Shulato #14

"At the Limits of Love and Hatred"

synopsis by Arcadia

The giant Heiseimon door opens, revealing a tunnel of light. The five warriors fly through it on their Valudas (with Lakshu riding with Reiga). Inside the tunnel, the rest of Tenkuukai flashes before their eyes. They're so distracted by the beauty of it that they barely notice that Indrah has laid a trap for them. Giant fireballs fly at them from the other end of the tunnel. Ryouma simply slices through them with his spear. Hyuga and Reiga dodge easily, but Shulato isn't so lucky. He hasn't completely healed from his fight with Gai, and isn't able to move as fast. Suddenly, as especially big fireball comes at them. Hyuga, Ryouma and Reiga get out of the way, but it overtakes Shulato, knocking him off his Valuda and sending him plummeting out of the tunnel and out of sight.

When Shulato awakes, he finds himself inside someone's house, his chest bandaged. The owner of the house is a beautiful woman named Sati. She brings him some stew and explains that he's in Kateh village, in Tenkuuju. Shulato tries to get out of bed, but he hurts too much to move.

Outside the village, people are looking for Shulato's group. Reiga, Hyuga, Ryouma and Lakshu are hiding from them in a cave. They've tried to disguise themselves by changing their clothes (didn't quite work, though). Lakshu is worried that they'll find Shulato, but Reiga says there's nothing to worry about. The people have never seen Shulato before, and wouldn't know who he was if they did find him.

Hyuga is concerned that it all seems too easy. The trap in Heiseimon and the village patrols were a nuisance, but they were easily avoided. They weren't enough to stop them, only delay them. Perhaps Indrah is only using them to buy time. But time for what?

At the palace, Indrah is deep in meditation, chanting a spell. When the spell is finally activated, it sends a beam of light into the sky, taking out a piece of the roof with it. The beam slams into a temple containing three statues, reducing everything to rubble. Three other beams of light rise from the ruins and fly back to Indrah (yet another hole in the ceiling). The three lights are the Juuga Sanninshu, three Asura gods who had been sealed inside the destroyed temple. Indrah broke the seal and brought them to Tenkuuden in order to help him fight Shulato. At first, they're reluctant, but they agree to help, in return for freeing them. The three pillars of light fade and three figures- Akaranarta, Trylo and Kundalini- stand in their place.

Shulato and Sati chat in Sati's house. Sati has noticed Shulato's Veda and figured he was in the Deva army. She remarks on how hard in must be to be a soldier with Tenkuukai falling apart. Her smile turns into a scowl as she talks about ShuraOh and how everything that happened was his fault. Shulato doesn't quite know what to say. Apparently, Sati has no idea who he is.

Suddenly, Sati laughs. Shulato reminds her of her sister, who is also in the army. At first, Shulato is flattered. Sati is very proud of her sister, and how she's trying to protect Tenkuukai from ShuraOh and the other traitors. Shulato tries not to react to that, but he can't help but be surprised when he finds out who the sister is- none other than Renge!

The next day, Sati goes out to the village. She doesn't know that Renge is dead, and Shulato can't bring himself to tell her. Knowing that he had a part in her sister's death, he decides he can't face her, and leaves. As he's leaving, one of the patrols sees him.

At the village, Sati hears about Renge's death from the village elder. The elder tells her that ShuraOh and his friends killed her. When he mentions that ShuraOh had a lion Veda, Sati remembers that Shulato did, too. She'd been unknowingly harboring her sister's murderer in her own house! She runs back home.

Reiga returns to their hiding place, still emptyhanded. Ryouma returns soon after, with news that several soldiers had converged on the area. Taking it as a sign that Shulato has been found, the others run to investigate.

Shulato is back in Sati's house- he forgot his Veda! When he turns to leave, he finds Sati standing in the door, holding something behind her back. Realizing that she must have found out the truth, Shulato backs away. Sati pulls out her knife and attacks, intent on taking revenge for Renge. Shulato disarms her, and tries to get her to listen to what happened. Sati won't listen. She picks up her knife again, but Shulato grabs it by the blade.

The soldiers have found Shulato, and several have gathered outside Sati's house. Together, they shoot a bolt of Sohma at the house, completely obliterating it. Shulato senses it just in time to get himself and Sati out. The soldiers chase after them. Shulato tries to tell them that Sati is just an innocent bystander, but they don't listen.

They hide behind a rock. Shulato tries to get Sati to run away, but she won't. She grabs Shulato from behind, to keep him from fighting or running away. If the soldiers attack, she'll die, too, but she doesn't care as long as she takes her sister's murderer with her.

The soldiers shoot another bolt of Sohma. Shulato pushes Sati out of the way and blocks the bolt. Again, he tells Sati to get away. The only thing he can do for Renge now is keep her sister alive. Sati shakes her head in disbelief and her hairpin falls out onto the ground. She grabs it, thinking she can use it as a weapon.

Finally, Shulato can no longer block the Sohma bolt and it knocks them both off the cliff. Shulato puts on his Shakti and catches Sati.

The village elder catches up to the soldiers and tells them that Sati wasn't one of Shulato's group. The soldiers are shocked at their mistake.

Shulato and Sati land in the forest. Sati is surprised that Shulato would go so far to save her, but Shulato says it's the only thing he can do for Renge. The soldiers catch up to him. Now they think he's taken Sati hostage!

The rest of the group fly by on their Valudas. Shulato starts to go with them, but Sati grabs his hand (making Lakshu VERY jealous). After a minute, she reconsiders and lets go. Lakshu makes a face at Sati as they leave.

As they fly away, Sati blankly stares after them. She hardly even notices as the pursuing soldiers fly by her. Now she only feels grief for her sister.

Shulato fires a Shura Mahaken into the cliff wall, causing a rockslide that stops the soldiers from following.

Later, they all rest on top of another cliff. Lakshu is still mad and jealous that Shulato was hanging out with another woman all the time they were looking for him. Reiga wants to know how far he got with Sati, but Shulato isn't in a mood to answer.

Behind them, Kundalini is watching...

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