lacewood: (Default)
Pei Yi ([personal profile] lacewood) wrote in [community profile] toxicskyremix2004-05-15 10:33 pm

shaman king - master

For [ profile] kakoten


It is Mistress Lan who wakes him, summoning Bason from the funeral tablet he has lain sleeping in for so many years, he is almost surprised to find a woman standing before him instead of the young girl he remembers.

"Mistress." Her lips curl into a feline smile he does remember - some things have not changed after all - and she inclines her head gracefully as he kneels before her.


"The years have been kind to you; you have grown even more beautiful than I remember." He murmurs.

She chuckles. "Thank you. But you must be wondering why we have summoned you again. We would not call you lightly; not the strongest of the Tao's spirits."

"You flatter me."

"I speak but the truth. It has been many years since you have served one master, has it not?"

The spirit looks up at that to meet her shadowed eyes, startled. Raising her fan, she nods, turning in a rustle of embroidered brocade.


Bason follows her through labyrinth halls until they reach a galley overlooking a large, empty room. They are the last to arrive; Master En and a young girl shadowed by a zombie are already there.

"Jun, my daughter." Mistress Lan tells him as she gestures at the girl with her fan; the girl does not choose to acknowledge her mother's arrival. Bason thinks this rude, but then he sees her knuckles clenched white around the banister beneath her hands...

Tracing the girl's fixed stare, he looks down into the room below. Not so empty after all. A small boy stands in its centre, holding a glaive much too large for him - it seems several times his height. He does not look at the people watching him from above, only stares straight ahead, hands holding his weapon before him.

"My son. Tao Ren."

And Bason understands why he has been summoned again after so long.

The audience gathered, Master En gestures abruptly at the arena below. With a crash, doors are thrown open and three zombies file silently into the room to stand in a straight row before the boy.

Against his will, Bason finds himself thinking that Tao Ren looks very, very young - and the zombies attack.

They attack together, movements swift and perfectly coordinated, but the boy steps forward, the blade of his weapon flashing in a sweeping arc - the first zombie falls, neatly sliced in two. He brings his glaive around swiftly to meet a fist, drives the second zombie back even as the third strikes, sword drawing a thin line of blood along the boy's left arm.

Spinning to meet the third, he slashes - the offending arm falls, sword clattering on the floor and the second blow scythes the zombie's legs out from under him so that he falls to the ground, helpless. Driving the blunt end of his glaive back, it slams through the zombie behind him in a spray of blood.

The boy draws his weapon back, then carefully turns to finally behead the still twitching zombie before it can get up again.

He draws a long, ragged breath, and it is the only sound in the room. Then his glaive hits the ground with a clang - Bason winces to see good weaponry so abused - and without a word, without having once looked up at his watching family, he leaves.

Out of the corner of his eye, Bason sees Miss Jun lean over to rest her head on her clenched hands, then slowly pry them loose. She barely excuses herself before leaving, the sound of her steps echoing loud and angry behind her.

Mistress Lan lowers her fan and says, to no one in particular, "Very well done." Turning very slightly to Bason, her eyebrows rise. "Does he pass?"

Bason must still himself before he feels ready to answer. Bowing deeply, something in his voice still trembles. Does he pass, they ask him?

"You honour me."

Master En grunts something that might almost be approval, as Mistress Lan laughs. Bason smiles too, for he has seen power and strength in the boy. And in the five centuries he has served the Taos through life and death, he has found no worthier master.


August 2003