My breathing slowed, and my heart rate dropped as well. I focused on my breath and the sensations of my body. My ribs were beginning to ache again, and I accepted the pain, letting it wash past me and back away from the forefront of my mind. I needed to focus.
“Ikiru,” I said slowly. “Where are you?” Before me in my mind’s eye, stood the old man I had seen when I died before. Strangely misshapen. “We have to get out of here,” I whispered to him in the darkness of my thoughts.
I thought so. Ikiru said slowly turning around to face me. She’s here.
“Who is she? What are you talking about?” I answered.
He’s working with her. Ikiru continued. I don’t know if I have enough power to stop her… if it was anyone else maybe but… His eyes focused on mine. You have to trust me.
“Do I have much of choice?” I answered him.
We always have a choice, Ikiru responded, the real question is, does it matter? Now, close your mind’s eye and watch.
Taking another deep breath, I closed my inner eye and waited, focusing only on my breathing. Soon I began to feel like I was opening my eyes and standing up but as if I was watching it from a distant mountain peak. What’s going on? I asked, but no words came out, only thoughts.
“I had to take control,” Ikiru answered through my voice. I felt my body stand up and walk toward the thick wooden bars. “It’s the only way we can get out of here and do what we had to do.” Suddenly I could feel my body flex and strain against the wood constraining me, slowly it began to crack, more and more until with a loud SNAP it broke in two.
How do you have this much strength? I asked Ikiru.
“I don’t, you do. I just know how to block your mind off from accessing it.” With that, he began pulling the wooden bars apart. The think struts of wood snapped and left a space ample enough to step through. “Now, let’s get me back.”
I, or rather Ikiru began running through the barracks somehow cushioning his footfalls so that he barely made a sound. “I can feel it close.” He muttered, pausing before going through the next doorway. Two guards were discussing something in the next room.
“What’s the deal with this Jin? I hear he’s pretty dangerous?” One of the guards said.
“Yeah,” his friend answered. “I hear he’s murdered three people already and then cut down two more in the streets. They’re even saying it was him who set fire to the temple. Shi Fan will get promoted capturing someone like that.”
The clink of a sake glass hit the table, and I could hear more of the drink being poured. “Maybe, but with the Emperor here for a visit who knows, he might be angry he let this happen in the first place.” The first guard responded.
“Shut up!” The second exclaimed, “You know that we’re not supposed to know of his visit. If they find out…”
“No one will find out. You worry too much.” His friend said before I could hear an audible gulp.
“It’s showtime,” Ikiru said stepping into the room. The guards snapped up from the table, one fell over in his shock at seeing me. “Hey there, can I have my sword back by any chance?” Ikiru asked through me.
One of the shocked guards started to reach for his sword but Ikiru was too fast, he was upon the guard with superhuman reflexes, and smashed his head into the table. The one who had fallen over had managed to crawl his way to his feet and was making his way to the far door. Ikiru picked up the spear of the first guard and threw it cleanly through the back of the feeling man who promptly fell to the ground.
Did you have to kill them? I asked they were just men doing their jobs.
“I only killed one. His friend here is still alive, though I should probably kill him too should he wake up… we can’t have them know that you escaped.”
No. I said firmly.
“Ok, have it your way.” Taking a key ring off the dead guard, he walked over to a large crate in the corner of the room. Inside was my personal effects and the sword which Ikiru had called home.
“Now, let us get down to business.” Ikiru said with a smile on my face.