literature

Gurren Lagann - Turn the Phase - 3 Provocateur

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By mjengels
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This is a work of fan fiction using characters and situations from the anime series Gurren Lagann, trademarked by Gainax Corporation.

For the most part, characters depicted in this work are characters created and owned by Kazuki Nakashima and Hiroyuki Imaishi. I do not claim any ownership over them or the world of Gurren Lagann. There are several original characters appearing of my own design, however.

The story I tell about the former members of the Gurren Brigade is my own invention, and is neither purported nor believed to be part of Gurren Lagann's story canon. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of the official story line.

I am not profiting financially from the creation and publication of this story. And I am very grateful to Messrs. Nakashima and Imaishi for sharing their wonderful story with the rest of us.  Thank you!

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THREE
Provocateur

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Leaping Stag panted as he ran, noticing the brow of the woman's image beside him knit with worry. Silently he thanked the Four Winds for blowing hard against his face, as they helped the sound of the cheering throngs become more distant with every step he took.

"I have come back to myself, Prophetess," he said breathlessly as he leaned up against a tree. "You needn't concern yourself on my account."

"I was not concerned, young one, merely confused," she replied in an ethereal voice.  Her long pale hair billowed out around the high collar of her pink longcoat whose open flaps hung down to the ankles of her tall boots. The flaps fluttered to and fro in the stiff breeze, revealing pink chaps underneath adorned with red stars over top of a lavender body suit which covered her curvy form. The light from the twin moons shone brilliantly in the night sky above, glinting off her hair with the colors of the rainbow as she tossed her head.  "I would have thought, however," she continued as she tugged at her chin, "that you would have used that moment where you had wrested your mind away from the Restless Spirit to address your people in your own voice. Instead, you ran."

The pigtails on either side of his face were plastered to his cheeks with his own sweat. The young man gulped great lungfuls of air to try to get his breathing under control. Blurred images came to his mind of him standing with his back to the blazing bonfire around which hundreds of his people had gathered. Leaping Stag vaguely recalled something about declaring victory over the insolent Others from across the galaxy who had dared to engage him in battle. His address had whipped them into a frenzy composed of equal parts celebration, determination, and perseverance to press on with this madness. That was what this whole business was - madness! Both he and the Prophetess knew it. But the words that had come forth unbidden from his mouth in that moment had not been his.

No, he thought darkly, those words had not been his at all.  After a moment in which he let his breathing calm to a less frantic pace, he reached into his cloak and drew forth a small flask.  He pulled the top out with two fingers and tipped back his head as he took a swig.    

"It is like the two of you are married!" the Prophetess blurted out as her eyes went wide.

Leaping Stag spat the stonewater he had hoped to cool his parched throat with all over the ground before he started into a coughing fit.  His forehead creased crossly, reminded once again of her consistent yet unfortunate bad sense of timing as he gawked at her. "Huh?" was all he could manage while his jag continued.

"Well, it is like you and the Restless Spirit are two who have become one. While I still existed in the First Phase, the one I cared for more than anything described much the same thing to me when he proposed we live together," she said as she smiled wistfully. "He said he wanted his eyes to become mine and my ears to become his. But we were both very different people. I was afraid each of us might lose ourselves into the other. I fear that is happening with you now, young one. The harder you struggle against the Restless Spirit, the more he turns me away. These blessed moments we can speak plainly are becoming rarer with each passing day," she tutted, crossing her arms.

"But I must, Prophetess," he replied after finally managing to get a couple mouthfuls of stonewater down his throat to quell his coughing fit.  "My people have forgotten our Ways so quickly since the Others came," he said as he recalled his explaining to her before how life on L'ayn'a Te'ni for generations had been simple and satisfying. His people had tended fields, hunted game, kept homes, raised families, and watched the turns of countless seasons. The cycle would repeat itself over and over like it had since his ancestors first arrived on this world over a thousand years before.

"You cannot hold yourself solely responsible for your entire people abandoning the teaching of your Elders, young one," she said consolingly. Her big, blue-green eyes drew wide as she regarded him, twinkling with a curious pink twinge in their centers.

Over the last three months, she had appeared to him frequently telling tales of Simon the Digger and the faraway world his own ancestors had set forth from ages ago. Simon and his band of brave warriors had defeated the ones known collectively as Anti-Spiral. Life for Leaping Stag's people had not been the same since, he had told her in return, as within days representatives from the neighboring races began arriving in their Boats Which Sail Among Stars. His father had been the one to meet the Others, being he was the leader of his people.

The young man shook his head. "They were swept away by the tide of the coming Others here to L'ayn'a Te'ni who desired to live in the manner they had on their own worlds. The Others began destroying what had been Created and replacing it with whatever they wanted, wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted."

"Anti-Spiral begged Simon with dying words to prevent the Spiral Nemesis," she reminded him. "That is why your father's plan to contain the uncontrolled evolution caused by the reckless use of Spiral Power was a worthy undertaking."

A moment passed silently between them as the Prophetess closed her eyes and smiled. "I once had a dear friend much like your father, young one, who also died doing what he thought was best for his friends and his people. Much like you describe your father, my friend was a sweet and a not-pissing-off person."

Leaping Stag chuckled, like he frequently did encountering her strange and often silly mannerisms. "Yes, but my father's plan caused people to recall The Great Warrior from our homeworld of ancient legend," he said as his face grew serious again. "His undertakings to protect his people were so extreme nearly all of my ancestors left and settled here," he continued reverently. Leaping Stag had been taught by the Elders to recall the ancient tale with sadness, as barely more than a handful of them had survived the dangerous journey.

"Then it is up to you, young one, to remind your people of their - "

The Prophetess was cut off by Leaping Stag's screams as the young man dropped to his knees. He looked at her imploringly as the unmistakable tingling in the back of his head heralded his will succumbing once again to the wishes of the Restless Spirit. He tore at his long black hair with both hands in a vain attempt to purge the wicked manifestation from his mind once and for all, but he knew ultimately his efforts were futile. The Restless Spirit had managed to resume control of his mind every time it had wanted. In the fleeting moment of his own consciousness, he cursed himself for being too weak to stop it.

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Nia sneered disapprovingly at the young man standing before her.

"My father's call for balance and harmony countered the Spirits' call to action," he chuckled sardonically, his voice thick with invective and malice. "His cowardice and indecision cost him his life. And that is why they permitted me to survive and succeed him!"

"There are Movings of the Spirit to which you are woefully ignorant, restless one," she replied, crossing her arms across her chest defensively. "Simon *will* ensure the Spiral Nemesis never happens. Those who insist on following a course of uncontrolled evolution shall be punished severely. Calling upon your people to use their Talents by following your example places you squarely in his crosshairs."

"You dare to lecture me about the Movings?" he spat back. "You came to us only after that terrible day, in which the Others' assassins rained bullets down on my father and me!"

"He was a good man from whom you could have learned much, as the path he had chosen led away from the Spiral Nemesis. It is tragic indeed that he did not survive, but you did. These events did not unfold thusly by mere happenstance."

"What is it to you, anyway?" he harrumphed. "You failed to warn us of these things beforehand. Some 'Prophetess' you are. More like a 'Doomsayer', I would say."

"You are truly a pissing-off person!" she cried, pointing at him with one gloved hand. "However, the names you create for me are irrelevant, restless one. They change neither who I am nor the role I must play. And they certainly will not change the fact the path your father sought to avert will lead to destruction for you and your people!"

"Lies, you speak!" he seethed. "You have spouted nothing but lies since you first appeared!"

"Is that so?" she countered cattily.  "Did I not predict the hawks among your father's contemporaries would raise you up to avenge your father's death? You fancy yourself their leader while they indulge your vanities, when in reality you are simply a doll with which they play these terrible games."

She paused a moment as her gaze turned toward her feet. "And when they have no more use for you, both your body and your spirit shall be discarded as though they were rubbish," she finished, her voice barely a whisper.

"It was the Others who started this. They came and ran roughshod over our Ways. They killed my father when he resisted them, and they nearly killed me! The Others began this war," he cried as his eyes flashed angrily. "If it is war the Others want, then my people and I are happy to oblige them. We shall dispose of them in the same way they have attempted to do to us!"

His eyes narrowed as he glared at her. "And we shall destroy those who would interfere, even this Simon of whom you speak so fondly, Prophetess."  He turned away and began the long walk back to where his people awaited him. "May the Spirits deal with me ever so severely if I, Leaping Stag, do anything less."

"Insolent! I was not finished speaking!" Nia cried, her irritation apparent as she appeared before him once again. "You underestimate the forces you are dealing with, restless one," she snapped while staring icily back at him, both fists drawn to her waist. "Your own lore warns if you persist in pestering the sleeping bears, at length they shall awake and devour you."

"So the sleeping bear sent his cubs out to challenge us?" he replied mockingly. "I was able to dispatch them single-handedly!"

"It was for your benefit I sent them away. And you should know those you fought were not mere cubs; they are both accomplished Spiral Warriors in their own right," Nia countered in even tones. "True, you fought exceedingly well on account of your Talent by existing in two Phases simultaneously. I removed them from the theatre of battle only a moment before they could marshal their own Spiral Power."

She winked slyly as she continued. "I can assure you if I had permitted the melee to continue, your original Phase of existence would certainly have ended."

As Nia finished, she smiled at him in the same silly manner she knew he found strangely endearing yet repulsive at the same time. "Then, restless one," she giggled, "you could be under my charge for all eternity! Would that not be wonderful?"

"ENOUGH!" he exploded. "These desperate bids by evil Spirits to deter my destiny and that of my people will ultimately prove useless. Prophetess, begone!"

"As you wish," she said as her image began twinkling away. "But I shall return to you soon enough."
This is the story of a man who had resigned himself to his Destiny. Using his talent to build things and mentor others, he lived a hardscrabble yet comfortingly familiar existence. However, Destiny had other plans for the man and his loved ones which none of them would fully comprehend. Destiny would assert Itself in his life once more, leaving no one untouched by its wake. A story by M. J. Engels.

EDIT 28 May 2014:  Enjoy some most excellent artwork by :iconredundantthoughts:  related to this chapter.  Then go show Sid some love.  Thanks Sid!  MJE
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