KnM Blade - In Destiny's Way

Kixi Rajki, a professional high speed racer, is a seemingly average citizen of the United Systems of Sol in the 31st century. Going by the alias of Kay Blade, she is also a secret agent for an underground resistance cell intent on bringing down the powerful freedom restricting government. Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, alias eM Blade, and Kixi's lover, recently trained up as an agent, is also an expert computer slicer and hacker in her own right. She must accompany Kixi on what will be her first mission, and with all certainty, an extremely dangerous mission. Choosing arrest in order to save her lover, the two narrowly escape death, and consequently trigger in motion an unprecedented course of events. Unwittingly, her actions will forever change the balance of power, and with it the face of humanity as a space faring species.

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http://www.kixi-rajki.com/full-outline-of-storyline

http://www.kixi-rajki.com/the-k3k-universe-in-detail

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26. One thing leads to another - Part 2 : Presenting the apprentice.

Chapter 21 : One thing leads to another - Part 2 : Presenting the apprentice.

 

Two days later on Vocheuhiri, Venus. Earth date CE 3016-07-21.

 

I raised my hands and allowed the practice X Plasma sabre like weapon to split apart in the air. The stabilising grid and small crystal floated in front of my eyes. I slowly knelt down to allow my apprentice, to see separated pieces of the X-Plasma Blade weapon.

“The kyber crystal directs the power of the blade into a loop, but every part plays a role in the proper functioning. Just like the elite warrior that wields such a weapon." I flicked my ring finger upwards, and a round component jumped above the rest of the pieces. "The stabilising ring is cracked, you see? It's why the blade keeps sputtering.”

I lowered the ring, and Paige Langley took the piece, rolling it in her hands. I smiled and watched as she then examined the ring.

I closed my hands together, and the X Plasma weapon reassembled without the ring. I pressed my thumb down, and the green blade hummed erratically as it shuddered and spit. The hilt quickly grew hot in my hands, and I deactivated the blade before it could burst. "Every part is important. Every agent or warrior – everyone – is important. It's our job to bring the current tyrannical government down, along with the mega corporation that supports it, Skycom, to restore freedom to our society."

I set the broken sabre on the bench beside me and glanced up at my younger apprentice. "In time you will fully learn how to properly build your own weapon."

I then looked away from her, took several steps forward and observed the shomen area of the dojo, which strangely enough seemed a small distance away, even though it wasn't.

I blinked and shook my head slightly as I turned back to Paige. "We'll get this sabre fixed soon, but this leaves us with only one practice sabre. Why don't we try using our telekinetic skills for the rest of the morning?"

Paige nodded eagerly, and I took the broken sabre as I stood. "Try to lift the bench."

Her hands rose, and her face scrunched up as she stared at the bench. I could sense Paige's invisible grip wrap jerkily around the bench, yet she didn't have the individual strength to move the small bench. I smiled softly and raised an eyebrow, keeping my voice gentle as I spoke. "Concentrate... feel the Ki energy envelope you... then expand it towards the bench enveloping that, so that you can join yourself to the bench through Ki."

Paige glanced at me before staring at the bench with renewed focus. The thin stone wobbled slightly. I nodded encouragingly, but in the end, the bench clattered against the hard flooring.

“Um... don't worry too much. I wasn't aware of my ability in being able to use telekinesis until not so long ago. Now look at me, I'm practically a master at it. It's evident enough that you possess the gift for it. Give it time and you'll master it soon enough." My familiar hand pressed against her upper back, and my eyes rested on her, as she gazed back at my form in awe. "I actually discovered my talent in the use of telekinesis, when your late mother had both Mako and I imprisoned, and then thrown into the gladiatorial arena. The more my feelings of hatred for her passed through me, the greater I found my telekinesis abilities to be. Even with her dead now, all I have to do is think of my hatred towards her and voilà, I can do almost anything. Since you hated her too, perhaps during your next telekinesis exercise, channel your thoughts of hatred for Cerberus in your mind, and see if it helps.”

"Really Kixi? Wow, I'm definitely gonna try that next time. After all I killed the fucking whore with my own hands." Paige said rather impressed at the idea of having herself relive the brutal assassination of her hated mother, Cerberus, by her hand, and use it to assist her immensely with her telekinetic abilities.

"Excellent," I said approvingly. "And now, lets evaluate your actual skills in using a sword Paige. This I expect you to excel in. Would you care to spar in a match with me?" I asked cunningly.

Paige grinned at me as she nodded, not taking her eyes off me. I took the sabre-staff that was attached to my back from my back, holding its weight carefully in my hands. "I will use this weapon, you will use your live single bladed X Plasma Blade."

I did not allow the blades to activate as I swept the metal in a quick motion at Paige. My apprentice leaned back to avoid the blunt end of the staff and took several steps away, her body immediately tensing at the sudden attack. I grinned and followed her across the space, bringing my staff toward her arm as she reached for the other hilt that she already had at her belt. Paige twisted and turned in a full circle, and I heard the hum of her X Plasma Blade as it unsheathed.

My short purple blades clashed with her blue one, as Paige swung her sabre toward my still healing side leg that had not yet fully healed from fight with Kashia ke Hanadi. We sparked against each other while my apprentice pressed her weight against our locked blades. I ducked down and darted around Paige, knowing from experience, that because of not yet being fully recovered from the fight with ke Hanadi— the occurrence of that unfortunate encounter actually oblivious to my apprentice, that in this instance, her strength being superior to mine, would wear me down if she forced me to defend against her attacks.

Paige stepped away to avoid my blade toward her back, and my younger apprentice charged toward me, the plasma based sword weapon spinning in her right hand before she swung at my left arm. We began exchanging a flurry of blows that sent vibrations up my arms each time our sabres collided. I tried multiple times to dance away from her sabre, but a highly motivated Paige Langley managed to block each attempt.

"Master, I'm not sure if it's just my imagination, but... you appear as if you are carrying some sort of injury?" Paige carefully asked, sensing something not quite there with me.

"What makes you ask or think that could be so Paige?" I responded not yet giving anything away.

“Well given that I'm at the moment able to overpower you a lot easier than usual. Um... I'm also quite confident in knowing that I could not have gained so much in strength, power and skills in such little time Master. Oh and your leg's been severely busted, I can tell.”

"Oh yes the leg. I've fucked that same leg up before in a high speed car accident... but you've observed well, it wasn't stuffed before. Anyway I got hurt in another unfortunate accident and am still in recovery mode. I'll be fine, thanks for your observation and asking, however little Miss Langley, I don't recall you having won this duel yet either." I said deliberately dodging the question, as I didn't want my apprentice knowing that, not only had I lost in the fight against ke Hanadi, but in fact had gotten my arse handed to me quite badly.

Back to the sparring fight we were currently engaged in. Despite me being her actual master, we rarely sparred since for the majority of time, I was out in the field, or living my life as an F-Zero driver, that others who had been assigned in teaching her, had spent the majority of time in training her. As a consequence of not training with her in particular, I had started to forget how difficult it was for either to gain the upper hand. Like it or not – that being in reference to my fiancée Mako, both Paige and I shared a unique bond when it came down to fighting as a team. It gave us each the advantage of sensing the other's intended moves, not to mention we knew each other's fighting styles too well. We could very well tire before either of us could win. Paige was a natural and thought and fought the same as I did. For Mako on the other hand, it did not come to her as natural, and her overall mentality was different to mine, resulting in a weaker bond between us as far as combative skills were concerned.

My staff darted out and caught her blade again, and I brought the opposite end up. We stood too close for my blade to hit her – which neither of us wanted anyway – but the fist that clutched the staff slammed into Paige's side.

My apprentice hissed, and her free hand jerked forward. I stumbled backwards, and a gasp escaped my lips as I lost my footing and crashed against the hard flooring. My staff clattered to the ground next to me. Paige advanced slowly, holding her sabre loosely in her hand. I pulled my staff into my hand using telekinesis and swept it against the back of Paige's knees.

Her smaller form hit the ground heavily next to me, and a breathless laugh expelled from her throat. I scrambled to my feet and felt a smirk pull at my lips as I looked down at Paige. I started to raise my staff to her neck to proclaim myself the victor, when a slow clap echoed through the training space.

I turned, and my blue eyes narrowed toward the two large figures looming before us, who stood in the shadow of the light behind us.

I held out my hand, and I gripped Paige's wrist as she took it to pull herself to her feet. Her X Plasma Blade hilt gave a soft click as she placed it at her belt, and we walked toward the two men as one. My voice strained slightly as I tried to keep my tone light. "Braj'tec... Zasalamel. What do we owe this pleasure?"

Braj'tec who had clapped, a large strong sturdy more senior man, who's age and experience was evident by the whiteness of his hair and the scars across his face and body, raked his eyes over Paige slowly. His gaze rested on my apprentice's arm, where her sleeve clung to her biceps. I felt a strange emotion burn in my stomach that I realised was jealousy. I tried hard to deny my feelings for Paige, despite her not ever shying away from me. Although the thought was silly. Most certainly a man the age of Braj'tec would not be interested in a young girl such as Paige— and he wasn't. I simply realised that after spending some time with my younger apprentice, just how much of an urge I had to want to fuck her, and fuck her hard. And the feelings were mutual, that much I sensed already. I wanted her badly, but built up the courage to resist her temptation. I had to, I was engaged to Mako...

"Impressive fighting, Paige." The large grey haired man cleared his throat and tore his gaze away from Paige's form as he took a datapad from his companion. The other man, an even larger man, who was bald and had much darker skin, whom I'd immediately recognised as Zasalamel, watched Paige carefully with tight lips, and his eyes kept darting to the hilt of her weapon at the belt of the youngest daughter of the ex Skysec leader, Cerberus.

Paige inclined her head and clasped her hands behind her back, her stance loose. I sensed she was trying to convey that she meant no harm. "Thank you, sir. Nobody informed me that you would be observing a session today."

"I am Braj'tec Qarr, and he is Zasalamel. We are the two most experienced members on the Arjian Council in which you will be presented to tomorrow. The grey haired man's eyes mapped Paige's face for a moment, and she ran a hand through her hair as a twinge of unease shot through our bond.

"I'm pleased to finally meet you both." Paige responded, nodding in respect. "My master has told me many great things about you both.

“Oh has she," Braj'tec said raising an eyebrow. "Your master should be resting as she has not yet fully recovered from her encounter with Kashia ke Hanadi." The older man turned towards me producing a disapproving facial expression. "You're eagerness to train Kixi is admirable, however your injuries were quite severe. If you do not take the proper rest as prescribed by Dr. Bela, your recover time will be hindered.”

I nodded slowly in acceptance of his advice, not like I would dare argue with his authority either, but I could sense Paige's curiosity level sudden rise a notch. Keeping my eye on Braj'tec to avoid glancing at my apprentice, I already knew that she would demand the truth regarding my injuries later, something that embarrassingly I would end up telling her about – all of it.

Braj'tec handed me the datapad. "The Council will be conducting a full review on the progress and abilities of your apprentice."

Paige watched my body tense as my eyes flicked over the words on the datapad. "And an inquiry… into Paige Langley, daughter of Emilia Langley ex head of Skysec."

Zasalamel finally spoke up, and I could tell he forced his voice low to sound intimidating even as he already stood several inches taller than me. "There are indications from several reliable sources that you, Kixi, brought your apprentice along with your now fiancée to this facility's training dojo during the later hours of the night for reasons other than training. This supposedly occurred around two months ago where you engaged in unauthorised activities— sexual in nature, thus completely ignoring this dojo's etiquette, which are very much on par with etiquette in your own dojo, meaning a total disregard and disrespect to the values and morals of why this dojo exists.

My hand tightened around the datapad as Paige scoffed incredulously. "Who are these sources? When exactly did this supposedly occur?"

Zasalamel smiled wanly at me. The source is irrelevant, and the date was the day before you clinched the F-Zero System Title— when you snuk over from Earth to here on Venus behind Jarvis' back, so you could engage in your mischievous activities with your apprentice."

Paige's own ire mirrored mine, and she found she could not find the words to argue. She gaped at the two veteran warriors and even before she could say something, Zasalamel added, as if he had read Paige's thoughts, "You'll understand if we do not believe your words to defend your master, Paige Langley."

Zasalamel looked back at me as if she were a child proclaiming she was a princess, while Braj'tec also returned his focus back to me.

I hesitated for a long moment. "I'm sure we will examine it most carefully during tomorrow's meeting."

Braj'tec took the datapad back from me before my tight hold could crack the screen. "Good day, Miss Rajki and to you too Miss Langley. We'll indeed see the both of you tomorrow to evaluate your training progress so far." He said momentarily shifting his gaze toward Paige. Then focusing his gaze solely back on me, the disappointment wrinkle on his rough scarred skin said it all in that brief second. "And your role in the inappropriate incident that occurred in this very dojo."

The two men turned and swept toward the dojo's door, and Paige grabbed my shoulder to prevent me from acting on the impulse she could sense through our bond as master and student. She moved in front of me and gripped my upper arms. "Don't worry Kixi, I'll take full responsibility for this, after all I was the one to have invited you here in the first place that day."

“No Paige, you won't do that.”

“Why?”

“For two reasons. For one you haven't fully been accepted by Arjian yet and this could hinder that in a big way, and secondly, fucking and making out in the dojo was my idea and solely mine." Before Paige could object, I quickly added, "Yes I know only Mako hesitated and you were all in on the idea, but it was still my idea, and as your master I cannot not take accountability and blame you.”

“But Kixi—”

"My decision is final, and we shall not discuss this matter further until tomorrow when the Council brings it up." I said raising the palm of my hand up at her.

Paige looked a little disappointed but it was for her own best interests. I at worst would get a reprimand and a lenient punishment. Paige on the other hand could get kicked out altogether, especially seeing that she was the daughter of one of our prime enemies, who might now be dead, but her elder sister who now headed Skysec most certainly had sought to avenge the death of their late mother Cerberus, who ironically was killed at the hands of Paige herself. Despite the latter being the only reason why Paige was permitted here at all, I wasn't prepared to take any chances, thus why my reasoning was far from illogical on this occasion.

Paige pressed her lips to mine, and she tasted the coffee I drank most mornings as I kissed her back. I leaned my forehead against hers for a moment before I immediately backed off. "I seemed to remember that I have a fiancée Miss Langley." She looked at me, a tinge of disappointment evident across her face. It was clear she wanted me badly, and that I would try ever so hard to resist. However she would not give up knowing all to well that in the end, if she kept trying, that I was far to weak to continue to resist and would ultimately give in. It was my ultimate weakness and she would exploit it. My hand found the hilt of my own X Plasma Blade on my belt. "Now that we've truly warmed up, and our intruders have left, let's put all of our fighting styles together, and see who can get the better of one another?" I concluded and grinned eagerly.

 

The next morning, Earth date : CE 3016-07-22.


The next morning, I headed for Paige's now familiar quarters. I knew that Paige would be ready at the precise time she had been told. Paige might push the rules, but she knew when to toe the line.

Paige was waiting outside her door in a fresh pair of shorts, short sleeve shirt and brown mid length boots. Her face was bright with eagerness in the dim light next to where she stood.

Paige swung into step beside me. I had known from the word go, that Paige would excel as an agent— as an elite warrior in general. Today would be her first formal introduction to our leader of the Arjian Resistance, Jarvis, who would be accompanied by other familiar faces on our council panel. Paige had— as expected, excelled in her training. There was however, the one thing that would no doubt taunt her— in that she was still the younger daughter of the now late Cerberus. By now I was certain beyond any doubt, that her allegiance lay solely within our cause, although admittedly, I did have other concerns that did cast some shadow of a doubt— and that had nothing to do with her allegiances either. Instead it was rather something personal between just the two of us, her desire to win my heart and court me, knowing all too well that I immensely loved another... In her knowledge in my being extremely vulnerable in this area, given the opportunity, and without a second thought, Paige would pounce at any chance she had by being heedful of the situation.

Putting all that aside, I was also glad that Paige had an independent spirit. It would serve her well as an agent and warrior in the years to come. What my apprentice needed was training in cooperation and dedication to the greater good, upheld by our Resistance Cell. She did not know how to suppress her own needs and desires in order to serve. Yet how does one teach loyalty and self-sacrifice, I quietly wondered to myself. Was it something that could be taught?

'The mission teaches when I cannot.' Braj'tec Qarr's words again. I too was once a student, and the man who yesterday was inquisitively investigating allegations of my misconduct of inappropriateness at this facility's dojo, had once been my master and mentor. I had come to realise that in addition to preparing me to become an elite warrior and agent on the field, Braj'tec had prepared me to be a master as well. He had often let me in on his thought processes, even on his own struggles to be a good master. Braj'tec's advice often rose in my mind, centring and calming me, much as Braj'tec himself often would do. It's a pity that I had let him down, as I did so many others with my devil may care attitude.

"You are thinking of Braj'tec Qarr." Paige's voice was soft.

Startled, I turned to my apprentice. "How did you know?"

“Your face. It changes." Paige shrugged. "Sorry knot inside you loosens. Something smooths out. I see it happening.”

"Stop being so perceptive," I chided gently.

“Now you are not thinking of him at all," Paige replied, mischief in her eyes. "The knot is back.”

"And you have tied it," I answered sarcastically, accessing the Council room door, which then hissed open, and we strode right in.

Vocheuhiri on Venus. This, the second largest Arjian base after that in Celestia City on Earth. While the headquarters in Celestia City also known as HQ Prime were well hidden and deep within Jak Zed's auto shop— by far the largest auto shop of its kind in all of Celestia City, which consequently had Skycom as their largest client, the setup surrounding that in Vocheuhiri was similar, despite being contrastingly different on the outside. In the case of the facility in Vocheuhiri, also known as HQ2, the well hidden Arjian base existed within a large touristic hotel and appartment complex.

The council room, accessible by a hidden shaft containing unusual twists and turns, ran deep below the ground surface. Despite it being the case, the hidden underground fortress was quite large in structure, and did contain several other emergency exit points. In its central portion of the well designed complex, dominated the room in question.

The Council itself was in session, its doors closed, its proceedings hidden from the eyes and ears of all but ten people. Eight of them— comprised the Council, a diverse and seasoned group who had gravitated to the order from all ends of the USS and the Sajnen Confederate respectively. The final two agents, who were guests of the Council this morning, were both my apprentice Paige Langley and me.

The seats of the eight Council members formed a circle facing inward to where I stood along with Paige, with I the former, relating the progress of the latter's intense training, who stood a step behind me, her master, listening attentively.

The room was circular and domed, supported by graceful pillars spaced between broad icons, representing moments in humanity's triumph and glory over the forces of tyranny throughout the millennia of recorded history. The shape of the room and the Council seating reflected the Arjian organisation's belief in the equality of and interconnection between all things.

I studied the faces of my listeners as I spoke, each of them familiar to me. Most were elite agents and warriors like myself, among them Braj'tec and Zasalamel, seniors in rank among those seated. A familiar face, Miyuki also sat on the Council, recently invited to join and rise amongst the ranks. She smiled at me warmly, but it was more than obvious that she did not share the same sentiment towards my apprentice. Miyuki and Mako were like sisters from a different mother so to speak. With Paige's attempts on advancing on me having been made more than obvious on more than one occasion now, the friction between my fiancée and apprentice would only intensify. Such was only one example. Due to my obliviousness in not being able to unravel my apprentice's overall intents, Miyuki would play the big sister role for the younger Mako, looking out for her, where I failed. However not even she, nor anyone else for that matter would be capable of seeing through Paige's deceitful intents for as far as my fiancée was concerned— to ultimately eliminate Mako and have me marry her.

Uma Sumalu the second in command of the Resistance after Jarvis who was also in charge of all proceedings and matters at HQ2 in the usual event of Jarvis's absence— almost, as the older tall dark skinned man known as both Jak Zed and Jarvis, sat tall to Uma's right.

I stood apart in the mosaic circle that formed a speaker's platform for those who addressed the Council, my slender form and voice that lacked no conviction, commanded the attention of those gathered, my blue eyes fixing them each in turn, constantly searching for a reaction to my words. They watched me carefully - stately Braj'tec Qarr, the young and beautiful Miyuki Kazama, the huge Zasalamel Xiz’te’menel, the short but stunningly looking olive skinned and of Asian ethnicity Uma Sumalu, and all the others including the our leader Jarvis, each different and unique in appearance, each with something vital to offer as a representative of the Council.

I brought my eyes back to Jarvis and Uma, the ones I had to convince, the ones most respected and powerful of those who sat in judgement.

"My conclusion," I finished quietly, my story or report completed, "is that Paige Langley has proven herself and adapt to join our ranks. I wish to include her to my team of KnM Blade, as an additional member who will use the alias name of Asuka Blade." Upon making the announcement, and despite remaining subtle, I couldn't help but notice Miyuki's reaction. She would object to the idea of further having Asuka— Paige on my team, and alongside Mako.

Jarvis gave a short bow to me, immediately inviting Paige to take a step forward in which I in turn took a step back, bowing to him simultaneously. The red headed, slender Paige, who's lively eyes, dominated her overall expression, respectively bowed to Jarvis and then to Uma, the latter her already having been introduced to on her arrival at Gamma Delta IV months prior.

"It's a pleasure to finally being able to meet and speak to you in person Paige. Your master has only ever spoken highly of you. As part of your introduction, I have some brief questions I would like to ask you." Jarvis said hiding his smile.

Paige Langley faced the eight member Arjian Council, standing in the same spot I had stood some seconds earlier. She was nervous at first, having been brought into the chamber by me, then as I had taken a step back, with all eyes now solely focused on her, it was almost as if I had left her alone with the eight members of the Council. Standing in the mosaic circle and ringed by the silent assemblage, awestruck and uncertain of what was expected of her, I could most certainly feel it in her, that she felt vulnerable and exposed. Yet I could no longer intervene at any point, not until I were spoken to. To my apprentice, despite me physically being there, it would feel as if I were there no longer— like I had suddenly become an invisible ghost.

The eyes of the Council members were distant as they viewed her, but she sensed they were looking not past her, but inside. They began to question her then, without preliminary introductions or explanations, without expending any effort at all to make her feel comfortable or welcome. With the exception of Uma Sumalu in which she was already acquainted with, she knew some of them by name, for I had either described a few, or she had briefly met some not too long ago, thus she was quick to put faces to names. They questioned her at great length, testing memory and knowledge, seeking insights at which she could only guess. They knew of her existence as the youngest daughter of the late merciless Emilia Langley, better known as Cerberus. They knew of her background in Celestia City, and of her opposing views and hatred toward her mother, and her relationship with me beyond that of being her master and friend, of everything factual and past, of the order of her life.

Now Jarvis was looking straight at her, fixing his deep-set eyes on her, intent behind their lids. "How do you feel?"

"Cold, sir," Paige confessed.

“Are you afraid?”

The girl shook her head. "No, sir."
"Afraid that you have given up your privileged life, leading from guilt and regret that you killed your mother?" the dark skinned leader Jarvis asked, leaning forward slightly.

"I don't think so," she answered, then hesitated. Something about the answer didn't feel right.

Uma blinked and she raised both eyebrows. "We can see through you by understanding your feelings through the way your body reacts to our questions, and by the way you speak," she added in quietly.

“Be mindful of your feelings," Jarvis said stroking his chin. "Your thoughts dwell on your mother.”

Paige felt her stomach lurch at his directly mentioning of how she possibly may have felt about her mother. She bit her lip and scrunched her forehead.

“I hated her!”

Jarvis exchanged glances with several others on the Council. "Afraid to live with the fact that you murdered her, I think."

Paige flushed. "How can you possibly know how I feel about my actions in having killed her?" She asked defensively.

Jarvis' deep-set eyes fixed on her. "Because it's the natural reaction. No one has the right to take away the life of another, but sometimes we are forced to do so during times of oppression and war. Yet for those who don't indulge themselves in hurting others— which are the vast majority of people, then there will be always some form of regret in having to terminate the life of another, no matter who it is or how much one hates them."

"I am not afraid! Nor do I regret my decision in killing her with my own hands. I most certainly agree with your logic that no one has the right to take away the life of another, yet my mother was a tyrant who would have had the lot of us here executed in a heartbeat if ever have been given the chance. She had so many other innocents killed, and I was forced to watch every time, including the execution at the arena of both my Master and Mako in which they were both lucky to have escaped. Paige snapped irritably, anxious to leave this discussion and move on.

"Yes indeed, in some circumstances, there are exceptions to that logic, and you were not wrong in carrying out her eventual execution. However we are all human with morals. Unless we were tyrants too, we would feel nothing when we are forced to end the lives of others. To some degree, you still felt some regret in having to end your mother's life, despite your utter most hatred for her. This my young one, is an extremely important aspect. You might be the daughter of a tyrant, but indeed you are not one yourself" Jarvis concluded nodding his approval before resuming his seat.

Paige took a deep breath and let it out slowly. When she spoke, her voice was calm again. "I understand sir."

Jarvis studied her a moment. "Good. Then we will continue," he said softly, and the examination resumed, while I continued to stand silently behind my apprentice for some time longer, and almost as if being non existent.

Thirty minutes passed before the Council members had finally finished with their flurry of questions. Paige, during that entire period had remained in the same spot in which she stood. However by the end of it, or by the time Jarvis motioned me with a simple hand gesture to step forward, my apprentice, to whom I then resumed my stance to her left side, had bitten her lip. She'd suddenly become interested in a small crack on the floor, fiddling with her bracelet while having both her hands behind her back, scuffing a brown boot on the tiles, wondering distractedly, feeling tense and awkward. She was immediately greeted by a sense of relief, upon momentarily feeling the soft gentle touch of my hand tap her shoulder, knowing once again that I, her master was there to support her, somewhat alleviating her sense of awkwardness, and replacing it with a tinge of confidence.

Side by side now, both Paige Langley and I continued to stand before the Council of eight. Clustered together at the centre of the speaker's platform, we faced the circle of chairs in which the members of the Council were seated, and awaited their decision on Paige.

Waiting, a heavy silence settled over us, thicker then the uneasy tension in the atmosphere. Unsettled eyes glanced unceremoniously around both my apprentice and I, and we tried to avoid catching glances of any of the eight members— and in my case I especially avoided looking in Miyuki's direction. They shifted uncomfortably in their seats, whilst we the former grasped our sweaty nervous hands behind our backs, awkwardly tracing the outlines of each surrounding pillar as we stared in silence. Whispers swirled in the air around the small space, brief exchanges of words that sounded muffled to us, despite being in a relatively close proximity of the Council members as they decided the fate of my apprentice, which ultimately rested upon none other than Jarvis himself.

"We are finished with our examination of your young apprentice Miss Rajki," Jarvis advised in his rough heavy voice, his eyes once again deep-set and fixed.

“Your apprentice has much potential, and is a perfect fit in being able to play a pivotal role for the needs of our cause.”

Uma Sumalu nodded her concurrence, her olive, smooth face expressionless in the dim light.

"She is young, with many characteristics similar to yourself. Her genetic enhancements given to her at birth, make her capable of the same extraordinary abilities you yourself possess." There was emphasis on the last words as he spoke.

"Her sixth sense abilities are most certainly strong in her," Braj'tec agreed.

I felt a rush of satisfaction on hearing the words, a vindication of my choice to accept her defection and together with her, killing Cerberus, training her, and then bringing her here. "She is to join me in KnM Blade as Asuka Blade, and come with me to the upcoming Skycom - Mars infiltration mission then," I declared in triumph.

There was an uncomfortable silence as the Council members looked from one to the other.

“No," Jarvis said quietly. "She will not join your team at this time, nor take any part in the mission in question.”

Paige's face crumpled, and there were tears in her eyes as she glanced quickly at me.

"No?" I repeated in disbelief, shocked almost speechless. "She has clearly passed all your tests and trials." I immediately challenged.

“It's still too early and her training is not yet fully complete. Paige is to remain here in Vocheuhiri for further evaluation." This time the stern words came out by none other than Zasalamel. "From thereon we will convene once more, and more than likely we will assign Paige to your KnM Blade as Asuka. Her first mission will be the diplomatic mission to the Sajnen Confederate which we still intend to proceed with by the end of the year. Of course it will be pending the outcome of the next mission and anything else that may unexpectedly follow. We will discuss this briefly with you in a moment, however there is another that concerns the both of you that needs to be discussed.”

“And before you proceed with that matter," Miyuki abruptly cut in, looking at me with heavy eyes, "Kixi you do understand that although Paige may be a valuable resource to your team, that I foresee that there will be a considerable amount of conflict with that of your team's current partner, your fiancée Mako. Be mindful and careful. I wouldn't want you do hurt Mako's feelings in any way, yet this proposed partnership has the potential for that." A brief pause and awkward silence followed before she finally concluded. "I know you won't like what I'm about to say, but I do not approve for Paige to join your team, ever, but you do have the approval of the other seven members.”

"We welcome your overall decision then," I nodded, answering for both myself and Paige, with the latter deliberately avoiding looking in the direction of Miyuki.

Jarvis' stern gaze swept over all of us. "Thank you both for your helpful cooperation," he said, giving me a pointed look that only caused my chin to lift and my lips to quirk in a small, apologetic smile. "Before I get into a brief discussion regarding the future diplomatic mission to the Sajnen Confederate, Uma wishes to follow up on an inquiry that involves and concerns you."

Jarvis then made way for his second in command, Uma, who decided to stand and take several steps towards both Paige and I, sweeping her gaze several times between us. Inevitably, and with some quite striking contrasting and accurate detail, the inquiry of the allegations of my misconduct with Paige and Mako in the dojo of this base, was brought forward, along with my inability to behave appropriately in the presence of my apprentice when not in training.

"Are these facts true Miss Rajki, or do you deny the allegations brought forward against you and your apprentice?" Uma asked me not once breaking eye contact with me.

Knowing there was no point in lying, and wanting to get this over with sooner than later, I admitted guilt, still wondering silently, how and who had seen and reported us. "They are true. All of them, except that I take full responsibility for instigating the actions that occurred. Paige like Mako objected to the idea. I was the one to insist on the idea. I am thus solely to blame."

“Our source suggests otherwise Kixi Rajki. What we have suggests that only Mako objected, and that on the contrary Paige encouraged you.”

"Well thats an absurdity. The best this source, whoever they or it are could have done, was see us fornicate inside the dojo. What was said beforehand between us, no one could have heard what Mako, Paige and I said exactly. It's totally impossible and you know it. Thus I stand by my word, it was solely my idea and I take full responsibility for it." I said folding my arms, now so very curious on who this apparent source was, but knew that I was likely to never find out.

"Very well then," Uma said taking a few steps back to her seat, sitting herself down again. "It appears that wherever you go Kixi that trouble seems to find you. Jarvis has already had to hand down punishment to you for a list of other offences you have committed. Personally I will not have a person who is reckless and has little regard for etiquette roaming around freely in my facility. I hereby suspend you from freely stepping into this facility. From now on and indefinitely, unless requested personally by myself, Jarvis and only any of the other six members of this council, you may no longer come here. As for your apprentice's training, you are only to come here on those days set by us in advance, and they will be limited to just training with her. Once your scheduled activities are done, you will leave. Therefore you will not engage in any extra activities on this facility with Paige, nor anybody else for that matter. Have I made myself perfectly clear Kixi Rajki?" Uma concluded sternly.

"Yes... Perfectly." I responded in a very cranky voice, making my total disdain towards her decision more than obvious. However I didn't care too much. I didn't like answering to authority, that much was more than apparent, and one way or another, I would find a way to get around any bans or restrictions that the Council placed on me.

The attention then once again shifted back to Jarvis. "I now would briefly like to bring up the topic of the Sajnen Confederate. You Paige will accompany Kixi there when the time comes. By then your primary training will be complete." He looked at Paige as he spoke, studying her, saw the satisfaction in her eyes that she had gotten as a result of finally being accepted into our ranks, even if it wouldn't be immediate.

“We have a diplomatic mission that requires the service of one team. In this instant it will be your team of KnM Blade. I'm restoring the activeness of your team due to the satisfying results already seen in Mako's training. Until the mission to the Sajnen Confederate takes place, KnM Blade will consist of both yourself and Mako only. After that, Paige will join with the alias Asuka Blade alongside you as Kay Blade, and Mako as eM Blade. The team name will however remain as is, or KnM Blade. She will not require an NFV implant to her facial pores like both you and Mako have at this stage. As for the mission, you will to travel to Hedstaden Sajna, the capital of the Sajnen Confederate in the Alpha Centauri System.”

In a nutshell, from there you will use your skills in diplomacy and negotiation to try and convince their government, who is under the control of the USS to break away and join us. Essentially you will try to form an alliance with them. It will not be easy as the Sajnen Confederate is fearful of President Drex's government and Skycom. However we believe they can be swayed to join us due to the presence of the latter bring minimal there." Jarvis continued.

As you also would have learnt from your not so memorable encounter with Kashia ke Hanadi, an elite group of warriors known as the Züncålazin Order exists. We on this Council have already got a limited relationship with the Züncålazin Order." Jarvis went on causing me to raise an eyebrow. "You will also seek them out, as I believe Kashia advised you to do, and persuade them to actively join our cause."

"Last but not least, we seek to form alliances with other alien races as we strongly believe that it will better humanity in the long term, this of course contrary to the restrictive policies of the current Earth based government. You will also seek out the Arkhass in the Wolf 359 System and attempt to have them join us. However you will need to be weary of their reluctance in dealing with humans due to the current volatile nature between human and non human relations. You must go there and ensure that the negotiations take place in a peaceful and orderly manner," Jarvis said. "Your apprentice Paige will observe your work in which Mako will primarily assist you in. It's unlikely that you'll need to fight, but should you find yourselves in any such situations, do whatever is necessary as per usual, but remember, only if necessary." Jarvis momentarily paused, pointing a finger at me. "Don't fuck that part up again Kixi, otherwise you'll have more than a beating to have to worry about the next time if it happens." He said reminding me of my infamous fuck up with Kashia ke Hanadi.

"Lastly, as you are already aware, our resistance cell alone, and those of other smaller ones, will not be enough to topple the current government. Sure we have been effective in creating them problems and havoc, but it's not enough. We need a real army, and only through such an alliance will an army strong and large enough to challenge the USS, ever come to fruition." Concluded Jarvis.

Although an extremely important mission in which I would eventually look forward to, some of the earlier words had stung, with the force behind them unmistakable. I flinched inwardly, but said nothing.

"Ah yes, I almost forgot, but it has come to our unfortunate attention by Kashia ke Hanadi, that she does not approve of anyone of the bloodline of Cerberus. Fortunately for you we don't agree with her on the subject. However we would like to tread with caution. When you finally go to the Sajnen Confederate on your diplomatic mission, any dealings that involve the Züncålazin Order, you will not involve Paige in as per Kashia's request to you on the day she defeated you in combat. After all, we wouldn't want to see a repeat of that event or anything else disastrous occurring whilst you are there." Jarvis added.

There was a long silence as the members of the Council regarded both Paige and I gravely. I stood there, trying to think of something more to say, perhaps some other argument to offer in relation to being barred to come to this facility in Vocheuhiri freely... but did not.

"This will be all for today," Jarvis said finally, signalling to both Paige and I, that the audience was over.

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