A small skinny child wearing tattered clothing was screaming, her desperate pleas were only met by a sad, pitiful look from her father, her mother had not even looked up at her since being handed a small sack of gold coins, she was leering greedily at it with more love than she had ever looked at her daughter, ‘’MUM, DAD HELP MEEEEE’’! Screeched the child as she was dragged off by her two masked kidnappers, thrashing and clawing.Tears poured down her cheek blurring her vision as she uncontrollably bawled her little heart out. She heard one of them say ‘’She's struggling too much, knock her out’’. The last thing she saw was her parents turning away from her, and heading back into the shoddy one-room house she had called home for her five years of life, the assailant swung his arm down hitting the back of her head. For a brief moment pain shot her body then everything went black.
The ninja academy was a large wooden structure with solid stone foundations, able to house a few hundred people if needed, however , at the moment it only held around eighty. It stood on top of an eternally snowy mountain, and the constant howling wind made the bitter cold almost utterly intolerable. It had been ten years since the girl had been brought to this harrowing pit of despair, and today she had decided she was finally going to be free of this place, even if it cost her her life.
The crescent blue moon hung in the night sky, dimly shining down, providing minimal vision. The girl cleared her mind of all the buzz, emotions and thoughts plaguing her mind and focused on the mission, just like she was trained. Leaving her dorm room she silently crept across the wooden floorboards of the dojo. Years of rigorous training had made her an expert at stealth, but this was a ninja academy full of alert, highly skilled sentries. In all the time she had been there, she knew of no one who had successfully escaped. Even with that knowledge, as the best the academy had produced, the young teen felt confident in her ability to escape. She had no real friends, so she was going for it alone, but that was fine, it was easier that way. Reaching the end of the hallway, the girl, seeing a shadow twitch, sensed the first guard was right around the corner. She leapt up and pushed against both walls with her feet, leaving her perched near the ceiling. The sentry passed under her, by calming her breathing, being dressed in a dark uniform, and not moving a muscle, the girl managed to avoid detection. After he moved far enough away enough, she silently dropped down and went out into the courtyard. After looking towards the main entrance of the dojo, she headed away from it towards a shed, seemingly with something in mind. Many had tried to leave through stealth and creeping past the entrance and over the walls, but none had succeeded, so she had a more dramatic approach thought up.
Arriving in the shed, the young ninja was greeted by an assortment of familiar chemical smells and the sight of many weapons stored all over the place. She immediately started grabbing gear, two Wakizashi, a couple of kunai and a pouch full of throwing stars. Then she walked over to where the smoke bombs were stored, they were made by filling a round wooden container with gunpowder and a few other materials, so it would quickly burn to release a thick cloud of smoke. She threw all the stored gunpowder around the room and then ignited it, quickly dashing out and hiding in the bushes lining the wall of the courtyard. For a minute or two, it looked like nothing would happen, but then the shed exploded, sending debris and a massive ball of fire into the sky for a second. Crimson flames started to burn down what remained of the walls and roof of the shed. Massive clouds of smoke billowed into the air and the recently awoken people started rushing around in a mad panic trying to put the fire out and recover what materials they could. The smoke began to settle in a layer above the ground, reducing the visibility substantially, and the sentries were either watching the fire or helping to put it out. This was the opportunity she had been waiting for. She dashed at the nearest wall, scaling it in seconds, and leapt off the other side of it, vanishing into the night.
Not long after escaping Academy grounds, the girl was swiftly trudging through the knee-deep snow when she suddenly dodged to the side! A sharp metal shuriken whizzed past only inches from her head, she whipped around and saw a familiar face. One of the senior students from the academy, ‘’AHAHAHAHA I KNEW IT WOULD BE YOU,’’ the trainee ecstatically shouted at her, whose only reaction was to stare at him with a blank expression on her face. ‘’YOU KNOW THIS WHOLE TIME I’VE HATED YOU’’! He screamed at her with a wild grin on his face. At the same time, he swung his arm and hurled a bunch of throwing stars at her, but in a flash, she drew one of her short swords and sliced them clean out of the air.
Then she started dashing away, upon seeing this happen the students' expression fell, and he seemed rather annoyed he pulled out a long katana and began to chase her across the snowy mountain.
The girl continued to dash across the white snowy mountainside ‘’STOP RIGHT NOW’’ the student yelled, growing ever frustrated at his constant pursuit, after a while, she slowed down and turned around the student grinned and devolved into a peal of taunting laughter, ‘’Are you tired now’’ he said with a menacing look across his face. The girl spoke for the first time to the student ‘’I'm starting to realize something, you're alone, aren't you? No one else is coming, right?’’ The trainee scoffed, “You think I need any help to deal with you!” With a short chuckle, she said ‘’Well that makes things so much easier, I thought there was no point in fighting you because reinforcements would be here in seconds, but if you're alone this will be easy’’ his face contorted into an expression of pure rage. He seethed declaring ‘’I hate you, from the moment you entered the academy everyone looked at you, to you, like you were something special, and the rest of us just had to watch in the background while you received all the praise and glory, while you were acknowledged by everyone in this world, and I never got a chance to prove that was I was better…” He was sombre for a moment then he looked her dead in the eye stating ‘’But they will acknowledge me when I bring back your head.’’ He raised his sword and charged her, crossing the distance between them in an instant and slashing the sword at her throat. She effortlessly parried his blade upwards with one sword, while attempting to slice his gut open with the other, but he backed out of the way at the last second. He continued to release a flurry of attacks, only for each attack to end with him barely avoiding a lethal hit. ‘’WHAT, WHY CAN’T I HIT YOU, HOW COME NONE OF MY ATTACKS ARE LANDING’’ he screeched as despair began to overcome him ‘’Have you ever thought, for just one moment, that I might actually be better than you?’’ the young girl said before sweeping his legs out from underneath him with her leg and stabbing a sword straight through his chest. Coughing up blood he croaked his last words ‘’I only… only wanted to be acknowledged, I only wanted someone to care about me’’ the light faded from his tear-filled eyes, the girl spent a moment staring at the corpse with a blank expression on her face, she had been trained to be unfazed by death. It was part of the job. Then she jogged away unwavered. She wasn't out of danger yet and this was no time to be distracted. Travelling down the mountain she finally got to the foot , marking the successful escape from that hopeless life and a step into new beginnings.
After days of wandering the wilderness around the mountain, the girl stumbled upon a small village, it seemed quiet and dainty. The houses were made of logs and stone and the streets had a decent amount of people wandering about. Most of the houses were nicely spaced apart, with vast expanses of fields connecting them. She could see the villagers working hard, toiling at the ground. Near the centre of the village, there was a big building, a town hall of sorts she assumed. Around that area, the buildings were more congested with shops and markets. The streets there were made of cobblestone, and she saw an occasional carriage sitting around selling interesting goods, possibly from other villages. She stood on the roof of a building just out of their eyeline. Deciding that getting spotted so close to the ninja hideout would make things easy for the ninjas to track her ,she wanted to get some supplies and move along quickly. Unfortunately, she didn't have any money or anything of significant value on her, for a moment the girl eyed a carriage full of goods, but then she quickly looked away, sighing. For the last few days she has been living off of what she could hunt, but she wanted some good travelling clothes and some proper food and maybe a good tent or some hammock. She thought there wouldn't be much opportunity for money-making in this place. Her thoughts were interrupted when she noticed a bunch of people crowded around a billboard muttering to each other. This was followed by a bunch of heavily armed Knights emerging out of the crowd and marching off into the woods covered in glistening plate armour from head to toe. For a moment she hesitated, but then curiosity seemed to get the better of her as she discreetly plopped herself down onto the street and wandered over to the billboard, where she saw the object of attention, a pride of manticores had moved into the nearby woods and apparently attacked a few of the poor families in the area. This was obstructing trade to the nearest village as none of the traders wanted to pass and risk their lives. All of a sudden the carriages around made more sense, the traders that were already in town didn't want to leave because of the danger. She had never seen a manticore before, but she had heard they were quite dangerous. They had human-like faces , a lion's body, a scorpion's tail and sometimes massive back wings of their backs. As far as the young girl was aware, lesser manticores hunted in groups ranging from two to forty. But what she found most interesting was that there was a reward for killing the manticores, it was one gold and two hundred and twenty-four coppers for each manticore tail brought to the village hall, the girl quickly glanced over at the Knights there were about twelve of them fully armoured with high-quality gear gleaming in the midday sun. She could tell they were from the capital or some other important place, and they all seemed quite young too, their ages ranged from around twenty to fifteen. The young girl stared off into the distance for a moment and then vanished off into the woods after them, melting into the shadows.
Patrick was a young Knight fresh out of training who had decided to accompany a famous lords' son on an expedition. It paid off beautifully, and all that it had been so far was touring a bunch of small villages and solving minuscule monster problems. The Lord was trying to raise his popularity among the common folk and show off, but it was all good fun. Today we were hunting manticores or so that's what the people said, half the time these sorts of things turned out to be nothing at all or a small wolf that attacked someone and had been exaggerated into a big mess, even if they were manticores we had all been geared up in the highest quality stuff to protect the young Lord, so I wasn't very worried about them all I had to do was watch out for their tails and block the sharp claws, even if they can get through our armour we were all still highly trained. The forest brimmed with life and brilliant greens filled the scenery, the trees, the grass and the bushes all blended together. Decorating the forest floor was the occasional wildflower and a few sticks and fallen leaves. They were following a path ,it was a dusty trail well-worn from the carriages with grass growing on the edges and the middle marking a clear path where many wheels had passed. We were walking along it, so we could announce back to the villages later that the path was clear, although he wouldn't mind if it was easy and nothing showed up. He was looking forward to the challenge of fighting some manticores and breaking in his new gear. After a while I felt something off. It had gotten quiet all of a sudden .Looking forward I saw a manticore standing in the path, red fur stuck out around its face forming a ferocious mane while its scorpion-like tail dangled over its body. Looking at its sharp, powerful, claws I concretely decided “ yep definitely don't want to take a hit from it, even with my armour on” everyone scuffled into formation, holding up their swords and shields facing towards the beast. It raised its tail, and I noticed on the end of its tail it had many quills sticking out of the stinger.Pulling my shield up I adjusted it better,ready to block the paralysing quills . It let out a terrifying roar and charged at the front line, one of my buddies Dave blocked with his shield holding it off while Frank leapt into action swinging a sword at it but with a surprising burst of agility, it lept backwards and out of the way of the strike.Suddenly a rain of quills whizzed out from behind the trees striking many of my comrades most of the hits clanked against the armour uselessly, but a few hits found kinks between the armour and four of us fell to the ground immobile, panic filled my body as I looked around I found out we were surrounded ten, eleven, No, even more, maybe as many as twenty. They were everywhere, using the loss of four people and the confusion of more manticores showing up, the beasts immediately took advantage of that. All of them charged in close slashing, stabbing, and stinging people.
Patrick leapt into action, slashing his sword and shielding the incoming strikes. In the next few seconds more and more of his buddies fell and, looking around, he was beginning to get surrounded. He quickly looked for the Lord's son, and he spotted the young teen whose face was contorted into a picture of terrifying pain, his arm had been shredded off, the bone was visible and blood gushed everywhere the rest of the Knights were quickly dying. It wasn't even a fight, twelve highly trained exquisitely armed, and armoured knights had been massacred within five minutes. He decided his only chance at life was to escape. He knew that fighting till his last breath would be the honourable thing to do… he had thought he was strong, he had thought he was courageous, but by now all he felt was fear. I want to live, I want my life to have meaning, I can't die here
Casting aside the honour he had lived for ,he ran. Unfortunately for the young knight it was far too late. Quills struck into him from behind and his body slowed, moving even the slightest inch drained all the energy he had. His muscles became stiff . He lay on the ground as manticores tore into his body, eating him alive, out of the corner of his eye he could see his own blood splashing all over the place he was thankful the toxins were numbing his pain. And as the knight lay there ,the only thought he could muster was ‘’please somebody save me’’ a lone tear rolled down his cheek, and his life came to an end.
After pursuing the Knights into the woods, the young girl followed their path by using her tracking skills. Luckily they were making things easy by walking along the path. She hoped she could kill one or two manticores without too much trouble because then she would have money to buy supplies. The girl wasn't in a hurry to catch up because she didn't want to be spotted by the knights, the less attention the better, especially from people like the knights who would be interested in enforcing safety by investigating suspicious figures. If any rumours started, she could be caught easily by the ninja academy. She was hoping to leave behind no trace at all while pondering this, that's when she heard sounds off in the distance, the all too familiar screams of people wailing in pain, she started sprinting towards the sounds and a minute two later she arrived at the scene. It was a bloodbath, disfigured corpses littered the ground everywhere, and the sight of blood-soaked manticores feasting on human flesh met her eyes. In total, she reckoned there were about twenty-five of them. Seeing the situation she didn't like her odds of winning against such a large group but then a shrill high pitch scream rang out and echoed through the forest, her head snapped across to see a mortified child staring straight at the mutilated corpses and instantly all the manticores looked up and began approaching the trembling child kid. She sighed and bounced from tree to tree, quickly closing the distance and plopping herself down in front of the child. There was no chance of outrunning manticores while carrying a child, meaning there was only one way out of this, she drew her swords out and told the child ‘’Quickly climb that tree’’! Before the kid even had time to react to her words, a manticore flung itself at the child. But she quickly threw a knife at it, striking deep into the side of the beast, but without a moment's pause, she found herself swarmed by a wall of poisonous quills flying at her. And two of the closest manticores pounced at her, she used her two swords to slash the quills out of the air while dropping a smoke bomb. She barely dodged away from the ferocious strikes of the beasts and the endless assault left her in no position to fight back or counter, it was taking everything she had just trying not to get hit, but soon enough the thick black smoke filled the area, and she disappeared into it. The manticore's sense of smell and eyesight was rendered useless. She however was trained to operate under the smoke, she threw out all her projectiles quickly taking down a few of them in an instant, then she proceeded to burst out of the smoke with every ounce of speed she could muster and in a flash she beheaded two of them and retreated back into the safety of the smoke, when all of a sudden a quill pierced her back as she focused on finishing off another one, hiding in the smoke she realised at this rate she couldn't kill the rest before the poison completely paralysed her, she thought about the child and knew if she ran now the kid was dead, for a moment she contemplated abandoning the child, but she wanted to regain the humanity that she had lost in the ten years she had spent at that place. Then the only option was to finish them quickly while she could still move exploding out of the cloud she slashed her swords in a flurry of blows shredding every enemy that came within her reach with no hesitation, darting from one target to the next pushing her body to its very limits and beyond, squeezing out every ounce of energy and putting it into slaughtering them. One hit her on her side, tearing out a good chunk of flesh with its claw, but she didn't slow down. As she continued her adrenaline-fuelled rampage, she took more and more hits. Her vision was going blurry and her body felt so heavy, stumbling around, she looked up. There were two manticores left alive, one was slightly hurt, but the other was in perfect condition. She decided to let herself fall to the ground, and then she closed her eyes the beast approached her to finish her off but with a final burst of strength, she snatched her sword swung splitting one of their heads open and with her last drops of strength she threw her sword at the final injured one as it tried to escape into the woods, it stabbed into its black and it dragged itself off. Then, with not even the smallest bit of strength left, she collapsed to the ground and everything went black.
Tahu was your average run-of-the-mill kid, he lived on a farm with his two twin sisters and his older brother which he admired greatly, he had turned eight this year and decided that he was going to take up more responsibilities, that's what had led him to the woods today gathering firewood and berries to bring back home. He had hoped that his mum might make them a nice berry and fruit salad if he got a good variety. So he wandered a bit deeper into the woods than he normally would. It was midday and the warm sun was comforting, the flora and fauna of the forest was bountiful and Tahu had gathered a decent load. He was staying near the path, so he hadn't been too worried about the dangers of the forest, but then he heard the most terrifying sounds, a loud roar followed by sounds of fighting and a few harrowing screams. After a few minutes it stopped and all he was left with was an eerie silence ‘’I guess it's over now’’ he thought to himself, then a rush of excitement filled him, maybe he could get a peek at some cool warriors or a fancy mage. He crept closer and peeked through the bushes only to see a scene out of a nightmare, there were around twenty terrifying monsters with red fur covering their body, four legs with powerful black claws and in place of a tail they had massive black stingers arching over them like a scorpion, their sharp fangs were soaked red with the blood of what had probably once been knights, Now, nothing more than mutilated red corpses with organs strewn about and bones sticking out. Fear and shock corsed through his body like a bolt of lightning, and before he knew it, he let out a terror-filled screech, all the beasts immediately snapped their heads towards him and oddly enough the first thought that entered his head was ‘’huh these are not some animal's eyes, they look human’’ some of them had brown eyes, some blue, and some green, the only thing they had exactly the same was that they were all looking straight at him with a bloodlusted look in them. Before he could do anything, one had crossed the distance and lept at him. As it soared towards him everything seemed to slow, he thought about how sad his mum would be, she had always been so soft, but he loved that because she was the kindest person in the world, he knew she would struggle to get over his death and the thought of how sad his mum was going to be racked him with sorrow and guilt, after all, she had done for him the only thing he was going to repay her with was a lifetime's amount of sorrow. His brother was strong and amazing and always knew what had to be done. His older sisters were pretty tough too. Eventually, they would be fine… why … why did he have to die before he could repay all the wonderful people in his life… why did he have to inflict such suffering on those he loved, it simply wasn't fair … then out of nowhere a knife stuck the flying beast, and it dropped to the ground inches away from him, it was still alive for now but the subject of their attention had changed a teenage girl fell from the trees almost appearing out of thin air she glanced at him and said ‘’quickly climb that tree’’ this was something he didn't need to be told twice he scampered up the nearest tree so fast that he later would have sworn, if there was a tree-climbing record, he would have broken it. The girl faced down the entire pack of beasts, and his heart sank. There were too many. Some poor girl was going to die because of him, he felt horrible, hoping that maybe at least he might be able to escape. The fight started she seemed to be having trouble, but then smoke filled the air and a while later as it was beginning to clear a bit he saw she was killing them one after another they were dying, a bit later her cautious calm her fighting style from before had completely changed, and she rampaged until all but one injured beast limped away. She collapsed to the ground. He sat there in aw for a moment, he counted twenty-four of them lying dead on the ground. Switching his attention back to the girl, he dropped out of the tree… She really wasn't looking good. He picked out the quills and wrapped her wounds to the best of his ability with his outer shirt. She was too heavy to pick up, but he couldn't go and leave her here while there was still the last monster around… He glanced in the direction the monster had headed and trembled with fear, but then he steeled himself, this girl had risked her life to save him, and now she was almost dead and in danger. He picked up a sword from the corpse of the monster and walked in the direction the beast had crawled. He quickly caught up to the beast, it looked so pitiful, blood was gushing from it. A sword identical to the one he was holding was impaled deep within it, he mustered up all his strength and courage charged it and sliced with all his might at its neck like he had seen the girl do.the strike hacked deep into its flesh and let out a weak roar akin to a pathetic squeak and died rolling onto its side. He pulled out the other sword and ran to his home, quickly explaining to his family in an explosion of words. He didn't think they quite understood him, but they realized it was urgent, so they followed him. His mum grabbed some bandages from an old cupboard. When he got there, his brother picked her up, after his mum cleaned her wounds. Wanting to make himself useful, he set about gathering all her weapons from the bodies, while his sisters skilfully skinned the pelts off the monsters and cut off the tails. ‘’They are valuable’’ his sisters muttered in response to his bewildered look. The girl was promptly carried home, the area was cleared, and the corpses were properly looted and burned. Upon arriving home, he was told to alert the council of the fate of the Knights. Which he hurriedly did. When he arrived back, he was greeted by a hug from his mum. Tears were rolling down his cheek. He vigorously apologized for getting himself in danger for being so rash, he promised her he would be more careful from now on. Her only response was hugging him and uttering the words ‘’I'm just happy you're safe. Embraced in her warm arms he cried and slowly relaxed, soon enough apart from the stranger lying in his living room life went back to normal for the next few days. The girl's wounds were cleaned, and his mum said that she was healing nicely, his sisters carefully fed her, and he still carried out his chores as normal. On the fourth day since the girl had arrived, the girl finally woke up.
The girl opened her eyes and found herself staring at wooden rafters. The room was nice and warm. She could smell some type of meat being cooked, but a child's voice interrupted the moment of serenity by screeching ‘’MUM, MUM THE GIRL IS AWAKE COME MUM, LOOK’’ she quickly sat up to see a lady who looked to be in her mid-thirties walking into the room holding a ladle. She gave a warm smile and asked ‘’Are you feeling alright’? You have been asleep for three days.” The girl didn't immediately respond but began to think back. The last thing she remembered was fighting the manticores. ‘’Oh!’’ the lady exclaimed, ‘’If you are confused about how you got here, Tahu alerted us as soon as he was safe’’. She teared up and suddenly began to cry. ‘’Oh, my’’ she said… “I didn't mean to startle you as soon as you woke up, but it seems I can't control myself.” Sobbing like a small child the lady threw her arms around the girl whose immediate thought was to squirm out of her grasp, but the unfamiliar feeling of a hug captivated her, and for a quick moment she let down her guard and relaxed in the comforting embrace, feeling truly at peace for the first time in years. Sentimentality began to overcome her and tears started to form in her eyes, but then she quickly composed herself and let go of the lady… but the lady continued her embrace and began speaking ‘’ Thank you for saving Tahu’’ she said ‘’ he’s my youngest child, and he came so close to…” her words cut off as she began sobbing the word thank you repeatedly. The girl was beginning to feel like she should be doing something to comfort the lady, but she wasn't quite sure what to do, or say. She had no experience with this type of thing. Eventually, she said ‘’it's alright… your child is OK … he's safe now…’’ After falling silent for a moment, the lady looked up, and she seemed more composed now … “we don't have much, but I'm willing to give you anything and everything we have. After a moment of silence, the girl said, ‘’what happened to the manticore tails? Did you get them?’’ ‘’Oh yes,’’ the lady said. ‘’All your stuff is here, your weapons and all the useful parts of the manticores.’’ The girl stood up and started to pack all her stuff. But the lady protested ‘’WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING’’ ‘’Well first of all I'm going to give the council all the manticore tails to cash in the reward and sell the rest of the parts to the traders .Then maybe find an inn’’ the girl stated. ‘’ NO YOU ARE NOT YOUNG MISS '’ declared the lady strongly, ’’you are staying here until you recover more.’’ The lady protested then she shouted ‘’DAGR get in here’’. Soon after, a black-haired eighteen or nineteen-year-old boy walked in, ‘’take the manticore tails to the council and collect the reward and then sell the rest of the parts to the traders. Remember to get a wonderful price for it’’. ‘’Right away mum’’ Dagr said with a grin on his face he looked at her and then lowered his head and ‘said “thank you so much for saving my brother I hope I can find some way to repay you if you ever need anything come to me.’’
Then he got up and quickly scurried out. It occurred to her that he was probably the proud type normally and this sort of thing embarrassed him, thus the hasty exit. The mother's eyes suddenly widened, and she exclaimed ‘’oh, the food’’ while scurrying into the kitchen she said ‘’sit and relax, the stew will be ready soon.’’ The girl wanted to argue with the way the situation had turned out, she didn't like relying on others, but the mum had just vanished. She sighed and relinquished hope of gaining control of the situation, her side hurt a lot, she still felt pretty terrible. Dagur had vanished with all the manticore stuff, and she was absolutely famished. She snuggled into the couch and took a proper look at her surroundings. The room was small and cosy made predominantly of wood, there were two doorways, a solid oak door that seemed to lead outside, and a doorway just covered by a curtain made out of some sort of animal skin. That one led to the kitchen, she assumed. In this room, there was a fireplace stacked with logs and letting off the heat and the smell of burning wood. The floor had a bearskin rug in the middle of the room between her and the fireplace. There were two windows on the wall that looked out to a fairly big vegetable garden. She noticed most of the stuff in this room was made with animal skins they had probably hunted themselves, and with the vegetable garden, they were probably almost entirely self-sufficient. They seemed to be able to get by, but from what she had seen, they didn't have much in the way of money. The girl decided it was probably about time she addressed the curious brown eyes peeking at her from behind the kitchen curtain. It's not like she had anything better to do ‘’Tahu right? You can come out now I'm not going to eat you’’ the child slowly walked out into the open and said “wow you really are awesome how did you spot me I was being as sneaky as I could ….” “Uhh, yeah, you could say I have some experience with sneaky people.” Tahu grinned at her response his eyes shining with innocent curiosity, she sensed a storm of questions approaching before he even started,’’ what's your name, where are you from, what are you doing here’’ she raised her hand before he could ask any more ‘’you could give me a chance to answer before you move onto the next question. ‘’I was born in the kingdom of Autochtronous, but I left there at the age of five, and spent most of my life in the mountains of Alcier. As for what I'm doing here in Laidon… honestly just travelling, I don't really have a reason.” The girl paused for a moment thinking about what she should say for a name, in the academy she had never once been asked or referred to by name, only an assortment of nicknames and her life before that … as soon as the girl thought about that an image of her parents flashed into her mind. She shook her head, snapping out of thought, and found herself staring into a pair of brown eyes… The girl quickly looked at the window, avoiding his gaze and stated ‘’ I don't remember my name. It's been over ten years since I used it. Tahu was about to interject with another barrage of questions, but his mom entered the room holding a bowl of hot stew. She handed it over to the injured young girl on the couch stating ‘’be careful it's hot’’. She reached out her hands and accepted the bowl, saying thanks … After watching the auburn-haired girl slurp up the whole bowl in minutes, the mother said, ‘’I'm serious about wanting to repay you somehow. Is there nothing we can do for you?’’ the girl sighed and was said ‘’ok then, I’ll have another bowl of soup’’ the mom seemed annoyed ‘’is Tahu’s life worth the same as a bowl of soup’’ ‘’look, you lot saved my life too I would've died anyway, I was planning on fighting there from the start’’ she said, but the mother quickly interjected ‘’i doubt you would be in this state if you had not been protecting Tahu.’’ The girl fell silent, clearly trying to think of some counterpoint. The mum stated ‘’this clearly will go nowhere soon, fine if you need something someday feel free to approach me, until then you're one of my own, you can stay as long as you want’’. Tahu beamed and was like ‘’mum I know how about we give her that thing I found the other day’’ ‘’oh yes go get it’’ his mum said as Tahu dashed off the girl perked up with a curious look on her face, the mother smiled and wandered off. Not long later, Tahu returned with a blue starlike plant that seemed to be some sort of fruit. ‘’What is that?” the girl said ‘’ I found it growing off a vine in the forest. It was glowing. I can tell it's got magic in it’’. Tahu said and then tossed it over to the resident couch potato, she caught it and began to inspect it, an odd buzz was coming off it, and she could see a dim glow still as if some strange energy was trapped inside. ‘’ Huh, it really is magic she said… what does it do’’ ‘’… No idea’’ Tahu said with an excited smile plastered across his face, ‘’we were hoping to sell it but no one knew what it was, so we couldn't decide the value, a few people were interested in, they were not offering much, so we couldn't decide what to do with it.’’ ‘’What am I supposed to do with it?’’ she responded ‘’ whatever you want’’ exclaimed Tahu. ‘’What should I call you, miss … ‘’I don't know ‘’she said. ‘’Make something up,’’ ‘’Uhat!’’ he exclaimed without a moment's hesitation, ‘’Uhat’’? She said, wondering what was with the sudden enthusiasm with the name. Then she realized “that's just your name backwards isn't it” the girl said with an annoyed look, Tahu had a sheepish grin plastered on his face. ‘’What's your mother's name?’’ the girl said with a blush on her face. Tahu was not quite sure what that was about, but he answered her question ‘’ ‘’Phkay,,, her name is Phkay Duraxson,,, there is a K in there but its silent’’, the girl paused for a second then declared ‘’from now on you can call me Kay’’ ‘’well it's great to meet you Kay Duraxson’’ the mother Phkay’s voice echoed from the kitchen ‘’ I'm honoured that you named yourself after me,’’ Kay went a bit red and hopped out of bed ‘’I’m going to look around here for a bit don't try to stop me I'm not going to push myself too much’’. ‘’Fine’’, Phkay said, ‘’but Tahu go with her and make sure she is ok’’. Kay left the room out the door and asked Tahu ‘’ do you have any animals’’ ‘’yes we have a bunch why’’’ ‘’is that a chicken pen over there?’’ ‘’yes it is want to go see them’’ he said excitedly she didn't answer but headed towards the pen she pulled out the fruit and a knife and cut out a small piece and threw it to the chickens ‘’WHAT ARE YOU DOING’’ Tahu exclaimed vigorously ‘’you're giving a magical fruit to a chicken it could be valuable’’. Kay grinned, seemingly finding the child's outburst amusing ‘’it's mine now, so I can do whatever I want with it now’’ ‘’but still…’’ Tahu said… ‘’ Kay sighed and decided to clarify further now’ ‘’I only cut off a small piece if they eat it, it's edible, animals have instincts for this sort of thing ‘’ ‘’Oh OK… I thought of that’’ Tahu said sheepishly. She chuckled a bit at the child's obvious lie and glanced over to see the chickens pecking away at the piece of fruit. Then she began to head inside again… ‘’Is that all”, Tahu said, rather disappointed that he didn't get to show her around. Kay reached the sofa and slowly sat herself down on the couch. Tahu continued to watch her for a moment, but then his mum gently shouted ‘’Tahu finish your chores before it gets dark’’. He darted out the door and said ‘’see ya later’’. With finally a moment of peace again, she stared at the fruit again and declared ‘’oh what the heck’’ and took a bite out of the fruit. It tasted quite odd for a fruit, and it vaguely reminded her of chicken. She finished it off, and it noted it didn't have a core or any seeds in it, and its blue skin was soft and edible. A few moments after eating it, a weird sensation began to rise inside her. Then it turned into a searing pain that grew worse by the second… She began to writhe on the couch she was trained to endure torture, but it was quickly becoming more than she could handle, she began to scream and rolled onto the floor agitating her wounds .that only added to the ever-growing pain, it felt like every cell in her body was exploding simultaneously. Phkay burst into the room in response to the thrashing and screaming ‘’WHAT'S GOING ON, WHAT HAPPENED’’ she ran over and started to try to relax the girl. Kay grabbed the edge of the pillow and a bit into it. Ten minutes later Kay seemed to be in even worse pain, Phkay exclaimed with a look of horror on her face ‘’she's going to die… she's going to die’’ then Tahu burst in screaming ‘’MUM, MUM THE CHICKENS ARE DEAD MUM’’. He then took in the surrounding scene and quickly put it together… she ate the fruit… ‘’mum she gave some to the chickens earlier, they're dead now…’’ tears began to roll down his face as he looked at her… ‘’mum I killed her I should have never given it to her…’’ and he broke down sobbing in tears. Kay spat the pillow out and screamed EXCUSE ME CAN YOU NOT GO KILLING ME OFF IN YOUR IMAGINATION, I'M NOT DYING, NOT NOW, NOT EVER. And she quickly bit into the pillow again to avoid screaming. Hours later, the pain had mostly died down, and she was completely drenched in sweat. She looked around to notice a crowd of worried faces. First was the mother Phkay then to her right was little Tahu, but there was more than that she hadn't noticed the arrival of the oldest son and two very similar-looking girls about three-ish years younger than her. She let out a weak ‘’yo wassup people’’ then she sighed and fully ‘’relaxed that was a trip I'm exhausted, night see you all tomorrow,,, and then she drifted off fed to sleep on the floor’’.
Kay awoke to nonsensical chatter somewhere outside ¨ my seed, my seed ¨ ¨no mine it's mine ¨ yummy food, oh look a bug, can I eat it, should I eat it ? I'm going to eat it¨ the accents were quite odd and all the sentences were very simplistic and mostly food related? She could not see anyone around, so she was confused as to where the voices were coming from. She got up and wandered out the door, the voices were louder, but she still couldn't see anyone. Kay walked over to the chicken pen and the voices started screeching ¨ human, human is it food time, do you have food we just ate, but more food ? Kay turned her head and started in disbelief … ¨” no way …¨ she stared at the chickens dead on and the cockerel looked at her and asked for food? For a moment she stood utterly dumbfounded, was she still sleeping, apart from the talking chickens everything else seemed normal ¨FOOD!? The chicken interrupted her thought process, SHUT UP I DON'T HAVE FOOD, she loudly exclaimed, fed up with the constant bombardment of food requests. Just as she was about to go back to thinking she heard it say as it wandered off oh, she doesn't have food. Wait chicken, it stopped in place when she said that, do you understand me she inquired, her disbelief reaching new levels.
Tahu hurried back from the cows he had finished feeding, miking, cleaning up the pens and all the other chores he had to do with them, he was eager to see if Kay was awake yet last night she had almost died due to the fruit he gave her poisoning her. He hoped she would wake up quickly this time and be completely fine. Just as he was thinking that he spotted her up by the chicken's pen he beamed overflowing with excitement and joy, then he decided this time he was going to succeed in sneaking up on her. But as he got closer he heard her talking to the chickens, he was a bit confused, he wouldn't of placed her as the type to talk to animals. It wasn't that odd, but as he got closer he noticed she was arguing about colours with the chickens ¨ WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S THE SAME COLOUR, wait… actually… You're right if I focus it actually looks different that's insane I have just been missing out on some shades this whole time? Yooo, is that red ?? Is that green?? That's crazy, they really are different… Tahu interrupted ¨ Kay, are you talking to the chickens? She went crazy … Tahu thought she lived, but now she is crazy. Yeh it's really odd she replied I can understand chickens now did you know chickens see more colours than humans? All of their favourite colours are red though, they seem to like it a lot.
Tahu could only stare blankly. He was at a complete loss for words, he wondered if he could snap her back to her senses he had hoped she was messing with him but the silly childlike grin of innocence on her face really made it seem like she believed what she was saying.
Kay people can't talk to chickens he said sighing, I can know though I know it seems crazy but ask me something only the chickens would know. He sighed and thought about ignoring her but then realized this could be it, if when she failed she realized she couldn't talk to animals maybe she would snap out of it and be fine. He tried to think of something but what would only chickens know uhh when did I feed them this morning. She repeated the question to the chickens, and they started clucking around. He did find it odd that they all looked at her when she spoke, but, but he guessed they were just responding to the unfamiliar voice then she said. There is some debate around this, most are saying it was five a clock, but a few are saying later. I'm just surprised the chickens know the time so well. Tahu grinned OK good guess Kay were you awake at that time? Anyway yeah that's pretty accurate, but it's my fault for making it too easy, let me think of something harder. Kay grinned and said apparently you forgot to feed them yesterday you came to feed them saw the dead chickens took them and then ran off and never came back. Tahu was perplexed for a moment when that had happened. She had apparently been screaming in pain for about five minutes. She certainly couldn't have seen him, maybe she had guessed because he hadn't told his mum he forgot he just fed them more today. Now that is really impressive. The chickens started clucking loudly, and she suddenly went serious and looked at him. Tahu, Kay said they said you were crying saying it's my fault earlier today… let me inform you it was my decision to eat it, and I'm fine now don't worry about that any more. She hugged him, and he started crying, but I gave it to you, you almost died again. I'm so sorry shush you Kay responded in a gentle tone everything I decide to do is my fault and decision, I'm sorry that I made you feel like it's your fault. After a while he calmed down, you know I've been here for like a week, and I've put you through a lot already.
Sooooooo, Kay said ….do you believe me now. About talking to chickens now, Tahu looked at her for a moment and sighed, I suppose I have to now. I can also focus, and then I can see a ton more shades and colours like I don't know why I've never been able to tell the difference between green and red before but as soon as I focus I can tell the difference between a ton more shades also I can like zoom in if I look far away and focus. That's super weird, Tahu said can you do anything else… This is going to sound weird, but I think that magical fruit gave me some eyesight and talking to chicken powers, both abilities that are hard to prove coincidently Tahu said … she narrowed her eyes and looked at him. Do you still not believe me …… Tahu said wellllllll if you really want me to be honest … It's not impossible for some strange magic fruit to do that, but it's also possible that you are having odd side effects from it poisoning you. She turned her head and then paused looking confused then proceeded to turn her head a complete one-eighty degrees and while her body was facing away she looked at Tahu he screeched and fell to the ground backing away WHAT …WHAT THE HECK. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, HOW??? She looked back normally and laughed, I just felt that I could do that. She performed the fun little trick a few more times solely for the purpose of terrifying Tahu he fell to the ground with dramatic screeches despite knowing she could do it the chickens scattered darting away from all ten commotion after she did it a couple more times for good measure his reaction was calming down as he got used to it, and she got bored of doing it. She asked ¨ say Tahu chickens can go really fast right? Tahu was like yeah, they are really annoying to catch …wait, can you do whatever chickens can do ? I guess we will see Kay said as she dropped her long sleeve off leaving her in a thin tunic she then dashed across the path she didn't like slowly pick up speed but rather exploded into a sprint and whizzed past Tahu at supernatural speeds, she continued for a few seconds before slowing to a regular pace and then stopping entirely she seemed rather tired man I've let myself go can't believe a short jog like that tire me, so quickly I guess it trades stamina for absolute speed, still very useful now this is a proper ability, she looked at the chickens … no offence they clucked angrily even Tahu could guess their indignation at being disregarded like that he loudly exclaimed THAT WAS AWESOME!!! Do it again he begged with a gleam of shining admiration in his eyes. She smiled and spent another few hours trying different abilities that she thought she might have, but she didn't find much beyond being able to use almost 360 surround vision, and she could heighten her senses. Her many failings served as a great source of amusement, and she almost gave up testing powers due to the embarrassment, so what if she couldn't glide sure it didn't make much sense in hindsight, but it had seemed worth trying plus she had nailed that landing, but, but that didn't, but stop Tahu from exploding into laughter from the attempt. She went around near the cow barns and began doing some basic stretches and exercises her side was beginning to close up again she had torn her stitches open with all her thrashing yesterday, she was covered with scratches and stinger marks of varying length depth and severity her whole body still hurt to move, but she was used to dealing with pain. Hundreds of scars accumulated from years of torturous training wrapped around her body, so she could easily blend into society, her face had been spared. The ninjas were nothing if not meticulous in their training and preparation; she had been raised to be a killing machine, but she had defied the fate they had given her, and was now out to discover what she wanted to do. The last few days had been filled with an unfamiliar warm feeling, and she found herself experiencing joy in the most mundane of moments and the most trivial things. Just as she walked out the barn, she saw Phkay wandering past with a basket of vegetables in hand “Oh Kay you're up” she exclaimed as an expression of relief flooded her face I really thought you were dying this time” then a look of concern shot across her face “what are you doing up and about, you should be lying down and resting” Kay tired after her morning escapades testing and discovered her powers offered little resistance and followed her back indoors. Not long later she was offered a wonderful breakfast, as she bit into the toast egg and cheese she thought about how even the simplest meals here tasted so much more wonderful than anything she ever had at the academy. She let out a big sigh as if all her troubles left her body at once and simply smiled, digging into the meal.
Kay after her meal walked into the living room and snuggled into the couch completely exhausted . she thought. I laughed and smiled a lot today. It had been years since that had happened. Probably since the first few weeks of the academy when she was five before that she had not really had a reason for joy her parents had barely tolerated her and never let her go out because they didn't want to deal with watching her so she had been kept indoors and in the yard for all of her young childhood she could remember. When she had first arrived at the ninja academy she had been excited and made friends and had fun. The exercises and drills were annoying and remembering all sorts of random information on plants poisons and anatomy had been really difficult for her. She had only been five. But she was surrounded by kids her age and that was something she had never had before. To this day those few weeks were some of her fondest memories in life. Before they had decided to remove attachments and such. The academy had decided that if they had nothing to live for and nothing had meaning they could sacrifice themselves for the mission and would obey and stay because they knew nothing else. Kay smiled thinking of tahus silly expression’s today, the exaggerated pure shock and how she had completely blown his mind was especially cool. Phakay had nothing but kindness and concern for her whenever she met and although she could be a little dramatic and emotional she didn't really mind. She had not really talked to Dagur but from what she had seen he was friendly and hardworking. Thinking back to her situation she knew she was about a weeks walk or so away from the academy and she could see the mountains off in the distance hidden among those hills was the dojo she felt she was still far too close but this was a random remote village and it wasn't even the closest to the range and they would probably expect her to disappear as far as she could. Kay glanced at the roof; she guessed she could stick around here while she healed as long as she laid low and didnt do anything too suspicious as far as she was aware the only people who knew she was here were the members of the family none of the villagers had seen her. She decided from now on while she was hurt she would train and experiment with the non movement related powers and get information about her surroundings and a location and other things such as mannerisms and common sense. If this had been a mission, all this info would be given to her as preparation. She decided she wanted to know the world and her surroundings well and find the small joys in life. Kay settled down as her mind continued to race jumping from thought to thought as she drifted off to sleep.
Kay found herself training at the academy again she looked up and her senior was her opponent for this mock battle. She wasn't really worried she constantly outperformed him and broke all his records a few years back she would have been more worried he had been one of the only students within a few years of her that could really give her a hard time. However, these days were over. She had surpassed him a while ago and he always had his biggest weakness these days. She stared up expressionless at his face he looked determined and even desperate to win his form was good but his need to prove himself and his constant second guessing his moves against her made him an easy opponent he always had a moment of hesitation and even with perfect form and good reflexes that moment was enough for her to easily grab the victory. She charged and suddenly found herself on the snowy mountain on the day she escaped; she was battling him again. The hesitation that was there was smaller than usual. She could tell that he had really made up his mind to kill her but today she didn't have time for a proper battle and she knew how to win this quickly. She taunted him saying she could win easily since he was alone this enraged him and he started to lose control of his blade resorting to simply swinging it with all the power he could muster. Kay dag deeper and told him that she was better than him and that was the final straw her swung his sword with all his might and she noticed his balance was off so she dropped under the slash and swept out his feet and thrust her sword through his chest while he fell.blood ran down her blade and his sword dropped to the ground sinking into the ankle deep snow. He croaked his last words professing his desire to be acknowledged but she knew that,she had always known that . The cause behind his weakness was his desire to be valued by someone ,anyone really. The senior trainee had made her realise why the academy tried to stamp out all feelings; his ambition was the reason he was ignored despite being one of the most skilled. On the flipside the academy loved Kay who had valued nothing but that had come back to bite them. She might have been the most skilled but she had no loyalty and he might not have been the best because of his weakness but he certainly was the most loyal.
Kay woke up and realised she had been dreaming, that made sense but why of him? She briefly pondered if she regettied killing him; he was someone she had known for ten years and had been a rival for just as long. But Kay cast the thought aside and she escaped and thats all that mattered. Getting up from her bed she felt two unfamiliar presences and panicked trying to leap up she got caught in a blanket that she didn't remember having and got tangled and fell to the ground pain shot through her and she heard two female voices bursting out into laughter releasing she wasn't in danger she got up and glanced around sheepishly. Sunlight steamed into the room through the windows indicating it was well past sunrise window was open letting a cold mountain breeze in that clashed with the warmth form the light and in the middle of the room stood two girls around thirteen years of age. They seemed almost identical but they had clearly put some effort into looking different, one had long brown hair that came down to the middle of her back the other had hair that barely reached her shoulders and came around the front of her face partially covering it but beyond the curtain of hair peeked out a pair of green eyes different from the other sister whose eyes were brown colour like tahu.she stood up off the floor and looked at the young girls morning kay the green eyed one a said are you feeling better? The other sister said. Kay mulled over the question her entire body hurt and that would usually be reason to say no but she went with the generic answer instead “ moring, i'm feeling ok yeh. I don't believe we have met before im Daim the Brown eyed one said and this is my sister Iav. kay paused for a moment and asked oh how come i never see you two around? Iav quickly laughed and said thats probably because you’re sleeping or unconscious all the time. Diem replied “we are out most of the day, in the mornings we help mum with the plants and cleaning then we go out to learn at the seamstress” oh is that in the village kay replied? Yup we walk out with Dagr out to the village, "He works with Malkirk the Farmer''! Iav interjected the girls grinned and were like we're off today come with us to the flower field. It's pretty epic and it's not very far Iav said. Kay forced herself to her feet and walked past the chair, out the door stopping for a moment to bask in the sunlight and observe the rolling green hills interrupted by the towering white mountains that pierced into the sky. The girls hurried out behind her and Kay said alright let's head out. She was looking forward to seeing new things and stepping out into a more peaceful life. The twins grabbed her hands and pulled her forward out of the property for the first time since arriving.
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