KaiMei watched from a distance cheering her parents on in their battle against the demons. She had watched her parents fight time before and they had always prevailed. She thought for certain it would all be over soon and her and her parents could go back to being happy and safe. Something was different about this encounter though. The demons seemed to have more rage built within them. They were not holding back and her parents seemed to be struggling. You've got this. Please tell me you've got this. She thought as she watched from her distance. This will all be over soon. It did end soon, but not how KaiMei predicted. Before her eyes the demons had slain her parents. Picking them off as if they were just paper blowing in the wind. When she thought they were dead, she could a faint voice call to her.
"KaiMei," her mother called to her. KaiMei came quickly and knelt beside her. "KaiMei, I want you to see an instructor in the northern lands. He will teach you to be strong and how to use your powers." Her words came out chopped and full of pain. "I love you KaiMei." He mother grasped onto her last breath and it was done. She was gone.
"KaiMei," he father called after. "KaiMei you must be strong and learn from this man. Take my sword with you and learn to use it. You may not be able to wield it now, but…but he will teach you." Her father struggled to pass over his sword to her. KaiMei took it into her arms and managed to nod, wiping away her tears. "KaiMei, I love you and will always be watching over," her father's last breath was rugged and painful.
"I love you as well," she managed before bursting into tears. She was now screaming at the top of her lungs to release the rage built within her. She wanted nothing more than to destroy the demons that had done this to her parents. She no longer felt like the four year old she was but more like an adult. An adult that needed to avenge her parent's death. She raised her father's sword, the weight reminding her of her true age again, and set off to find her new teacher.
A month had passed since KaiMei's parent's death. She had asked villagers nearby for instructions on how to get to the northern lands. She was on the right path but was running low on food supplies. She took with her all that her parents had at the time but now she had nothing. She noticed a small animal nearby and held her father's sword in her hands. She was only four but even four year olds need to eat. Without the help of her parents to provide for her she was on her own and would need to learn to provide for herself. Standing above the small animal, she raised her father's sword above its neck. She looked away as she sliced its head off. KaiMei managed to build a fire and cook it. She learned which berries and leaves to scavenge for from villagers she managed to run into on her way to the northern lands.
After two months KaiMei was providing her own food and growing up quickly. She no longer had to look away when she killed her prey. She did not cry every time she thought of her dead parents but was encouraged to keep moving to find the man that would train her. A couple months would pass and she would feel hopeless. As if she would never find the man. She could not give up though. She relied on her father's sword to protect her and kept moving forward.
When several months had passed KaiMei came to another village. She found a villager and asked where the northern lands were. When she received her answer he knees buckled beneath her and she hugged the ground. Her hard work had paid off and she had found what she was looking for. She was nearing five and managed to travel north all on her own.
KaiMei went to villager after villager asking about the man that would train her. Most shrugged her off, not wanting to deal with a parentless child. Others were not sure what to tell her. She began to feel hopeless again and sat at the edge of a river watching small fish swim near the bank. She held her father's sword in her hands and stared at her reflection. Her hair had grown long and her face was dirty. Behind her reflection was the reflection of a man. Frightened he came to rob her she held the sword in front of her. More able to lift it than before, but still barely able to, she threatened the man she'd hurt him if he came too close.
"Hush dear and drop your sword. I am the man you are looking for. You are KaiMei, are you not?" His voice was sweet yet stern. He looked older than he should be for his age with sad eyes. KaiMei dropped her sword and wrapped her arms around the man before her. She had not felt the warmth of another body for a long time so she embraced it even more, pressing her body as close as she could to his. So close she could breathe in his scent. Her walls crumbled and tears streamed from her eyes.
"I've been searching for you for months. I got to this town and no one seemed to know you. I just didn't want to walk anymore." KaiMei choked up after a while of crying. She had not felt so vulnerable since the day her parents died. "Please, please teach me to use my power."
The man pet KaiMei's hair feeling how rough it had become. He raised her head to examine her face. At five years old she had bags under her eyes and seamed to age too quickly. He felt sympathy for a girl being forced to learn to be so strong at such a young age. "I will teach you. First lesson, always keep yourself clean. Wash yourself in the river. I will buy you new clothes in town," he eyed her to check for measurements. "When you are done, I live in the house across here," he pointed to a small cabin across the river. "We will discuss things further then." The man gathered up her clothes and left her to wash.
KaiMei entered his cabin and took in the interior. The basic things needed to make a house were here. A few small windows, stairs to an above level, a fire place for cooking, table, chairs, and other home accessories. KaiMei sat in a chair and stared out the window watching a bird feed it's babies. One day your mother will have to leave you and you will learn to provide for yourself. You will hunt down worms and scavenge for berries. She will leave just as mine had to. She swallowed hard to keep the tears bottled within her. She reached in the fire place, grabbed a rock, swung her arm back, and released it, waiting for it to impale the mother bird. A gust of wind blew her hair and the rock was stopped by her new teacher's hand.
"Lesson number two, we do not harm the innocent. They have done nothing wrong, especially not to you. There is no purpose in harming them." He dropped the rock back into his fire place. "For your first punishment, you will hunt and cook dinner. I suspect you are able to do so since you've been traveling so long and of course need to provide for yourself."
"I can do that," KaiMei replied lifting her father's sword.
"Not with that. That sword is for fighting in battle. Put it away. Use this," her teacher held out a small dagger. "This is for killing. Use it instead." He placed the handle in her hand while removing the sword from hers. "You will be taught to use this later."
In the woods, KaiMei had troubles using her new weapon. She was used to slamming down on her prey's neck from a further distance. With this she'd have to grasp it to slit its throat. She spotted a small animal and chucked the dagger at it. No luck, it hit a tree trunk and bounced off scaring the animal. "This is useless," she said to herself picking it back up.
"Try a new approach," her teacher appeared behind her with a stone in his hand.
"How do you keep coming out of nowhere like that?" KaiMei asked with annoyance in her voice. First this man took away her sword and then expecting to discover the secret to hunting with a dagger.
"Quiet and listen. This is the not so innocent because it will become your dinner. This can be hit with a stone." He dropped the stone into her hand. "See that deer," he pointed at the distance. "Hit it with the stone. Throw it hard and aim for the head."
"Why give me a dagger if I'm supposed to kill it with a stone?" KaiMei aimed and threw the stone as hard as she could. Being that she was only five she did not expect to kill the deer but it ended up momentarily unconscious. She sighed with disappointment.
"The deer is large compared to you, do not expect to break its skull open. Take another stone and hit it again, harder." He dropped another stone in her hand.
This time KaiMei succeeded in knocking the deer out for a longer period of time. "If it's not dead, what do I do with it?" She kicked the soil near the deer.
"Take your dagger and slit its throat." KaiMei followed his order obediently.
KaiMei and her teacher ate their dinner with ease. KaiMei felt accomplished learning how to use her dagger. "I have sharpened your sword for you KaiMei. When you are ready, I will teach you to use it properly."
"I'm ready now," KaiMei set her dinner aside. "Train me now," she picked up her sword still struggling to lift it.
"I said when you are ready. You are not ready yet. You still have much to learn and are much too weak to hold it yet. You must train as well."
For three years KaiMei was trained. She never lost sight of her goal to avenge her parent's death. She wanted nothing more than to destroy the demons that had destroyed her parents. She worked hard every day training and getting stronger. Her teacher taught her how to move quickly and quietly in order to sneak up on prey. He eventually thought her worthy enough to begin training with her sword. She learned quickly as she became better at obeying without questioning. At age eight her sword skill had become so high enough for her to take on small demons that would come by the woods near their cabin. Her teacher would often let her take care of them to help her become better at facing them.
"KaiMei, don't become too cocky. I let you fight small demons because I am here to assist if you need me. Do not think you are ready for anything larger. When you are older and stronger, like your parents, you too will begin to fight larger demons on your own," her trainer told her one day. KaiMei nodded at his words but believed she was strong enough to go off on her own.
"Master, let me prove myself to you. I believe I am strong enough. I can learn to defeat larger demons now." She was mindset on finding the ones that killed her parents. She had heard rumors from the other villagers that the demons were somewhere in the woods terrorizing the people.
"You are not prepared. You need to learn more and train more. These demons are stronger and larger than you. They could kill you in an instant but they will choose to drag it out for their own fun and entertainment. These small demons we kill will compare nothing to the ones out there," her master grew increasingly stern about his answer hoping it would help the words travel into her brain and keep her from leaving. After three years he grew an attachment to her and treated her like his own daughter.
Not wanting to listen, one night while her master was asleep, KaiMei slipped out of the cabin and head into the woods. She traveled for days with no luck of finding anything. She only stumbled upon small demons that she could kill with a simple slice of her sword. Until one night while she was cooking up a meal, she heard laughter from something larger than her rupture behind her. She grabbed her sword and sliced at it. The demon moved quickly and threw her into the air and caught her in its hand.
"Well what do we have here," the demon spoke to another. KaiMei recognized the voice as the one that had killed her parents. Panic struck within her as she realized how easily the demon had grasped a hold of her. It could have killed her easily. She wished she had listened to her master but decided it was too late to back down. She need to take immediate action to save herself.
"Well my, my. Could this be? The child of that lovely couple we killed years back," the demon sucked in the air making the trees bend around her. "Why yes, I recognize that scent. Scared, confident, and oh so naïve," the demon came near her, arching its neck to look down at her.
KaiMei panicked and stabbed her sword through the first demons hand hoping to distract it. "Well what is this? Could it be your father's sword? I remember the first time he pierced me with this. I knew at that moment that I would destroy him," the demons voice became a growl as its eyes flashed red. KaiMei had no idea what fate awaited her. She feverishly stabbed and re-stabbed the demon anywhere she could get a hold of. She felt her body fly through the air and the demons played with her just as her master said they would.
"What should we do to her first? Maybe we should boil her then bleach her bones to make a necklace then eat the flesh." The first suggested.
"Maybe we could break all her bones and leave her here to struggle back to home, if she has one that is. Strange you managed to make it here all by yourself. When we heard you were traveling north we thought you would die down south for sure. Say, how did you learn to hold that sword anyways?" The demon pulled KaiMei close to its face and she smelled its horrible breath. Not like the sweetness of her master's scent. This scent made her frightened, sick and brought back images of her parent's death. I will avenge you. She leaped out of the demons hand, sword in her own, and dug it deep within the demons chest. She heard a scream that scared the birds and caused the earth to shake. "What? How can this be" The demon looked down to where KaiMei had stabbed her sword. She had aimed straight for the demons heart and succeeded in destroying it.
The anger that had built within KaiMei as the demons taunted her was now transferred into the dying demon she was attached to. She watched as its body changed to a smoke and was carried away by the wind. She turned to the demon that had previously held her in its palm. It was staring straight at her with a deadly glare. "How could you, a small girl, do this? I will destroy as I destroyed your parents. Better yet, I'll leave you here to die slowly," Before KaiMei could move out of the way the demon had sliced her across the face with its nail.
What she thought to be a small blow was actually more. Lying before her was the half of her face the demon had sliced off of her. In disbelief she held her face in her palm. Pain shot throughout her body as she realized the skin was missing and she was touching nerves and flesh. The demon threw her into a tree and she was sure she could feel her bones break. "I should have destroyed you along with your parents when I had the chance. Now you will suffer and die here alone," the demon vanished leaving KaiMei to suffer.
Unsure of what to do, KaiMei drug herself across the ground in hopes she could make it back to her masters cabin and that he would take her back. She knew then just what a fool she was for trying to take on two demons on her own. Eight years old and she was missing half her face and he bones were broken. She was sure she'd parish in the forest alone to be food for the very animals she hunted herself.
It took KaiMei hours to finally crawl back to the cabin. Her master saw her from his window and she struggled to pull herself out of the forest. Her clothes were covered in blood and she was going more and more unconscious with every moment that went by. She reached the sunlight at the end of the forest and it burned her flesh. The pain from her face and broken bones was too much to bear and she finally slipped into full unconsciousness.
When KaiMei awoke her face was bandaged and her broken arm in a splint and her neck in a brace. Her body was numbed by the pain coming from her face. It was less painful now that her wound had been carefully cleaned by her master and the wind and sun could no longer burn it with every touch. She turned to see her master by her side and swallowed hard. "I'm so sorry," she managed before slipping under again.
This time when she came to, her master was placing cold water on her forehead. "Don't speak," he said to her placing the rag aside. "You suffered some serious injuries. You need to conserve your strength."
"But the demon, I-" She was cut off by her master.
"You killed its partner, yes I know. The whole village knows. It has attacked many other people after you, taking its rage out on anyone who comes close. What you did was foolish but you are in no condition to talk about this. Sleep you need your rest." KaiMei slipped under again.
When KaiMei awoke the splint was removed from her arm and neck but her face was still wrapped. She turned to see her master, her body stiff from laying in the same position for a long time. "You're up," he spoke.
"Yes," she replied looking at the object in his hand. He had been carving her a mask out of a piece of wood. He moved his hand over the mask and a shadow coating formed above it. "Is that for me?" She asked touching the bandaged half of her face with her fingers.
"Yes, the demon took your flesh off. I'm unable to replace it so this will have to cover it," he placed it in her hands as he began to unravel her bandages. The wound was washed and the mask was placed on. "This will attach its self to you. You should have some function left in your eye. I highly suggest you don't go looking for any fights with demons," KaiMei's body shook as she let out tears she had held back for too long. She thought about her dead parents and how it was her fault the village was attacked. She thought of how she was too weak to fully avenge her parent's death.
Her master held her close. "Shush darling. Everything is alright now. The demons are gone and nobody is upset with you. We all understand, some have been in your place," she stroked her hair and rocked her in his arms," When she ceased crying her pulled her out of bed and set her in at the table. "Now, you've been lying for almost a month now. I would feed you in between consciousness but you haven't had a proper meal since the attack. How about I prepare a meal for you?"
KaiMei's body was still sore but she managed to nod. She placed a hand over her stomach and listened to the grumbling noise it made. She had dropped a few pounds and lost some muscle she hoped to regain.
KaiMei lived with her master for another eight years, avoiding encounters with any large demons. Her master was aging so she began to help him more around the house, hunting and cooking for him. She regained the muscle she had lost and more. Even though her fighting skill went up, she refused to pick fights with large demons. She told her master that she didn't want to leave him again as an excuse when he would tell her she was prepared to go up in her training.
While hunting for dinner she was followed by a small demon. Realizing his presence from the moment he began to following her she drew her sword to him and demanded to know why she was being followed. The demon smirked at her, "The demon, the one whose partner you killed. He's found you and tracking you right at this moment. He knows you're alive and promises to finish you off this time. He told me to find you and warm you," the demon gave off a laugh that sickened KaiMei. She shoved her sword into his chest killing him instantly. She rushed back to the cabin to share the news with her master.
Upon arrival to the cabin KaiMei recognized a scent that made her frightened, sick, and made her remember her parents. The door to the cabin was open and it was too quiet. She ran inside. What she saw made her fall to her knees. The one person to show love and kindness to her since her parents died laid dead across the floor. A pool of blood was beneath him. Her body shook with tears and she let out a yell, the same yell she let out over her father's body.
"What's the matter dear? Oh my, it appears your friend here is dead," she heard a familiar voice call from outside the door.
"You, I hate you!" Rage was all that could be heard in her voice. She felt a fire spark within her and prepared her sword. "First you kill my family," she sliced at his arm watching it fall limp onto the ground. The demon was amazed he had not seen her coming. "Then you kill the closest person to me," she sliced off another arm and is fell limp across from the other. "I should have finished you off when I had the chance," she jumped up the demons spine and sliced at his face removing the same half missing from her own.
"What is this? How did you get so strong?" The demon tried to run from KaiMei but only manage to stumble into the trees beside it.
"I've been waiting for you. What gave you the right to destroy my family? I has orphaned at four because of you," she sliced the demon's foot away, causing it to fall back into the river.
The demon scrambled to get back up in disbelief of what was happening. "You killed her, you left me lonely," the rage in the demons voice raised as it swung its tail, knocking KaiMei over.
"Now, now I will end your suffering, and mine as well," KaiMei got herself back up and climbed on top of the demon. "I will destroy like I destroyed her. Like you prepared to finished off my father, I prepared to finish off you," KaiMei raised her sword and plunged it into the demons heart. She removed it and repeated her stabbing motion. She continued until the demon was a vapor and she was standing in the river.
"Father, mother, you are avenged," KaiMei fell to her knees; her clothes becoming soaked by the river, and cried. Her tears became part of the river and she let them. "It is done," she finally said once her body was drained from all its tears. She took a final look at the cabin where the dead body of the man who had trained her laid.
She vowed to set off, killing demons, and accepting no friends. She would not let a demon kill another friend of hers. She would not get close enough to anyone to have to share tears for them when they die. She only wanted to destroy the demons that had destroyed her childhood, feeling no remorse for each on she killed.