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Guardian.

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Ronin and his brother were outside. They were training by themselves, not a care to the world. Wu needed to do something, having headed inside. Neither of them knew what it was about, the only clues being some political nonsense. It wasn’t something they thought to bother with, the processes and words being confusing jumbles.

They use the time to relax, fooling around the various contraptions. Ronin had climbed onto one of them, standing proudly with a shit-eating grin. He wasn’t balanced precariously but still, Morro had on him a look of worry. Ronin sat down on the contraption and laughed out loud.

In the moment, he was joyful. Nothing there to stop him from doing what he wanted and nothing there to stop him as he fulfilled himself. Admittedly, it wasn’t much. But with how hard it was to avoid the things thrown at him, he had to take what he could get.

Ronin stays on top of the contraption, and he turns to the sky. It’s a cloudy day and the wind has been ruffling him. Despite everything that happens, he smiles to himself. He has an anchor and the restless spirit to defend himself. It didn’t matter if the world went against him. It didn’t matter if he had to fight.

Morro gives him a cursory glance, his worries and fears still visible. Their master hasn’t came out in a while, longer then what they usually expected of him. It felt unusual but they didn’t question for what they thought was a gift. Time was a sacred essence almost. Hard to find, and hard to catch.

“Ronin?” Morro eventually calls out. “When are you going to come down?” Ronin turns to him, shrugging. His brother sighs from underneath him. He’d managed to stop the machine and was now sitting in it, by the main structural pillar and between the many walls used to throw them off.

They sit there again in silence before Ronin gets an idea. He motions his hands upward creating a beast. The beast almost looks normal if it weren’t for it’s shimmering fur. It's a rather large bear, big enough to hold and hide them both. Ronin jumps from the machine and lands laughing into the arms of the bear.

Morro looks up and smiles, it hasn’t been the only time he’s seen his creations. They were always more vibrant then the real things, spiky and sharp but soft at the same time. The bear’s eyes shine iridescently in the sunlight, cycling square formations that made up the pupils.

His brother gets up and hugs the creature, which only snorted in response. The bear sits down roughly, a loud thumping noise as they plopped downward. Ronin giggles, his love for the creature and his brother pulling his soul up in a happy embrace. Morro still holds on from his side, and his smile turns into a grin.

They stay like that for a while, laughing and smiling in the silence. Every now and then the bear would still snort, large puffs of air getting into Ronin’s face. It’s warm being surrounded by the bear, no matter how fake or real it was. He felt comfortable with it. Comfortable to be himself, and comfortable to live. At least for a while. For that time.

Morro eventually moves from his spot to sit with Ronin. The bear proceeds to hold them both in a semi hug with their large furry paws. It’s big enough to almost cover their entire bodies and Ronin’s laughter ends up muffled.

“Well, I see you’re comfortable.” Morro says as he sees Ronin bundle himself farther and farther into the fur. “You’re going to burrow yourself in it.”

“So? It’s fun.” Ronin’s voice comes out still muffled. He gets up from underneath the paws. His clothes is rumpled and his hair a mess but he’s smiling, his grin is wider then what Morro was used to seeing and he himself was happy for that.

Ronin frowns. “But-” He turns to the door, and his worry spills out from inside him and onto the ground. He’s scared, he still is. It’s only natural for it to remain. He doesn’t say anything for a long time as he stayed watching the door. “I don’t want this to end.” His brother gives him a questioning look so he continues.

“Where everything is- Happy I guess. Where I don’t have to struggle to live. I don’t even know what I did for Master- Master Wu to be like that.” He tries not to whimper thinking about it, but it was hard just to say it out loud.

“You didn’t do anything to cause that.” Morro cuts in. “I know he keeps saying you’re at fault for existing but it’s not. You didn’t choose for this happen.”

Ronin nods but doesn’t say anything again. “I personally think your element is great. Being able to make something real but it’s not? You could tell stories with it! Not just doing so called evil.”

“I- I guess so..”

“Well, don’t just guess. I heard his rants. I know what he’s making you think. And it’s not you at all.” Ronin relaxes slightly but he still finds himself having little faith on his situation.

“How did you know about that?” Morro shrugs this time.

“Wu’s not exactly subtle.”

“And are you really sure that I won’t-..” Ronin trails off his mood changing to despair. Morro nods, firm in his conviction. He lays a hand on his shoulder that Ronin lets him do so, having their trust being a link between them.

“I’m more then sure that you won’t. It’s all a choice. Isn’t it?” Morro gives him a small smile. He waits for Ronin to respond and eventually he nods again.

The bear seemed to melt, but not vanish. Ronin doesn’t pay attention, lost to his thoughts. Even as Morro kept telling him, he didn’t know who was right. Wu’s words already so ingrained that he couldn’t do anything. And a voice that would whisper to him, about how he couldn’t keep running. About how he should give up and just go back to Stiix.

But it wasn’t home, not anymore. And neither was the Monastery, which was instead a prison. He was constantly restless, without a home and always forced to fight. He had no choice in how he lived, everything else choosing for him.

The door opens and Ronin nearly jumps, the bear disappearing in a show of sparks. Fur falls around them before vanishing away into the air. They see Wu and he has a look of contemplation. Ronin’s fear spikes up but he hides it, shielding himself.

For a moment, no one says anything. Wu only stands there still thinking. The silence that once was comforting changes into being tense. It felt biting, a strange coldness holding them all there. Then he leans against the doorframe, with a smile that spoke volumes of what was to come.

He speaks. “You haven’t stopped, have you?” Morro gets off the stony ground to glare and grind his teeth. Ronin sees sparks flies off him in his sea of anger.

“So what if we did? You don’t give us breaks at all!” Morro’s tone was demanding and angry, filled to the brim with the unspoken injustices Wu wrought them. He keeps going, his anger rising and rising. “I don’t get it. Why is it that I get more then Ronin. That he has to scramble just to get to my level!”

He takes a breath but Wu speaks, not letting him finish. “He doesn’t deserve it. Is it not simple enough for you?” Morro only narrowed his eyes in response.

“Ronin hasn’t done anything to deserve this. He’s being hurt for no reason-” And there, their master laughs. Airy but not quite smooth, they found it jagged and Ronin only shrinks backward. Ever constant fear and barely held together courage, he swallowed down bile and took a hold of his brother’s hand.

“No reason? You know little about him at all,” Morro chooses then to interrupt, refusing to hear anymore of the spiel.

“I don’t need to know.”

Master Wu laughed again, “He hides things, creates lies to trick you into caring. Doesn’t he?” A switch is flipped and suddenly, he couldn't hold onto his brother anymore. Ronin cries out, desperate to still hold onto him.

In a way, he didn’t look human. He was translucent, held together by nothing but wind. It was all there was. Spiralling air, spiralling desires, spiralling anger all formed into one. That was Morro and Morro was that. His brother glares harder at Wu with sharp glowing green eyes.

Ronin was almost reminded of Kichiro, but the only semblance were their eyes and nothing else. The fast growing winds were sudden and whips everyone’s hair. He almost couldn’t see through it yet somehow, he could tell something was different.

The first thing heard through the roaring windstorm was Wu’s voice.

“So I was wrong.” Morro responded by screaming in rage and lunging forward. He doesn’t have a weapon, so he only tries to punch Wu. But he gets sidestepped and misses, barrelling into the building. Morro gets off off the floor and keeps glaring with those shining green eyes.

Ronin doesn’t know what to do. Or what Morro has become. It’s different but nothing like anything he’s ever seen. Wu hadn’t reacted at all beyond his few words. They stay like that for a while, a deep tense silence there once again.

Ronin decides to walk to Morro, getting closer and closer until they were once again by each other’s sides. “Morro?”

“There’s nothing wrong, boy.” WU says over him, and he flinches but tries to hold himself together. “It’s only his unlocked potential. A telling sign of what he’s not.”

“He’s not- He’s not what?” Ronin asks once again holding onto his brother. The air somehow solidifying into Morro’s body. Wu doesn’t answer him, instead tearing his hands off Morro. Ronin gets shoved away and he falls hard on the flooring. He winces from the pain.

“Don’t touch him.” Morro finally says, still as the wind bellows around them. His anger is sharp and still there, fiery hot and surrounding him like wings on a seraph. “You don’t know the truth about him, you never did. Never bothered too!”

Morro took a deep breath and kept going. “If anything, you’ve lied to him. Telling him he’s safe and protected when he’s not. He just wants to live and you’re not giving him that.” Wu opens his mouth to speak but Morro glares again, not letting him a choice but to listen. “But you don’t care about what he wants, do you? Giving him punishment for something he had no control over.”

The wind fades over and Morro comes back to normal but even then, he kept talking. “I don’t understand, but I don’t think I want to either.” He shrugs in a show of nonchalance. “He’s not a liar, nor is he evil. You’re just a fool who thinks he’s right!”

He ends it with a sharp point towards Wu. Who doesn’t respond for a small moment, before chuckling a little. “Maybe not, but just as so he could be. Now about the green ninja.” Morro stops briefly but his stance remains stringent as ever.

“What about it?” He asks through gritted teeth. Master Wu waved his hand away in a dismissive gesture.

“Later, training is over and we have to talk. Alone.” Ronin looks to his brother and he’s grinding his teeth with an obvious show of anger. Except Morro nods then and they leave. Ten seconds later Ronin follows and waits outside the room they enter.

He couldn’t hear much outside the closed door, every word muffled. But he saw and felt the growing anger. There was nothing he could do to stop it, nothing that he knew that could help. He only had to trust Morro and hope that he would stay. Hope for his only anchor to be there and help him live.