AN: Hey people, pretty new to writing stories, any comments are appreciated, plot ideas, grammar mistakes, you know...

Shiki slowly opened her eyes. It was almost pitch black in the room except for the light of the stars shining through a massive window. She lay there for a long while as if in a trance, unable to think of why or how she had gotten to the foreign room. She put her hand in front of her face. Flexing her fingers, she started to regain some form of thought. At first it was a trickle, but soon a massive flood of information came streaming into her mind.

She shot up from the bed and immediately regretted it. Shiki wrapped an arm around her rib cage as she felt fire erupt on the inside of her body. She brought her hand to her mouth to cover an oncoming cough. The violent motion made her body scream in protest. Searing white light blinded her eyes causing her to panic. She could only hear the soft padding of feet on a wooden floor before she felt a gentle hand push her back to the bed.

"Calm down, nothing is wrong with you that I can't fix," said a feminine and authoritative voice.

Taking a deep breath, Shiki tried to calm herself. Too much was happening at once. Only hours ago I was at the club and now I've been brutally beaten, abducted, assaulted by some very weird dreams and this lady is telling me to CALM DOWN!? What the hell is going on, she attempted to ask, but even to her ears it sounded like a massive jumble of gibberish.

The other woman sighed deeply and said," Ok, here's the deal, you have been out for three days straight after my partner found you getting beaten by some man in a grove of cherry trees. Anyway, the man's dead and you were severely injured. Your left lung was punctured but only with a single small whole, you had three cracked ribs and two broken ones. All of which have been treated expertly by yours truly. Currently you are in the Miagi Tower on the twelfth floor and you shall remain here until you are fully functional. Some of your body may still be somewhat unresponsive for the next thirty minutes to an hour due to some anesthetics that I gave you. Finally, even if you feel ready to roll, please don't get up because I really don't want to open you up again, got it sweetheart?"

With that the other woman left the room. Shiki started fidgeting the instant the door closed. For the most part her body was under control except for her feet which were beginning to tingle like when your hands do after sitting on them for too long. It was hard to believe that she had been out for three days, but her brain told her otherwise. It felt like she had overslept by a year and she had nowhere to put all this extra energy. As she resigned herself to just staring out the window, her thoughts once again wondered back to her dream.

It felt so real, almost as if it were another world that you could see under a microscope. It couldn't have been possible though. If her guess was correct then those events would have happened nearly ten centuries ago. There was no way she could have been alive back then. Maybe it was just a hallucination. It's not as if any of that stuff was possible, right? That kind of thing just didn't happen no matter what century you lived in, especially to her. On the other hand, she never thought that she would be in a stranger's hotel room with a rack of broken ribs.

Shiki's mind went back to something her mother had used to say," Without an open heart and mind, one can never truly experience life."

Finally, she groaned in frustration and carefully turned her body so that she was looking away from the window that taunted her with the thoughts of wind and freedom. Shiki let out a little yelp in surprise. Sitting casually in a plain, wooden chair, was the masked man. He sat there without moving even a single muscle. For a moment she wondered if he was even alive. It reminded her of a hunter trying not to scare away the deer by acting ignorant of its presence, yet watching it for the proper moment to strike.

They stayed like that for a long time, looking into each other's faces. Gradually, Shiki began to relax involuntarily. Something about him was simply comforting to her. It felt like they were old friends meeting together after a very long journey that only one was able to understand. Her gaze focused on the unseeing, fake eyes on the mask. Even though they were merely painted onto it, they still seemed to pierce her soul. It almost made her shiver with delight at the thought of what his real eyes must be like.

Without warning, he stood up and closed the distance between them. It almost caught her by surprise, but she could almost feel the concern resonating from his body. It made Shiki wonder, just who am I, and why do I keep seeing his mask everywhere? She could no longer restrain her curiosity. She began to slowly reach up to the edge of the mask. Just as her fingers brushed its surface, the door swung wide. In an instant, the man was gone from the room, exiting through the door that had just opened.

A low whistle caught her attention. A middle aged African woman stood near the frame holding a box full of bandages and other medical supplies. She walked over to the chair that the man had just been sitting in. Setting her supplies down, she commented," You know, you must be pretty special, he never lets people do stuff like that."

"You mean touch his mask?" Shiki asked, her words slightly blending together.

The woman chuckled in response. She dug through the box until she finally found what she wanted. Opening a small pill bottle she took out two tablets and handed them to Shiki who was now much more awake. Then, handing her a glass of water that seemed to come out of nowhere in particular, she replied," No, sweetheart, I mean get close to him. I've known him for almost a decade now and he has only spoken to me once," she said "When he found me out of a job and a licensed physician he told me that he would pay me triple what any hospital offered me as long as I could keep my mouth quiet and not draw attention to myself. After a day or two I accepted the job and when I showed up to our meeting place he handed me an envelope. In it was a check for almost ten million dollars and a note with these words written on it,"

The next time you hear my voice will be the day that you die. You can leave whenever you see fit, but if you chose to do so, I will no longer guarantee your safety. Without a good medic, a soldier is nothing but a dead man. From this point on we live to help one another survive.

"Wow," Shiki said," that's intense. Do you even know anything about him?"

"There are only three things that I have found out. First, he is by far the most dangerous and lethal fighter on the face of this planet. He has pulled us out of so much crap that even a cow would want to puke at the smell. Second, something has driven that man to the furthest of extremes. The way he fights is inhuman and I have not once seen him show the slightest hint of remorse in killing those who have hurt him, and third. His name is Jest."

Shiki just sat there with a blank stare on her face. She felt content to know his name. It seemed right to her, not like what people called her now. Maybe he knows something that I don't, she mused. Whatever, I'll ask him in the morning. He's hiding something, I can feel it.