Shulato #9

"Battle! Awaken the Holy Light!"

Synopsis by Arcadia

As a thunderstorm rolls in, Shulato and Lakshu arrive at Genbuden, but Dan blocks the way. Dan, angry as always, promises to return the suffering Shulato caused ten-fold. He throws his axe at Shulato, shattering one of the statues. Shulato and Lakshu hide behind another. Shulato tells Lakshu to stay hidden, and runs between the statues, trying to stay out of Dan's sight. He takes out his Veda, intending to transform, but Dan's axe knocks it out of his hand. Lakshu jumps out of hiding and yells at Dan, which distracts him long enough for Shulato to get his Veda back and put on his Shakti.

Shulato tries to Dan what really happened, but Dan still doesn't believe it. All that matters to him is that the world that Vishnu loved is dying, and he has to stop it. If killing Shulato is what will fix it, then that's what he'll do.

Dan attacks, and Shulato is no match for him. Finally, Dan's axe hits its mark, cutting into Shulato's side. Lakshu runs to Shulato's side and begs Dan to stop, saying that since they're both Hachibushu, they shouldn't fight each other. Dan says that for Vishnu, he'd become even a demon or ogre. All his life, Dan knew nothing but fighting, but Vishnu showed him what life really was.

Flashback to when Dan was a child. Dan is busy beating up on the village kids. He's the strongest in the village, and he's out to prove it. No one wants to disagree with him. He's determined to be stronger than anyone so he can go to Tenkuuden and become a warrior someday.

Finally the day arrives. Dan goes to Tenkuuden as a soldier cadet. When he sees Vishnu for the first time, he's immediately smitten. Later, the cadets are sparring. Dan is doing alot more than that, brutally pounding his opponent into the ground. Vishnu stops him. She heals his opponent and sends him off. She explains to Dan that strength is more than just fighting people. To be truly strong, a warrior must also have love and gentleness in his heart. Strength is using your power to protect something, not just beat people up. Dan doesn't quite understand, but he tries to. Vishnu takes off her pendant and gives it to Dan. She tells him to hold it and remember what she said whenever he feels like beating up on someone.

Dan has carried the pendant with him since that day. He is obsessively devoted to Vishnu, and nothing but her matters to him. As far as he's concerned, Shulato stole Vishnu from him, and he will never forgive that.

Shulato realizes that there's no reasoning with Dan, and fires a Shura Mahaken at him. When the explosion clears, Dan is standing in the middle, completely untouched. He'd used his own Sohma as a shield, and Shulato's spell wasn't strong enough to break through.

Dan throws his axe into the ground near Shulato and casts a Hiba Ryuusakou. The ground around Shulato starts to get soft, and Shulato starts to sink into it. Lakshu runs to help him, but Dan grabs her arm. When the light from Dan's technique fades, the ground is solid again, and Shulato is sealed beneath it.

At Seiryuuden, Ryouma meets Gai. Ryouma doesn't want to fight, but Gai refuses to let him through. Ryouma puts on his Shakti and attacks, but Gai's Sohma deflects his spear. Ryouma notices that Gai's Sohma is black, not white, like it should be.

Lakshu pounds on her the ground, her fingernails bloodied from trying to dig. Dan grabs her arm and tries to take her with him, but Lakshu resists, insisting that she has to stay with Shulato.

Suddenly, the ground where Shulato was buried starts to glow. Shulato breaks through. He'd used his Sohma as a shield, just like Dan had. Shulato refuses to die until he can save Vishnu and have her turn Gai back to normal.

They fight again, but Shulato is weakened, and Dan overcomes him easily. As Dan is about the strike the final blow, Lakshu runs between them. Since she is not the traitor he was sent after, Dan does not want to hurt her, but she refuses to get out of the way. With her Sohma glowing around her body, she says she's not afraid of Dan. To Dan, strength is just for fighting, but for Shulato's sake, Lakshu can be stronger than anyone.

Lakshu's words remind Dan of what Vishnu said to him, and he hesitates.

Shulato gets up. He tells Lakshu to get to the temple and awaken the light while he takes care of Dan. Lakshu doesn't want to leave Shulato, but he shoves her out of the way.

Shulato starts to cast a Shura Mahaken. At the same time, Dan starts a Hiba Gekishinha. The two techniques hit each other. In the fray, the chain to Dan's pendant breaks, distracting him and letting Shulato's spell break through.

Dan falls to the ground. His pendant falls nearby. With the last of his strength, he drags himself to the pendant and clutches it, before his body disintegrates and his Sohma floats into the sky.

Weakened even more, Shulato collapses. Lakshu tries to wake him up. She doesn't want to leave him, but remembers that he told her to take care of the holy light. She leaves Mii to watch over him and heads into the temple. After breaking through the door to the inner chamber, she finds the crystal sphere and tries to raise enough Sohma to activate it.

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