Written by LeMistressV
"Fate is dark…It will consume the world…It must be cleansed…Are you ready to face the flames?"
~ Fate has never been this ominous.
It had been a stormy night when the sounds of weapons clanked into the air. As lightning flashed into the night sky, two silhouettes were revealed standing apart from each other. The two feuding figures moved with ease as they each unsheathed their weapons. Each eyed the other with pure hatred.
"Give it up, Tsuzuki, you'll never win this battle. Just surrender now, and I might spare your family."
"What you say cannot be true. I will protect my family with my life, even if it means losing mine!"
"Then you've just signed your death warrant." The man swung his weapon at Tsuzuki with a fierce cry.
"Papa!" a little girl cried out in fear as the piercing sound of weapons clashing echoed throughout the night.
Lightning struck the sky, as more rain overflowed towards the ground. Thunder pierced the air, filling it with a deafening noise. The two figures continued to fight with no care about the harsh weather.
"Reija!" A woman grabbed hold of her daughter in a tight embrace, as the two feuding men charged at each other. "It'll be all right, love, don't worry," she whispered in the little girl's ears as she stroked her head reassuringly. But as she tried to calm the child, her voice shook and cracked. She was afraid.
"Die, Tsuzuki!" the man's attacker cried out, swinging his double-edge sword at his opponent. "Why bother continuing to live? There is nothing left for you!"
Tsuzuki blocked the blow with his own sword, his hands shaking from the impact. Still, he kept his grip steady, focusing all his energy on his next swing. "Not before I seal you, Shadow!!!" he cried out, slashing his sword at the attacker. With masterful skill, Tsuzuki slashes across his attacker's face, drawing blood. Crimson liquid splattered over him, and he winced. The blood burned.
His opponent gave a menacing growl and watched in fury as Tsuzuki swung his blade a second time. But this time, however, the Shadow blocked the sword with his own weapon, and sent it flying out of Tsuzuki's grasp. "Now this is where I send your soul to hell," it sneered, plunging his weapon down on his enemy.
The girl ran to her father's aid, her hands outstretched in a desperate gesture to reach him. But it was no use. With eyes wide open to the horror before her, she could not look away.
It was too late. The enemy's weapon plunged forcefully down against Tsuzuki's skull. The skull split open and blood burst out into the open. Tsuzuki was dead.
"NO!" the girl's mother shrieked, throwing herself at her husband's dead body. Tears burst from her eyes, and fell against the severed head. Weeping, she grasped the body and held it up to her chest, cursing in the air.
Unaware of someone behind her, the Shadow brought his weapon down a second time, this time on the mother's head. He laughed scornfully as he split her skull open wide as well, showering the small child with blood. "So beautiful!"
"MAMA!!!!" the helpless girl cried out, as her mother's blood splashed against her. But they were both dead, and their lifeless eyes merely gaped at her.
The girl trembled. She was alone now. She was afraid. She was…angry.
Her fists began to shake as she clenched them tightly. A sensation so powerful tore through her body and erupted into her head. Her breathing grew shallow, and her gaping eyes widened.
The Shadow glanced at the young girl crouched over her parents. Smiling, he walked over to her and lifted her chin towards him. Leaning over, he planted a small kiss on her lips and chuckled. "Don't be sad. You will be joining them soon." And he lifted his weapon a final time and gave a horrible laugh. "Die."
Blood red eyes glimmered and began to glow brightly as she looked up at the Shadow. "No…"
A blinding light erupted, and lighting struck. She had awakened…
"The wind is blowing. It is strong and mighty. It has no boundaries. It is free to roam wherever it pleases. That's what I'd like to be someday. To be free as the wind. To be the wind. To live a carefree life with nothing to hold me back. No longer would I carry such a burden, no longer would I live in such a horrible fate. To be the wind…is to be free…"
Reija sat in her seat with a perfect posture. Her dark eyes stared into nothing as she sat quietly, not really paying any attention to the droning voice of her teacher. Slowly, she touched a small locket hanging down from her neck. Moving her lips in a soft whisper, she spoke, "Mama…"
Reija snapped away from her thoughts as a mysterious voice entered her train of thought. The hand touching her locket dropped down to her side.
"Reija!" her teacher demanded, pounding his fists on her desk.
The girl did not move. Her eyes remained blank and emotionless, ever since that day…
Her teacher frowned. "Are you listening to me, Reija? You may be a new student, but that doesn't give you the privilege to daydream," he scolded sternly. His eyes focused on her in an annoyed expression.
Slowly, Reija moved her eyes to face her teacher. Her face remained expressionless, as if she had lacked a soul. "…Forgive me, Mr. Travis," she replied in her soft and wispy voice, as if too tired to speak any louder than a whisper.
Mr. Travis's glare softened slightly, although it still maintained an annoyed look. "I know it must be hard to be the new kid on the block, but you have got to focus on your lessons. I don't want to keep stopping the class just to tell you so," he added, adjusting his glasses.
Reija nodded, saying nothing. She was a person of very few words. Often she would merely speak one-liners, and sometimes she would not speak at all.
A loud ring erupted into the classroom, and students immediately jumped out of their seats. Quickly, the students filed out of the room without giving a second glance to the teacher.
Mr. Travis sighed and rubbed his temple. "Class dismissed," he mumbled uselessly, slumping against his desk.
Rising slowly from her desk, Reija gathered her belongings and left the room in solemn silence. Her eyes remained gapless and stared out into the distance. As she walked out of the classroom, the hallways soon grew hushed and the students began to whisper urgently to one another.
"…She's such a weirdo."
"Yeah, no wonder she's got no friends."
"What's up with the new girl?"
"I heard that she doesn't even know who she really is."
"Yeah, I mean, talk about amnesiac!"
"Look at her. She just stares out of nowhere. How bizarre."
"What a loser…"
As Reija passed through the whispering students, they immediately fell silent and resumed their whisperings once she passed. But on thing remained the same. All eyes were turned in her direction. Some looked at her with hatred, others looked at her scornfully. But most of them gave a fearful look and scuffled away from her as quickly as possible.
Reija did not acknowledge their existence. Like a ghost, she walked out of the school campus and made her way into a dark a forest seven blocks away from the school.
The local citizens of the town feared the forest and never ventured near it. Whisperings of unspeakable things occurred once a person dwelled within it. Talks of ghosts, demons, and vampires dwelling within the forest spooked the whole town. There were even rumors of escape convicts and serial killers living within its thick trees, waiting for innocent prey.
Thus, it was the perfect place for Reija to live. Because everyone in town believed the forest to haunted, they would never venture inside the woods. Her privacy would be saved.
Strolling into the forest, she made her way through a tangle of spidery bushes and trees. Occasionally, she would brush away cobwebs that landed on her shoulders and then moved branches out of her sight. And after a few minutes of walking in complete silence, she would find herself face to face with an old, rickety house at the very heart of the forest.
Although it was no Buckingham Palace, Reija called it her home. With broken windows and a shabby porch, it looked completely like a replica of a haunted house. The wooden doors and shutters were dilapidated and rotten, and there were plenty of holes in the ceiling to allow rain inside.
Twisting the rusty doorknob open, Reija walked inside.
Something soft plopped against her shoulder and hummed. "You're a bit early," a soft voice whispered in her ear.
Reija walked past the dusty floors and up a creaking staircase. "I'm always early," she replied monotonously.
"I figured. Why can't you be like any normal person, Reija? You're always so different from everyone else. Girls your age would be worried about boys, their complexion, the mall, and all that other stuff. Girls your age don't come home this early, they usually hang out with their friends to some park or something," the tiny voice whispered softly. It settled comfortably on the girl's shoulder, like a pet.
"Normal girls, you mean. Riin`e, have you forgotten? I'm not like normal girls. I don't have any friends," was her dry reply as she entered her room. Slowly, she opened a window, scattering dust everywhere. "I don't have time to fit in."
Riin`e sneezed at the scattered dust and hopped onto Reija's open palm. Riin`e was a strange creature, and the only one of its kind. It was shaped like a round ball, with miniature arms and legs. Its eyes were large and round, and always watery. It had a small nose and mouth of a cat's, and ears and tail of a rabbit. Yet the most fascinating thing about this creature was that it had small bat-like wings, as if having the ability to fly.
Riin`e was something to dote upon. Although its features made it look quite cute and harmless, it was not to be taken kindly. Sharp fangs bore down in its mouth, and it always craved the taste of blood.
Thoughtfully, the creature opened its mouth and suggested, "What about that boy a few weeks ago. I think he's okay. He was very nice to you – Can't you ever be happy?"
Reija shook her head. "No…never," she answered, leaning against the windowsill.
Riin`e sighed again and watched the sun blaze brightly.
The young girl looked away and shut the window. She closed the musty curtains and sat in the still darkness. Discarding her bag, she went to the kitchen and slowly turned the faucet on. "Riin`e close the curtains," she said, filling a teapot with water.
Riin`e did what he was told, and flew towards the curtains to shut it. "Someday you have to learn to adapt to the sunlight," he said in his small voice.
"I know," she answered, moving her hand in a circular motion. After a small moment, her palm lit into a small fire, hot enough to boil the water. Slowly and carefully, she set the pot down and grabbed a clean cup from the cupboard. "Have you detected anything lately?" she asked, sipping her tea, and passing an extra cup to Riin`e.
The small pet shook his head. "I've detected nothing since we've moved into this town. I'm beginning to doubt that there are any Shadows around this place. Eck!" Riin`e pushed aside the cup of tea with his small, tiny hands. "It's bitter!"
Reija continued to sip her tea without a care. "I don't like sweet things," she replied, staring into particularly nothing.
"You weren't like that when you were young."
Reija placed her cup down and closed her eyes. "I don't want to talk about it," was the dry reply as she stood up.
Suddenly, the windows slammed open as a strong wind blew into the house.
Riin`e braced himself with his tiny arms as the wind threw him back against the wall. "Reija!"
Reija stood her ground as her hair flowed in the wind. Clenching her fists tightly, she watched as the wind continued to rush inside the house. Without thinking, she moved her hands quickly, revealing a card. "Fire!" she called out, tossing the flaming card towards the rushing wind.
At that very moment, the wind ceased. Everything became still once again.
"Shadows…" Reija whispered as everything calmed down. "They've found us…"
Riin`e flew over to Reija's shoulder to perch on. "It couldn't be…could it?"
Reija said nothing, but shut the window again as sunlight entered the room.
Riin`e vibrated vigorously on her shoulder. He sputtered and gasped as he continued to vibrate.
"What is it?"
"Something's here. We're not alone," it answered, its vibration ceasing.
"Hmm…someone's moving in with us," Reija whispered, scanning the place. Cautiously, she opened the door to her right and peered through it.
Riin`e hovered into the air and peeked through the deserted corridors. "I don't like this feeling," he said sensing a strange sensation.
Reija stood where she was calmly. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on her surroundings. After a moment or so, she opened them, a calm expression on her face. "The sensation's gone. It'll be back soon," she said, striding out of the kitchen and into her room.
"I don't like this."
Reija threw her windows open and stared outside, after she had changed her clothes. "The sun's setting…" she whispered. Stretching, she yawned, relishing the feeling of the sun's fading rays on her. "The sun's been draining my energy all morning. It's time for my powers to come back." With a sigh, she sat on her bed and removed the ribbons on her hair. Combing it with a sharp brush, she glanced at herself in a cracked mirror.
Riin`e inhaled the cool air happily. "The night is young. Come, Reija, let's have some fun. A night like this is rare to find!" he said, flying in the air excitedly.
Reija shook her head slowly. "You go by yourself, Riin`e. The day's work has exhausted me greatly," she answered, setting her comb down and lying down on her bed.
Riin`e sighed reluctantly. "Alright. But you don't know what you're missing. Good night, Kage Reija," he said, flying out the window.
The Kage didn't respond, and fell instantly to sleep.