An Oni Unto ItselfThe dolls eyes continued to stare at me, holding both innocence and accusations. The porcelain face held obvious outsider influence but somehow, this foreign trinket seemed more normal in the Japan of today than the burned remains of the nameless village that once stood here, on the outskirts of Kumamoto. Masterless and disgraced, I've wandered back to an important part of my own past without even wondering why. In my own mind, I can still hear the cries of battles that lasted six long weeks but it's been that way for years. Perhaps this journey was to lead to some form of redemption but if it can be found, it leaves no trace, except for this doll.
I searched for several hours, to find some clues of what had happened within the burned ruins. If this village had grown from the time of my last visit, it was difficult to tell. The village itself was only a few dozen small structures. Its main advantage still remained the view down the grassy valley towards Kumamoto. One main road
Going Out A ChampionNothing is worse than being termed "the underdog." I could stand a term like contender, challenger, or even amateur. All of those names at least signify some form of dignity. But here I was, after spending the past 18 months fighting through the various ranks, standing toe to toe with a bred champion, and underdog. As if being a dog wasn't low enough, I'm under that.
"We're going to check your calve servos now, David." The familiar hum began to rise in intensity as the armor began to compress on my calves. The armor always felt restrictive but when the armor is fully powered up, it enhances the bodies physical strength tenfold. But like the drawstring on a compound bow, it requires a level of strength to pull the tension servos back before springing them forward. In a way, each muscle grouping is like an arrow, pulling back on that bow, ready to snag forward. It makes each motion a more complicated matter of applied physical strength than the natu