1.4: The Ibri Car

“Okay, already! I’m here!” shouts Pan, as she’s shoved forcefully into the train car by two hulking security guards. Badges over their breast pockets read “STS” (Sanlow Train Security). She glares at the guards as she lifts up her recurve bow from the floor. She sweeps the bow around the empty car. “There’s nobody here I could possibly hurt, so you can leave now!”

     “Case that thing, next time,” one of the guards warns. He and his partner leave, allowing the automatic door to shut.

     Pan sighs and massages her shoulders gingerly. “Geez, they treat me like I’m a serious criminal.”

     “Criminal?” a voice asks from behind Pan. The young lady turns her head slightly, then brushes her light brown hair to the side to get a peek at Rum. He strokes his belly as he steps closer. “What’d you do?”

      “None of your business,” she says. Pan looks Rum up and down, noting his sickly complexion. “Are you feeling all right?”

     “Just some minor sickness,” Rum answers dismissively. He sinks into a nearby seat, tilting his head all the way back with a groan. He snaps his head back down when he hears the cushion across from him whistle underneath its occupant’s weight. Pan fiddles with the sight on her bow.

     “Aren’t you supposed to have your weapon in a case?”

     “Relax, I’m not gonna shoot you. I don’t even have ammunition.”

     Rum sits up straight. “You’re here in the Ibri car. You probably don’t need actual arrows to use that thing.”

     “Oh?” Pan replies playfully, locking Rum in the reflection of her blue eyes.

     “Besides, even if you tried to attack me, you wouldn’t succeed. I can use my other ability without my sword handy.”

     “Don’t be so sure. I’m pretty accurate with this thing.”

     “Try me,” Rum dares her. He watches Pan evaluate his words as he sizes her up in return. She’s dressed in a pair of jogging pants and a rose-colored tank top, so her mobility wouldn’t be impaired. When she aims her bow at Rum and draws back the string, he clenches his fist in anticipation.

     “We are now departing Sanlow City. All passengers should buckle up and move around only when the train has come to a stop,” announces the conductor over the intercom speakers.

     Pan and Rum turn from the speakers to one another, then laugh together.

     “Guess I don’t have to prove you wrong right now,” Pan says.

     “Ditto,” Rum says.

     They laugh again as the train takes off. The Sanlow metropolis disappears into the distance from Pan’s window view and she frowns. See ya around, Sanlow.

     “Have you been accepted by Four Hearts, too?” Rum asks her.

     “Yeah. You said you have a weapon, right? You’re Ohaida?”

     “Slash Sulublei,” Rum says.

     Pan points to herself. “Slash S’nue.”

     “Would you like to see it? My sword?”

     “Didn’t you hear the announcement?” Pan teases.

     “I’m not a serious criminal either, but what’s one rule, right?”

     Rum climbs out his seat and opens the baggage compartment overhead. He removes his case and lowers with it to the floor. With two clicks of the latches unlocking, the case pops open slightly. Rum finishes the unveiling, lifting a buster sword from the cushioned interior.

     The buster sword is a couple dozen millimeters thick in diameter from its widest point. The hilt and pommel are standard in appearance, but the blade itself is quite unique. Embedded in the base of the blade is a glass disc. The middle of the disc houses a hollow dark circle, and five lines radiate from the circle to the sides of the disc itself. Two of the lines are directly opposite one another, while the remaining three lines extend to points between them, equally spaced apart.

     Rum attaches a leather band to the side of the blade and the guard with magnets then lifts the band over his body so that the blade clings onto him snugly.

    “What do you think?” Rum asks proudly, obviously awaiting praise. However…

The train suddenly picks up speed, which sends Rum tumbling back through the car. The rampant tumbling, in addition with disorienting speed, creates a negative reaction in Rum’s belly. The remaining contents within come out of hiding when he slams into the door connecting the Ibri car to the next one in line. The script on the glass pane reads “Vanusi Car.”