safe passage?” I shook my head and summoned my strongest puppet; Scorpion.

“No. I will sacrifice him.” Charon just held his oar out and waited. I watched the waters carefully, and soon saw a ghostly visage speeding down. With a thought I had Scorpion grab at it, pulling it into the boat. Then almost as quickly I had the puppet begin to pack the wailing soul into the little compartment where there had once been a human heart.

The puppet, its task complete, stood there. Its eyes were now shifting slightly, contemplatively. Before it could gain full consciousness I had the puppet pull the oar from Charon. The ancient being was smiling as he collapsed into the stream.

After getting to the far bank I reinforced the strings so they could travel a much further distance and sent the boat back to the others. Before too long we had all gathered and I cut my strings, allowing the puppet and the boat to return to their duties. Behind us was a large stairway.

As we descended a new landscape sprawled out before us. At a distance it looked like an odd mix of a junkyard and an assembly line, with massive machines clogging the horizon and due to the poor lighting they cast dangerous shadows on the ground.

“Rangiku!” I turned to Toshiro and then looked in the direction he was looking, there was a small group of seven people traveling near the stairs I could see Kakashi among them. They spotted us as well and soon we were reunited. Among them were Yamcha, Nami, Nabiki, Rouge and Ukyo.

Sakura
We somehow survived our fall, and after a few extra bandages, we were moving again. However our progress had slowed to a crawl as we now had many more people and resembled more of a mob than a group. With a little organizational effort we managed to get people moving in pairs of two, which seemed the most effective; especially after we put Luffy in the middle and Ryoga in the back. Neji and Naruto were heading the party and we moved steadily through the maze of machines.

There’s a lot of weaponry here…” Mousse said from behind me. “It seems like most of these machines are making those guns for the Solarus. However there are others.” He quickly grabbed something as he passed, and examined it before putting it back.

We could deal a major blow if we destroyed these machines.” Soifun pointed out.

I’m not sure about that, these things run out to the horizon and many of them are defunct. We would just be wasting our energy.” Trunks pointed out.

Well something needs to happen soon, ’cause this is boring!” Luffy complained, and as if in response the machines began to move of their own accord.

Luffy!” Sanji yelled, bopping him.

Whoa! Look at them go!” He was already entranced even as gun barrels slowly slotted out of multiple fixtures.

Everyone! Defensive position, get the civilians to the center!” I yelled quickly as the line collapsed in on itself. Orihime quickly threw up a large barrier protecting us from the first barrage while our toughest fighters began lining the outer rim of the makeshift circle we had formed. Naruto and Soifun quickly agreed to a strategy and moved through the ranks, shifting people to form some sort of defensive circle. None too soon as Orihime suddenly fell from the center of the group, vanishing into a pit and the larger barrier fell.
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The Healing War