Sitting alone in one of the waiting rooms aboard the BADGE Orbital Arena, Tri-blade finally had a moment to consider the situation and the events leading up to the most pivotal tournament finale he had experienced since his first foray into alternate Earths over a decade ago.
He was walking through a forest on the outskirts of a small town, absent-mindedly meandering along a dirt trail when a rustling of leaves caught his attention. Tri-blade whirled around, drawing one of his mystical daggers from its back-mounted scabbard. His eyes moved from left to right, body unmoving, when with quickfire precision he swung around and parried a sword strike from an unexpected arrival.
His would-be assailant was clad in black and red garments, adorned with runes carved in Japanese script. The mask covering his face concealed any intent and Tri-blade stepped backwards slowly, weapon held in front.
"Tri-blade of Realm Defenders," replied the other man without emotion. He sheathed his weapon, but Tri-blade did not respond in kind.
The man styling himself part ninja, part pirate, began to slowly walk around Tri-blade. "It is unusual to see you alone, and distracted. But I am curious. Why are you here, alone, and ripe for an ambush?"
Failing to hide a smirk, Tri-blade replied, "Who says I am not looking for an ambush?" He twirled his weapon in his right hand and craned his neck.
Fuma Hanzo reappeared in Tri-blade's view and walked towards him. "Perhaps, you are looking for allies, then. There is word of another tournament. I propose you join the Hanzo Dojo and see where it leads you."
In the ninja lord's hand there appeared a scroll, painted silver and black and encapsuled by a thin red ribbon. Tri-blade reached for it, and upon grasping the scroll, he was amazed to see holographic versions of heroes encountered in various guises throughout the realm, appear around the pair.
The likes of Avenger, Magnificent Punlork and Gentleman appeared, soon followed by IboShin gu and Martial Law. Pain Guin, Slayer BAS and a few not instantly recognizable appeared. Directly behind Fuma Hanzo, a figure cloaked in red armor and helmet also appeared.
"Impressive light show. Um, do I hear a theme from a particular movie score as well?" asked Tri-blade.
Fuma Hanzo chuckled. "We do have that kind of budget, no lie. But consider it. You may find yourself reunited with old allies, as well." He stepped backwards and tossed a smoke bomb to the ground. When it cleared, Tri-blade was alone in the forest yet again, holding only the scroll as evidence of their meeting.
"Dang ninja flash bomb... urban legend again dispelled," muttered Tri-blade as he continued his walk.
A few weeks later, Tri-blade smiled in the waiting room. Linking up with Doctor Silver Strange Surfer was a pleasant surprise indeed, but so was the incredible situation that found Tri-blade in the rare position of being on a team considered tournament favourites. It was unsettling to an extent, but the battles since the start of the competition had been invigorating. There was no going-through-the-motions feeling that had encapsulated previous ventures, instead one of anticipation and desire to prove himself worthy of the opportunity to claim a piece of history that to date had eluded him.
The powerhouse entrants may take these for granted, he thought, but if fortune is kind and he battled with maximum effort and confidence, then a treasure he ordinarily may have thought of as trivial in the grand scheme of things, could have meaning beyond his wildest imagination.
[Tri-blade] [ID: 10879]
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