The sound of thunder burst through my ears as my blood spurted on to the forest floor. I lay watching as it stained the grass. The high pitch shrill started subsiding as my hearing gradually returned to me.

"Is that all the daughter of Azura has in her?" The old man taunted me.

I violently gagged up more blood as I tried to get back on my feet.

"You must be going senile, old man." I retorted as I brushed the blood off my smirking face. "I'm just getting warmed up." I could feel my legs wobble a bit, but I feigned composure. Snapping my head back, I forced one of my lush, sapphire locks of hair behind me. Palms open, I resumed my defensive stance. "Your move," I teased with a smirk.

"Saplings like you are a thousand years away from barking orders at me!" Sai shouted as he began to scream a ferocious battle cry. I could feel his power increase dramatically beyond human capacities. My heart skipped a beat as I realized I lost line of sight with my opponent. In the blink of an eye, he vanished. The forest floor grew quiet again. My body tensed up with apprehension.

". . . Move. . ." a mysterious voice echoed from inside.

Call it intuition or what have you; I learned to never question it, for this "intuition" was the one thing the kept me alive. By sheer instinct, my body obediently followed the command. Backed against a great oak, I twirled right in a tight spin; arms widespread. Not a moment sooner, the tree's trunk exploded. Like shrapnel, its splinters rushed by my cheek and through my cobalt hair. Unconcerned by this, I concentrated on my master, whom was returning to a neutral stance. Still in mid-air, I found my landing.

Master Sai already began to charge towards me, fists prepared to deliver a deadly barrage of punches. If I didn't play my cards right, I will soon share the same fate as that poor oak.

I felt like my heart stopped beating. As if any negative momentum would ensure certain death, but still, my body acted and reacted to the heat of battle without any real thought. It was exhilarating. My hatred of Sai aside, I must thank him one day for bringing a worthless "sapling" this far.

It was all different four years ago. When I lived with my mother, I was different.