Shulato #17

"A Sorceress! The Terror of the Red Flowers"

synopsis by Arcadia

Shulato and the group arrive at a large, beautiful lake. The destruction that was running rampant through the rest of Tenkuukai seems to have missed this place. The lake is called Riga, the food of the earth-god. It was formed by the overflow from the rest of Tenkuukai's rivers. Shulato takes a drink and is surprised when there's no taste. "You'd think the earth-god would want his food to taste like something."

Lakshu notices a huge swarm of locusts flying over the lake. They must be fleeing from other parts of Tenkuukai.

Reiga tells Lakshu about a legend concerning the lake. They say that if you bathe in it, it will make your skin soft as silk and get rid of freckles and scars. Lakshu is excited to try it- so excited that she starts taking her clothes off in front of her very embarassed companions. Luckily for her, she catches herself in time.

Back on the Mahava, Akaranarta and Trylo learn of Kundalini's death. They're disappointed, but not especially surprised. After all, even the best of skills deteriorate when not used for 10,000 years. Trylo decides to try next. Indrah tells her that her target is Shulato, and not to waste energy on the others if she doesn't have to. Trylo, however, wouldn't consider it a waste.

While Shulato's group is batheing in the lake, thunder starts to strike in the distance. Before they can react, it strikes a tree near them, setting it on fire. Another swarm of insects flee overheard.

A fog descends around them, so thick that they can't see each other. They call out, but they can't hear each other either. Suddenly, Shulato hears a woman's laughter above him. Through the fog, he sees Trylo standing on a pillar of stone.

Shulato tries to attack, but each time, he hits nothing but air. She moves so quickly that she dodges almost before he even moves. Trylo knocks him to the ground and pins him there with her foot on his face. She taunts him, telling him to beg for mercy.

Shulato finally figures out her secret. She's not moving fast at all- he's moving slower. Something in the fog is slowing him down. He throws her off him and she lands back on her stone pillar.

Even though he's figured out the fog, Trylo is not about the let Shulato win. She fires electric spikes from her hair at Shulato's feet, telling him to dance for her. Shulato creates a shield, blocking the spikes, but he won't be able to hold it forever. Above Trylo, he sees the sun shining through the fog, and realizes how to get out of it.

Using his Valuda, he flies above the fog, nearly running Trylo over. Trylo jumps after him. Before he can put on his Shakti, Trylo unleashes another burst of spikes and flies right at him. Shulato is backed into a cliff and can't go any farther, so he decides to just ram her. Surprisingly, it works. Even without his Shakti, he manages to deflect Trylo, but still ends up falling off the cliff. His Valuda catches him. He's okay, but he's back in the fog.

He hears a strange sound behind him and turns to look. There's a large red flower that gives off dark Sohma. Thinking he's found Trylo's weakness, he puts on his Shakti and fires a Mahaken at the flower. The flower is vaporized and Trylo screams. Shlato congratulates himself, thinking he's won.

However, his victory is short-lived. The fog suddenly changes. Just before Shulato passes out, he sees the flower start to glow again and hears Trylo laughing. The flowers grows larger than before. Vines growing from it pull Shulato inside and the flower closes around him. Trylo starts chanting and the flower glows. "It never happened! Go back to when you weren't ShuraOh Shulato, before you ever came to Tenkuukai!"....

Tokyo. April, 1989.
The final match Tokyo Junior Martial Arts Championship Tournament is underway. The competitors are Hidaka Shulato and Kuroki Gai. Shulato knocks Gai down and jumps to perform one last kick. Gai gets up and starts a kick of his own. at they instant when they're about to hit each other, a beam of light (blue, this time) comes down from the sky, enveloping them both. When the light fades, Shulato is standing alone in the middle of the ring. Gai is nowhere to be found. The audience (including Shulato's parents, grandfather and sister and Gai's sister) is amazed.

Shulato goes home with his family. He is impressed that Gai had a disappearing technique like this, but he's disappointed that he never told him. Inside, they watch the news report of the incident. Shulato's sister, Yumiko, asks Shulato what he saw when he was inside the light. Shulato says he thought he saw a beautiful woman and his grandfather, Yutaro, goes ballistic. What's Shulato doing thinking about girls when he's supposed to have his mind on the match? He illustrates his point by whacking Shulato on the head, something he apparently does quite often.

The conversation turns to Gai. Gai's mother died several years ago and his father is in Europe on business, so it's just him and his older sister, Mina, in the house. Shulato decides to go to Gai's house and check on things.

As he runs to Gai's house, Shulato realizes that his body feels different and more powerful than usual, and wonders why.

At Gai's house, he looks at the stars while waiting for Mina. He sees strange lights in the sky. Shulato is amazed. It's the first time he's seen anything like that. Mina comes out to meet him, and she's also impressed by the lights. She says it's like the Aurora Borealis in the arctic. On the news, they said it was caused by a solar flare. Shulato wonders what could be happening to the Earth to make something like that appear here.

Mina suddenly thinks about Gai and starts crying. She's positive that something horrible has happened to Gai. Shulato tries to cheer her up. As he looks at Mina he suddenly gets a flash of memory about another girl, a younger one with green hair and eyes...

Lakshu, Hyuga, Ryouma and Reiga are still caught in the fog (they somehow managed to find their clothes). Lakshu wanders around, calling for Shulato. Hyuga searches for everyone, but realizes he's going in circles. Ryouma chants, trying to dispel the fog, but he's not strong enough. Reiga sends up a flare, trying to let people know where he is. It means letting the enemy know, too, but he sees no other way.

Someone does notice. Unfortunately, it's Trylo.

Back in Tokyo, Shulato is late getting back. He climbs up the tree near his house, thinking he'll sneak in the window. However, Yutaro was expecting it, and ambushes him as he comes in. The blow to his head causes another memory flash- the green-haired girl, a huge tree, a man armor, the beautiful woman he saw inside the pillar of light, and finally Gai, wearing strange armor and attacking him.

Yutaro is surprised that Shulato barely reacted to the blow. Shulato tries to explain the memory flash, saying he remembers fighting Gai in a strange place, but he can't remember where. Yutaro apologizes. Maybe all that whacking him on the head has caused brain damage. Shulato insists he's not brain-damaged and glances out at the back yard. Seeing the tree causes another flash. The place where he fought Gai had a huge tree. Shulato stares at the tree, shocked, but he doesn't remember any more.

On the other side of the tree, Shulato's Veda lies on the ground.

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