Author’s Note: Sorry that I’m late on the chapter… and the live stream. I ended up writing and couldn’t stop. After I eat my dinner, the stream will start. But for now, please enjoy?
Chapter 09 – Take me Home, Country Roads?
Well… that vacation could’ve been better. But sadly it wasn’t. I did get to enjoy the beach with my wife for three months… but those two immortal troublemakers had to disturb the peace. And Nagisa… supported it. As far as I’m concerned, I committed the sin of adultery. If it weren’t for my dear wife’s comforting afterwards, I would had fallen into a deep depression.
Anyway, we got Nagisa and Inarihime back home and only three hours had passed according to my Bunk-man. Before you ask, the time on it syncs to whenever I’m back in my world. Meaning that there’s an Old World satellite that’s been active for almost two-thousand years that does that. Either way, boss undid the ritual and Nagisa got her heart back. It wasn’t like she just stuffed the heart back in her chest, boss said some incantation and it disappeared from her hand. It gave Nagisa a shock, but I felt where it should be and it was beating. And after one of the longest kisses that my wife has ever shared with me, we took our leave. The next place… was a forest. Not just that, I could also tell that we were on a mountain.
“Okay boss, where are we now?”
“We’re back on Earth, but not in Japan.” (Oracle)
“Okay… but ain’t that a little vague?”
“We’re in this world’s equivalent to Libertonia, the United States of America.” (Oracle)
Other than Yamato, this world has it’s own version of Libertonia?
“Believe it or not, this world and your Old World are similar. But different at the same time. Though the paranoia of Communism has disappeared since the end of the Cold War, the United States has evolved to be bigger hypocrites than Libertonia. Then again, these things happen. Still, that has nothing to do with why we’re in the state of West Virginia.” (Oracle)
“Okay boss, why are we here?”
“To receive a katana.” (Oracle)
“Wait… a samurai sword?”
“My dear gunslinger, I’m glad that you didn’t say your usual catchphrase. But yes, we’re here to receive a special katana from it’s final owner.” (Oracle)
“It’s final owner?”
“Well… it’s final owner from the time it still possessed power. The year is 2018, so it’s been nine years since it’s lost it’s power. You will learn more when we meet the owner.” (Oracle)
Okay… this sword seems to had lost it’s power about twelve years since we met that silver-haired brat in his past life. I know it’s unconnected, but we are back in this world. Either way, boss hitched a ride from some olive-skinned overweight sap in a dark green pick-up truck. That’s guys most remember-able features were the fact his raven-colored beard and hair had signs of graying and both needed a trim. And that annoying woodland camouflage ball cap he was wearing. We sat in the back until we got to what appeared to be a farm. After thanking the guy with the pick-up, we start walking towards the main house.
“I just hope Mr. McNoil was expecting us?” (Oracle)
“Carter N. McNoil, a tomb raider who turned into a legit archaeologist. Trained in firearms and the Russian martial art of Systema since he was in his early teens, he was always learning things most kids shouldn’t. But when he got a hold of a certain katana by chance, he ended up on a quest to stop all kinds of artifacts before they could be used in the wrong hands. He even has an honorary doctorate from West Virginia University. Oh, he once died when he was sixteen. But that’s a story for another time.” (Oracle)
Okay… this McNoil character seems almost like a cliché.
“Anything I should be weary of?”
“As hand-to-hand combat is not your strong suit, don’t try to duke it out with him. Also, keep your revolvers in the Bunk-Man’s hammer space. He loves quick-draw gun fights, but he would easily lose to you in that department. We don’t want to hurt his ego.” (Oracle)
She has a point, I’m only good in brawls. If I were to face an actual martial artist without weapons, I’m toast. But when it comes to gun-slinging, I’m number one.
“Okay, now to knock on the door.” (Oracle)
We walk up to the farm house’s front door and boss knocks on it. The person who answers it is a black-haired woman who looks Japanese by her eyes and some of her facial features, but I can easily tell that she had other races in her blood. She wore a black t-shirt and bright pink baggy jeans.
“I’m sorry to intrude, but is your husband home?” (Oracle)
“Oh… you must be the Oracle? I’m Mina Wantanabe-McNoil. I’ll tell Carter that you’re here.” (Mina)
“Thank you.” (Oracle)
The woman whom introduced herself as Mina invites us inside the house and has us sit on a sofa. The living room has all kinds of decorations, like animal heads, guns, and swords. The walls themselves looked like cheap wood paneling. The table was sturdy oak and so was most of the other furniture. The sofa itself had a tacky black and white checker pattern and seemed out of place. But a few minutes later, a man walked in the living room carrying a long wooden box. He was a ginger, I could tell by his fair skin, red hair, green eyes, and some freckles. His hair was cut in a medium length around his head and parted to where you could see left eye. He was wearing an olive drab jacket that looked like it was once an army issue, an orange t-shirt under it, blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots. I could tell it was a t-shirt because he removed the jacket before sitting down.
“Miss Oracle, it’s nice to meet ya.” (man)
“Same with you, Mr. McNoil.” (Oracle)
So that’s Carter N. McNoil?
“Oh please, my cousin Gabe is also a McNoil. Just call me Carter.” (Carter)
“If that pleases you? Anyway, I’m sure that you know why we’re here?” (Oracle)
Carter’s face becomes grim after hearing that.
“I know. It’s just… I never thought that I’d finally be getting rid of the damn thing. For the past fifteen years, it’s been by my side. I still remember how I got it, I bought it in ol’ Sid’s pawn shop for like ten bucks. And according to him, it was there when he took over the place back in the seventies. And thanks to that damn blade, I ended up on all kinds of adventures. Like when I had to get the Golden Sword of St. Patrick in Ireland and the Staff of Winter from the North Pole. I wasn’t even twenty when I did all that.” (Carter)
Okay… that guy’s been around.
“I know of all of your exploits.” (Oracle)
“Good, it saves time.” (Carter)
He then opens the long box that he set on the coffee table when he walked in the room. I saw an old katana with a black blade with it’s scabbard next to it.
“So that’s it?” (Oracle)
“Yes, that’s the Sword of Ghouls. It also goes by the name of ‘Shinusame’ or ‘Shinu no Ame’. Either way, it’s actually ‘Death Rain’ depending on your translation from Japanese. Only four of it’s wielders have been mentioned in history, the first being my ancestor Sheamus McNoil. A katana that the Grim Reaper himself forged from one of his broken scythes on a whim. It gives the wielder some of Death’s powers, including ectomancy and pseudo-necromancy. Or… it did before I finally overcame the blade’s power and broke free from my contract with Death. This thing’s been powerless for the past nine years.” (Carter)
Wait… that sword’s too over powered!
“Is this a demonic blade?”
I had to ask.
“Sir, what’s yer name?” (Carter)
“Just call me Lost Justice, but ya can call me ‘Lost’ for short as that’s basically what I am. I’m the Oracle’s bodyguard.”
“Then I’ll just call ya that. Anyway Lost, this sword is neither a demonic nor a holy blade. Death itself is neutral. It doesn’t matter if you’re good or evil, death comes for everyone.” (Carter)
“What Carter says is true, death itself is neutral. Though this blade has clashed with both demonic and holy swords in the past, it’s neutral because that’s what death is.” (Oracle)
“Yeah, I had a hard time believing it myself at first. But I learned over time that it’s the truth. But this damn blade does have rules.” (Carter)
“Yes, it has rules. Like it’s not meant to be a weapon of mass destruction and unless you’re chosen by it, it will shave off years from your life span. I was chosen like my ancestor was. The second wielder, the ninja Hanzo of an unknown clan wasn’t chosen. So by the time he got his revenge on the samurai Musashi who cut off his arm, it took his life. The third wielder Nicholas Fazello wasn’t chosen either, but he had a special condition thanks to a curse that stops him from staying dead. I don’t know the details, but he was the only non-chosen wielder to survive that blade. But as the rest are not recorded in history, I don’t know if it’s true or not.” (Carter)
“That reminds me, I forgot about him. Wasn’t he a pirate?” (Oracle)
“He was actually a highwayman and my ancestor’s foster brother.” (Carter)
“That’s right, I always forget.” (Oracle)
“Many people do. The story of the highwayman Myth ain’t too popular these days.” (Carter)
“That’s true. Anyway, our time here is short.” (Oracle)
“Then I’m sorry for keeping ya. Still, be sure that this thing doesn’t somehow get used for evil?” (Carter)
“Trust me, it’s going to someone who can use it for good. Which is easier due to it losing it’s powers.” (Oracle)
“In that case, I leave the Sword of Ghouls in your care.” (Carter)
He then puts the lid back on the box and hands it to boss. She then makes it disappear. I’m starting to think she has some kind of item box or something? Either way, we make our leave. As we walk back to the gate, we passed some blonde guy with an eye-patch on his right eye walking hand-in-hand with some slightly darker-skinned woman in glasses. The guy looked like one of those bishonen characters that I would learn about later on. But when we left the gate to the farm, a black limousine pulls out beside us. We stop as the driver exits the car and opens the door for the guy in the back. It was another guy with an olive skin tone. But he wasn’t overweight like the guy with the green pick-up. Even though that black suit, I could tell he had a fit body. He had green eyes and neatly-trimmed black hair. And his beard and mustache were more of a Van Dyke-style. The weird thing was those orange-tinted glasses he wore.
“Well… speak of the devil and he appears? Right, Myth?” (Oracle)
“Signora, I have not went by that name in hundreds of years. Nor have I really used my birth name of Nicholas Fazello in a long time either.” (Myth)
Wait… that’s Nicholas Fazello? The guy who was said to be the third wielder of that blade!? But wasn’t that hundreds of years ago? And didn’t he just say that?
“Either way, why are you here?” (Oracle)
“Simple, I just wanted to thank you for taking that sword away.” (Myth)
“Really? Are you sure that your brotherhood hasn’t mistaken it for a different blade?” (Oracle)
“I have not talked to the brotherhood in years. I left them and their little war behind ages ago. So I have nothing to do with them. Besides, they knew that Shinusame was not one of the swords they were looking for. Nor were that demonic sword or that holy sword, they told me that back when I went on the quest back in the late 16th century.” (Myth)
“Too bad I had no reasons to interfere myself. However, I would rather not involve myself with a tale of souls and swords eternally retold myself.” (Oracle)
“I wish I haven’t either. But through it all, I met my wife.” (Myth)
“Speaking of her, how is she?” (Oracle)
“Ryia’s well. Though she’s aged slightly, I still love her. As long as I’m with her, I can forget how my curse makes me walk this earth until the angel Gabriel blows his horn.” (Myth)
“I’m sorry that even I don’t have the knowledge on how to break that botched curse.” (Oracle)
“It’s alright, signora. I’ve gotten used to it by now.” (Myth)
“Either way, it was nice to meet the legendary highwayman.” (Oracle)
“I’m no legend, just a myth.” (Myth)
He winks before getting back into his limousine. As it drove away, I could only wonder. Just…
“What the hell?”
“Before you ask, he was cursed by a lover of a noble whom he was forced to kill a few hundred years ago. The enemies of his brotherhood took someone he held dear at the time as leverage to kill a traitor to their order. The traitor stole from the order because of some cult. Either way, they used Myth’s cover as a highwayman to kill the traitor. But the traitor’s lover was a Romani woman who wanted revenge. She tried to curse Myth to live forever undying, but the blade she used as part of the ritual was a shard of a demonic blade that feeds on people’s souls. The shard’s nature and the curse conflicted, causing it to be botched. His body’s literally stuck in time. He’s unable to age, his wounds don’t stay, and when he’s killed… his body is restored to how it was back when he was cursed.” (Oracle)
“Okay… was that how is was involved with everything?”
“No. You see, he failed in a robbery because the other guy was literally out of this world. So he ended up retreating. When he was still trying to recover from the fight, he saw a French vampire and his goons attacking some Greek girl. He tried to interfere, but was wounded further instead. After surviving that encounter, he was forced into a life debt with her and got involved with the tale of souls and swords that way. He was already a member of the brotherhood at the time, and they sent him out to find the truth of the swords for himself. At the end of that journey, the girl was lost to him. It was fifteen years later that he ended up involved again. It was this time around that he met his wife and ended up the third recorded wielder of the katana we just picked up. It’s a long and complicated story that will probably never be finished. Especially with the timeline about to be altered.” (Oracle)
“It will be explained later. But for now, we need to make a stop in your world.” (Oracle)
“Okay… why there?”
“We must deliver this blade to… a certain pagan death goddess.” (Oracle)
“Because this blade will never have the same power it did before. But it’s still sturdy enough to clash with demonic and holy swords. With her blessing, it will have a new purpose.” (Oracle)
Okay… this is all weird. Not just the cast of characters we met today either. All I know is that I hope I will not be further involved with that blade.
We find a place deep in the woods and transport back to my world. However… it was in front of a cave in the desert.
“Where are we?”
“Near the border of Lethe and Styx.” (Oracle)
“Wait… ain’t that in the Demon Realm?”
The Demon Realm is not really another world or anything, just what we all call the lands that are under the demons’ rule. And it’s mostly what was once eastern Libertonia.
“Yes, we’re in the Demon Realm. However, we won’t be encountering any of the locals here. As both sides are worshipers of the Deity, no one wants to come anywhere near this cave. It’s the shrine of the pagan death goddess.” (Oracle)
I honestly quit caring.
“However, I must ask you to stay out here.” (Oracle)
“This shrine is full of undead. Even though they will not bother us, it’s better for you to not meet the pagan death goddess.” (Oracle)
“But… I’m yer bodyguard?”
“I know. However, you are not ready to meet this goddess in person. It’s for your sanity.” (Oracle)
I REALLY wanted to question her, but I have just remembered that I quit caring. So I wait for her when she enters the cave. The area… really is dead. I mean, I didn’t even see buzzards in the sky. And the buzzard was Libertonia’s symbol, always used for the tips of flagpoles. I personally thought of it fitting as Libertonia was full of buzzards that wanted to devour others when they were down. Still, I look at my Bunk-Man to see what time it’s synced to. I was in shock when I checked the date.
It was the same month and year that Billy Bob had me awoken from cryostatis. But it was before I was arisen from my frozen slumber. If I could somehow make it back to Stonwin, then I could…
“No, it’s better not to interfere with my own time stream.”
Even if I were to change the past, it would only mess up the future. Besides, what could I do? I mean, it would probably cause some kind of paradox if I kill Billy Bob before he gives the order. Not to mention that I wouldn’t be able to convince boss to let me try if I asked.
After a bit, boss returns.
“And we’re done here.” (Oracle)
“Good, I was getting tired of waiting.”
“Oh really?” (Oracle)
She gives me a skeptical look. Did she know what I was thinking? I might as well confirm.
“You know the date, right?”
“Let’s see… oh, it’s before you woke up, isn’t it?” (Oracle)
“That’s right. I thought about paying a visit to ol’ Billy Bob earlier. However… I realized that it wouldn’t be for the best even if you allowed it. If those things haven’t happened to me, I would’ve never met Nagisa. When I awoke from cryostatis, I was in for a huge shock. The world seemed to have gone backwards. But many things had changed. New races that should’ve stayed in fantasy novels, a new god watching over everyone, and… life became so cheap. When I awoke again in Boromarl, I took my first life. Well… my first five lives. And it was to save a girl being attacked. Back in the Old World, this would’ve never happened in public. But due to her race, no one even bothered to interfere. I got involved and could’ve lost my life. But I was still in some sort of daze from how things changed that I couldn’t mourn for those bastards. The townspeople started to loot their bodies the moment they realized that the Wild Five lost their lives in a gun fight.”
“I see… you regret your actions?” (Oracle)
“When I think back, I regret that I didn’t regret taking lives at the time. If my past self could see me now, would he angry? Would he think I was pathetic and pity me? Or would he be proud of me? This is something that I think about every now and then. I can use the excuse that the old Abel Mechana was left back in the Old World, but at the same time I can’t.”
It’s true, I’m not sure who I am anymore. Am I Abel Mechana, or am I Lost Justice? Did I really leave Abel Mechana in the Old World? Did he die with it? I’m not sure. Even though Nagisa calls me by my given name, she’s one of the few who knows my name.
“Lost, there’s no need to worry about it. Whether it’s the former heir of a corporate dynasty or the current mercenary, you’re you. Remember how we were just in West Virginia?” (Oracle)
“Yeah, but what does that have to do with this?”
“In another timeline, the United States was in a war with communist China like Libertonia was at war with Communistan. And in fifty-nine years from when we visited, it ended in the same way. But West Virginia was mostly untouched when the bombs dropped compared to other states like California, Massachusetts, or Virginia. But those who waited in safety will walk out twenty-five years later. I can’t say for certain what they do as it’s an alternate timeline, but they will change the landscape.” (Oracle)
“But what does that have to do with anything?”
“Could you imagine an alternate timeline? If you didn’t go to Bunker Five Hundred and Thirty? What if you went to one of the administrative bunkers instead? Or one of the safety bunkers where Bunk-Co was actually protecting Libertonians? Would you still be the Abel Mechana of the past? Or would you be something other than Lost Justice?” (Oracle)
I never really thought of it before. I mean, I always thought about what could had been if I had stopped Billy Bob sooner, but I’d always think about not meeting Nagisa instead. But if I hadn’t been in that cursed bunker, how would it have been different? We may never know?
“I ain’t too sure on that. But I know that I’d be less of a scumbag than Billy Bob, that’s a given.”
“If you say so. Now, on to the next world.” (Oracle)
I nodded and she tried to make her magic. However… something was different. Normally her transfer circles start out blue and change to red as we transfer. But… it was pure white?
“Boss… what’s happening?”
“Lost, someone’s hijacking my transfer circle!” (Oracle)
Was it the Melcine?
“It’s not the Mechine if that’s what you’re thinking. Oh no… Lost!”
Right as she yelled my name, everything flashed to white. I woke up a few hours later, dazed and confused.
I was all alone. I check my surroundings and I can’t believe it. It wasn’t the same desert I was at earlier. It was the desert, but I could see highways. Roads going on for miles, but… they were all broken. Cars that looked burned out at the sides of the roads. In the distance, I see broken skyscrapers. Not to mention collapsed overpasses.
“Where am I?”
Out of instinct, I look at my Bunk-Man. The map… is slightly different than I remembered. It looks closer to Caesar City, my home town and one of Libertonia’s biggest cities. But the bigger shocker is the day listed on my Bunk-Man.
“You’re kidding me…”
The date was the sixth month of the year, on the second day. But the year… it was way off. It said that it’s been twenty-five years since the bombs dropped.
“It can’t be…”
I remember what boss said before her transfer circle was high-jacked, about how in an alternate timeline Earth had a great war similar to my own world’s. I see the ruins of civilization around me and the map on my Bunk-Man had hardly changed.
“I’m in an alternate timeline!?”
I couldn’t believe it, but it seems to be true. But other than being in an alternate timeline, I was also sent to the past. Did boss see that happening? She’s an oracle after all, so she might have told me about alternate timelines to prepare me for this?
“Well… I won’t get anywhere standing around.”
I follow the broken highway to the ruins I saw earlier. I can feel the danger around me. It may be Caesar City, but it’s not at the same time. And after some walking, I spot something. It looked like a dog, but something’s off. It’s fur looks diseased. And it looks like it has a second mouth at it’s chin. Not to mention… a second head!? And it sees me.
I don’t think shooting it will do the trick. I pull out Diplomacy and ready myself. The two-headed dog rushes in my direction. As soon as it’s in range, I strike. The two-headed dog probably thought I was it’s next meal? If it did, it was dead wrong.
“Just what kind of screwed up world did I just walk into!?”
After Note: And that was chapter 9, peeps. I wanted to get this out before Bethesda’s show at E3, but I got… side tracked. Blame my ADD. Anyway, this chapter is pretty much a farewell to some of my older Original Characters.
Carter N. McNoil was created for a Halloween short story that I did in my freshman year of high school. I ended up reusing him in an old Legend of Zelda fan fiction and a few other short stories. The first was “Sword of Ghouls”, which I later on renamed the titular sword “Shinusame” or roughly translated “Death Rain”. One of these Octobers, I’m gonna post that short story on here.
Mina Wantanabe-McNoil was originally character from back when I wanted to be a video game designer in high school. As I didn’t get to go to any of those schools, I pretty much moved her into my written works as Carter’s love interest. She’s half-Japanese with a Russian father. Whom happened to be the same guy who trained Carter in Systima. And yes, she was a ninja.
Two blond-haired guy with the Eye Patch and the dark skinned girl at the McNoil Farm were Gabe McNoil (whom Carter mentioned when introducing himself to the Oracle) and Prophet. Gabe was from when I wanted to do a web comic with Carter, but I suck at drawing. I actually have a notebook with some scripts for the comic. Prophet on the other hand was a character I created one day while listening to “Hotel California” by the Eagles. When I created her, I decided that she was to be Gabe’s love interest. Both Carter and Gabe were raised together when Gabe’s parents died in a “hunting accident”. Gabe was originally designed as Raiden from MGS2 with and eye-patch. He lost his right eye in an accident when he and Carter were little because he was too close to a black powder rifle when it went off.
As for Myth… or Nicholas Fazello. He’s actually my SoulCalibur original character. Back in the late 2000’s, I wrote a fan fiction on FanFiction.Net called “Pirate of the Mediterranean”. It was the top SoulCalibur fan fiction for a few years, but then stuff happened between me and one of my friends and I took it down. I did try to do a reboot with him as a highwayman, but it didn’t go too far. His nickname came from what I tried to get people to call me before I got the nickname Mario. And yes, my pen name on FF.Net was Highwayman Myth. Remove the space, you get my PSN. I got my PS3 after joining FF.Net. As for his brotherhood and a different war he fought in… I originally decided to make him a crossover MC. He’s both SoulCalibur and Assassin’s Creed. I tried to say everything about him without mentioning either game or name anything within the games.
As for the alternate timeline the Oracle was talking about, It’s Fallout 76. I couldn’t resist. Most of Carter and Gabe’s adventures took place in West Virginia anyway. And I wanted to make Shinusame that I used in the past cannon with LGDK. And who can cross worlds to make sure of that? The Oracle of course. As for why Lost Justice just got stuck in an alternate timeline? I had to make when he told Gan Zhu in Dark Jackel’s “Anubai Hero” cannon after all.
Before I go, I just want to say that Fallout 76 wasn’t the only alternate timeline and E3 related thing. I’m also hyped for SoulCalibur VI. In every Soul Calibur game since 3, I’ve always created characters based on Myth, Carter, Gabe, Mina, and Prophet. This time around… I’m gonna have to base two on the Oracle and Lost Justice from now on.