• “Shui-y, are we there yet?” Yuna asked sleepily, rubbing one of her eyes while she hung on to him with her other hand. She had probably slept a good seven hours.
    Shui walked along a trail in the forest, although the trail was mostly hidden with fallen twigs, leaves and occasionally he would come across a fallen tree altogether. “Almost, we still have to walk for at least a mile more until we reach the lake. Aren’t you in the least bit still tired?” He still couldn’t get over the Shui-y and wolf-y part. Whenever she said words and names that way, it always seemed to make him smile.
    She shook her head and clung to him, her arm that was rubbing her eye was now placed around his neck again. “No,” She replied, wondering how much longer he could go while he carried her and how exactly many more miles they had to walk, if it really was one mile.
    Shui nodded, climbing over a fallen tree, his boots breaking off pieces of bark, and that happened to make him lose his balance, slipping forward.
    The tree that he had slipped on was rather large, giving him time to swing Yuna into his arms on his front, for he landed on his back, breaking twigs at the bottom. The fall wasn’t so bad; his back hurt a bit though, but not enough to make her walk on her own instead of on his back.
    “Are you alright?” He asked, out of breath from holding it in whether he could protect Yuna or not.
    She nodded her head, looking down at him. “I’m fine. Thank you for rescuing me, Shui-y. Is your back hurt from falling?” She asked, frowning and pursed her lips.
    He shook his head while laughing, “No, I am fine as well. I’m just glad I could bring you across to my front so I wouldn’t crush you. I would feel horrible, with you only being with me for a little over eight hours, and then I would find I murder you. I don’t know how I could go on.”
    Yuna looked at him confused, hoping it didn’t show on her face, she didn’t want him questioning her. She nodded her head again, going to climb off of him so he could stand, but he still held her. She waited for him to let go, but instead, he stood up, still holding her in his arms, he didn’t even struggle one bit.
    “Shui-y,” She started, “I can walk if you don’t want to carry me anymore.”
    “No, no, it’s fine. I don’t mind carrying you. I used to have a little sister like you; she would be a little younger than you now though.”
    Yuna tilted her head. “Where is she, what happened to her?”
    “She… Died, same with my mom and dad,” Shui said, frowning some. “People came to our village we had and raided it. They left no one alive. My mom hid me, and right when she took my sister to go into hiding they were shot with an arrow. The arrow was so powerful that it had struck right through my sisters back and at that time my mom was holding her, the arrow head pierced all the way through my sister and went into my mom, right near her heart too.” He winced; the vision was all too clear in his head.

    The night was cool and the moon was full that night, giving off a luminescent light and the stars shone brightly through the almost pitch black sky. They were in the little hut, their home, by a lake in which they would go fishing and swim. He could hear the waves moving swiftly up and roll up onto the small sanded area, then slide back down into the lake until the water lapped up again.
    Shui, a younger form of him, his light blond hair slightly shorter than it was now was just simply playing on the floor with his nine year old sister. The small leather ball rolled back and forth between them. Their legs were out to their sides and their bare feet touching, making a small diamond area that prevented the ball from rolling out.
    His sisters’ small rounded face, still having a little babyish look to her still, was alighted with a smile, large brown eyes opened wide with delight, and her long dirty blond hair was slowly coming loose from the small string that tied her hair back. She looked just like their mom, with her long wavy brown hair and soft brown eyes.
    Then, the once quiet night, a scream had broken the silence. It had startled Scarlet, Shui’s sister, causing her to jump and throw the ball to the side. She let out a small cry as well, scampering over and cuddled herself into his green shirt, clutching it as tightly as she could making it all wrinkled.
    Shui had put a protective arm around Scarlet, but when he looked up to his mom, he saw that she was already standing above him and bent down and picked up his sister, taking her from his grasp.
    “Go and hide,” She muttered down to him, holding her daughter tightly in her arms.
    Shui nodded, speechless, he had no clue what was going on, but by that scream and some others that came with it, he figured it was nothing good. He quickly jumped to his feet, racing behind the chair that gave the most cover of hiding someone, even though it was very little hiding, it was still something.
    He saw his mom start to go over to the animal skinned blankets of bears, most likely to hide Scarlet under there, but before she could even make it all the way over, Shui heard a group of people barge in through the front wooden door.
    From looking out a little hole, he could see his mom turn around gasp, but barely made it through the first gasp before the arrow plunged into little Scarlet’s back and ripped out through her front into his mom’s chest, near where the heart would be.
    Shui held in his breath, he could much too clearly see the blood that shot out and formed a puddle below them as the two female’s fell into black death. The arrow just shooting into them, the crimson blood spilling out, the men stomping in and rummaging through things, smelling heavily of alcohol and something else that he couldn’t recognize, they were terrifying looking men.
    His breath became shaky, somehow he managed to keep it soft instead of it coming out in gasps or sound rigid and such. The smell of blood wafted over to his nose, mixing along with the alcohol and… Weed? The smell made him gag, he had to place his hand over his nose just to stop from vomiting and making the men take knowledge that there was still one more in the house.
    They looked around for a bit, rummaging through a few seed bags and some other bags, but they were mostly all seed bags for when Shui and Scarlet went out and helped mom help planting them. Scarlet and mom… She was only nine years old, his mom still young as well, no grey hairs were yet to be spotted, and now, as he looked over to the lifeless bodies, the small limp body of his sister and the taller and slender one of his mother, he knew they were gone forever and no one could help him. How someone could do that, kill a little girl; kill anyone for that matter, it made him sick.
    “Oi, there’s nothin’ here boss, want us to get moving. The whole village is gone, no one is left and what they have is all useless s**t,” A man’s deep voice bellowed.
    There was a moment of silence and all he could hear was the softness of his breathing.
    “Yeah,” A voice finally said a deep voice as well. “Let’s get out of this dump.” He went over and kicked the bodies once full of life. After he was pleased, he walked out, the other group of men following. Only when their voices could no longer be heard, Shui moved from his hiding spot. Slowly he walked over to his family and peered down. His mom and sisters’ eyes were wide open with horror. The very sight made him scared to death, his heart rate accelerated and he stumbled back, barely able to keep his balance.
    The eyes were wide open, stricken with horror, their mouths slightly ajar, everything about them seemed… Seemed dead, they were dead! He took more steps back before he finally turned around and dashed out.
    Dad and all the others, were they dead too? Wait, that is a stupid question, of course they—His thoughts were lost there as he looked around the area of what used to be his home now a completely bathed in the crimson blood. The homes were burned down, some still aflame, people were scattered across the ground and hands were hanging out of the window and out of the open doors. Already the smell had become of dead bodies and blood, the stench, it was barely even bearable, Shui had to hold his nose to keep from gagging and eventually vomit.
    From grown men and women, all the way down to small children, even babies. It made his stomach feel like there was a giant sick pit down in his gut. It was horrible, not to mention terrifying as he looked at all the bodies, some piled in heaps, others just laying there in odd angles. He couldn’t take much more of the sight. Everything was pitch black, only the moon gave light, barely enough, but it was enough to see the bodies, see the blood that has started to dry, see everything. Soon the soil will be soaking up the blood if it hadn’t already and then soon start to decompose the bodies which would soon turn into the land itself.
    Shui eventually did vomit, unable to hold it in any longer, he threw it up out in front of him. His mouth tasting of that horrible after taste you get after just throwing up and his mouth around the edges were a little wet. He wiped his mouth off with the sleeve of his shirt.
    Avoiding the new fresh smell and mess on the ground, he held his nose again, keeping the putrid out and away from his nostrils breathing in any of that. Breathing through his mouth now, he jumped over the puke, and wandered around the small village, and before long, he found his dad. Blond hair soaked with red, a puddle of it spilled out around him, his clothes were soaked and he was laying face down in the dirt. Suddenly he had remembered what his dad had said to him.
    “If I must die anytime soon for whatever reason it may be. I’d die here on my land, where I grew up and raised a family here. I would want to become part of the land that is our village, our home.”
    He stared up at him with curiosity, too young to understand what he had meant. His father had only smiled and ruffled his hair before walking off, hoe in hand and resting on his shoulder, heading out to the field to work.
    Now as Shui looked down at the man that had once raised him, taught him, loved and cared, just as his mother did, he realized that everyone was gone, everyone. He was the only one left of this village. There was nothing he could do. Running to the town closest to them and asking for a healer would be absolute stupid thinking, no one could revive the whole village, heck, no one had ever managed to actually revive someone and keep them alive.
    Tears stung in his eyes, but he didn’t cry, he wouldn’t cry, not ever, not even if crying was good for you, some had said. He soon a voice was ringing out and sounded awfully close too. He had thought they had all left and gone back to wherever they came from. Acting quickly, he bent down, grabbing the sword that was still sheathed in its plain leather black scabbard, gagging from the close ranged smell, and dashed off as soon as he had the sword in his possession. His father couldn’t even take the sword out to defend himself before he was murdered.
    Then he realized that a mage, some magic caster, someone had to have put a spell on the arrow that shot his sister and mom. No normal arrow could go through all the way and out to hit the other person. Frowning, he ran, the damn magic casters, they, they had killed his friends and family, all of them, so now where was he to go? He’d have to go to the nearest town, but that was in the other direction and there was no way he would go back there, so it looked like he would have to go to one of the farther away towns…
    Shui soon heard the tiny voice, soon getting louder and louder as he came to again and out of the daze as Yuna called out to him.
    “Shui-y, hey, Shui-y,” She called out, tugging slightly on a strand of hair. “Are you okay, Shui-y? You looked like you were sleeping and dreaming. Were you, did you fall asleep and have a bad dream, is that why you are crying?”
    He was crying? Taking off his glove for a moment, he reached up and felt his cheek. They were wet, he was crying. Putting the brown glove back on, he nodded to Yuna.
    “Oh, I am fine; I was just in a deep thought,” He muttered, he surely didn’t want to make her worry, or anything like that.
    She pursed her lips for a moment and nodded. “Oh,” Yuna merely said and wrapped her arms around his neck again. “Are we almost there, Shui-y? Are—“She paused in midsentence and listened, lupine ears twitching to the noise of something approaching and rather quickly. “Shui-y, someone’s coming and maybe more than just! I can hear them, I hope it’s not the fighters, they might be searching for me, my master must have noticed I was gone.”
    “…Fighters?” Shui asked, picking up his speed a bit more.
    Yuna nodded and replied. “The fighters, they are picked out by the masters of the plantation, ones who can fight really well. You can fight, right, Shui-y? The fighters always have trackers with them, so they are bound to find us, they know my scent well.”
    “...Trackers?” He asked again, he felt so stupid not knowing these things and asking her for some answers when she must be panicked with fear and must not want to talk about it. “You don’t need to—“
    “I know what will happen if I am caught… Death is what will happen, they will kill me, either hang me or put me through some horrible things.” She paused for a moment before going on. “The trackers are always with the fighters when they go out to hunt or find someone who had run away. They are mostly people who are half wolf, bear, some bird people, too, and sometimes they send out some weird animal person, I am not sure what animal it is, but they are really good smeller outers. They will find us, too. They are already close enough so I can hear them.”
    Shui thought for a moment and then stopped suddenly, letting her drop down from his back.
    “Shui-y…? Why are you letting me down? You’re not thinking about fighting them, are you? I don’t want you to get hurt!” Yuna tugged on the bottom of his green tunic. Suddenly she backed off as he turned around and then he shoved her inside a bush and poured some liquid down on her and the bush and then some on him.
    “Stay still, okay? I handle the fighters and trackers. They won’t know you are there unless you make a noise, so stay as still and quiet as you can.”
    She nodded and shifted around in the branches, getting in a comfortable position so she wouldn’t be moving much when they caught up to them. She really hoped he wouldn’t get hurt, and then it would be all her fault if he did. She was the one who made the fighters and trackers come out. She trembled a bit; thinking what could happen if they thought he was lying and he knew where she was. She didn’t want him to get hurt, not one bit, she really, really didn’t.
    Shui’s hand went down to the hilt of his sword, rubbing the smooth silver handle, fingers moving over a small bump, a green gem was embedded in the silver. He looked around as he gripped and un-gripped the handle. Eyes flashed around the perimeter, ears open for any sudden movement, eyes wide open for any flash of people, and hand, now gripping the hilt, ready to yank the sword out if needed. Maybe he wouldn’t even need to use it; maybe they wouldn’t come across them and move on. But, of course, he knew that it was too good to be true, and soon enough he heard movement in a bush nearby and to the right of him. Turning to his side, he waited for whatever number of people to come out.
    Bangs of green hair feel into his face, hair tied back in a low ponytail. His gold-yellow eyes scanned the area as he came out of the sharp branched dark green bush. To his amusement, someone was standing out there, some guy with long blond hair and rather light blue eyes. His mouth curved up into a vicious grin, somewhat cat-like you could say.
    He jerked his head forward, motioning the others onward. Time for some questioning, he better get some good answers too. He wasn’t playing around when it came to finding someone, especially a little troublemaking girl.
    He raised his head and sniffed the air as his men approached, dispersing from the bush and surrounded the young man who looked quite dumbfounded. The air brought his scent, along with a familiar one, the girls. Was she nearby? He wandered if the man knew where she was.
    His head dropped, grin still placed on his face. Joining the other men, altogether there were ten of them, including him, more than enough to take this young man on if he decided to put up a fight.
    “Hello,” He said confidently with a small hint of accent on his voice. He licked his lips once and tilted his head to the side a bit. “We are looking for a young girl, purple hair and somewhat green and grey eyes and about yay high.” His hand went down to about his hip. He was tall, and, frankly, the girl was small and easy to snap in half, something he would somewhat enjoy to do. “Have you seen her?”
    “What business do you have with the girl?” The blond haired man asked, eyeing him questioningly. “And may I ask your name as well, so I know who it is that I am speaking with?”
    Giving a light chuckle and running his hand through his hair, bangs pushed back and out of his eyes. “I am Soron, leader of this small group.” His mouth twitched a bit, but his grin did not falter. “She has run away from home again, I am just ordered to bring her back home safely.”
    The man’s teeth gritted some and he relaxed his hand from his sword’s hilt. Not speaking for a moment, he slightly shook his head. “I have not seen this girl nor will I want to. She might be trouble to me if I find her. Now that you have told me you are looking for this girl, I will surely come to seek you if I know of her whereabouts. Sorry I couldn’t have been much help.”
    Soron’s grin now did falter. He could smell the girl’s scent somewhere nearby and he could also smell it on him. He had been within contact of the brat.
    Narrowing his eyes, he looked around and then back to the man, glowering at him. “If I find you are lying, you will be found again and killed.” With that, he turned around sharply and gave out a small call, ordering the others to dispatch from the man and follow him.
    He knew the blond haired man was lying, no doubt about that. He would have the pleasure himself of killing him soon. The grin slid back onto his face. “Oh, just wait young man, your time will come to when you will no longer breath and see the light of day again. I shall make sure of that.”
    Shui waited until the man called Soron was out of sight. Now letting out a sigh of relief, he was glad he didn’t need to fight them. All the men had towered over him by about two heads.
    He took a step back and knelt down by the bush, turning around to face it and held out his hand. “Come on, Yuna. They are gone for now, so now it is safe. Let’s get you something to eat now.”
    Yuna’s frail arm extended from the bush and her small bony hand clasped onto Shui’s. He pulled her up and out, slinging her in his arms again.
    “We are not too far from the pond now.”
    “…Pond?” She asked, looking down a bit embarrassed. Should she know what this pond was?
    He looked down at her a bit surprised, but gave a slight smile. “Oh, you know, it is a small water area. Fish and sometimes bugs are living there; sometimes you can see the original snake every now and then.”
    Yuna blinked a couple of times and nodded. “Okay… A pond… Can we…go now?”
    Shui nodded and went on walking again.
    “What did the trackers and fighters look like?” She asked, playing with a loose part on her dress. “Who was their leader, too?”
    “Well, they were all rather tall. Their leader was bit frightening.” He chuckled. “The leader had green hair, held back in a ponytail and his bangs were all in his eyes. He was named Soron.”
    She winced.
    He scowled, so, Soron must not be the greatest guy to mess around with. He described the other nine men, and she said a name each time.
    There was Soron, the leader, experienced tracker and a well fighter at that. And, somehow, Yuna knew all their weapons. Apparently Soron fights with a spear or two. How you can fight with two spears is unknown to Shui, he couldn’t even handle one spear. Soron’s animal was a Jaguar, how nice.
    Next was Lyude, second in command apparently. Well fighter, not as well as Soron though, he fought with arrows. Shui had seen the bow and bag for arrows on the man’s back. He wasn’t a great tracker though. Seems like his animal is an eagle, no wonder he chose the bow and arrow, he has a rather good aim with his keen eyes.
    Danth; animal a bear, great fighter, likes to maul people, Shui thought anyways. Bears like to maul. And his tracking is pretty good too. Shui would just have to stay clear of the knives he throws.
    Gerith; animal a wolf, great tracker and fighter as well, and his weapon was the all mighty sword. Shui might have some serious clash with the one called Gerith.
    The other six, he would still have to look out for, but not as much as the ones Yuna had pointed out, were, Nox, Raiden; this reminded Shui too much of the raid that had happened at his village, Toshi and Tosho; apparently twins, Kei, and Rusl. Those were all the men Shui would have to look out for. Just what he needed: enemies.
    “Alright, so, these Toshi and Tosho, they are twins right? They normally fight together and double-team up against people?” He asked, trying to get these people known and how they fight and such.
    Yuna nodded, saying, “They do. But, they aren’t that best of fighters when one is not with the other.”
    “Okay.” Shui nodded. “I’ll just need a way to split them up then. But let us hope that they do not decide to come back and start a fight with us. We shall thank the Gods and Goddesses if that does not happen.”
    The lupine girl tilted her head some in confusion, but asked no question.
    “Here we are. I come here often to find food and such.” Shui let Yuna down and walked over to the edge of the pond where cattails and other plants were lined up against the shore. The water was clear and you could barely see the bottom, a deep pond, but you could see the shadows of fish darting back and forth.
    Yuna hesitantly walked over and looked in; staying away from the edge of the pond, worried that she might fall in and she didn’t know how to swim. She was sure Shui would come in and rescue her, but…
    He looked down and grinned. “You can just sit around here for a bit, right? That will be okay? Maybe you could find some sticks, too. Then we can build a fire and cook the fish.” He pulled his tunic off and took his boots off along with the tunic and tossed them to the ground so he was only in his pants now. “I’ll be back up in a moment.” Then he jumped into the water, disappearing beneath the liquid.
    She stood there for a moment before she picked up his tunic and smoothed it out and gave it a small fold. She looked around and ran over to a tree which had a branch she could reach. She tossed the tunic over the branch and watched it blow slightly in a breeze that had come before she went and obtained the boots, going back over to the tree again and leaned the boots upright against the trunk.
    Looking back to the pond again, she was hoping Shui would come back up. You couldn’t breathe underwater, right? You had to come up for some air sooner or later. Maybe he had when she was busy putting his tunic and boots by the tree.
    Yuna gave a small scratch to her head and looked around again. Shui had said to find some wood and that is what she did. She went off into the forest and picked up sticks that were lying on the ground after falling off from the trees up above. Then she heard it, rustling nearby and angry commands.
    Automatically, she dropped the sticks and looked around for a place to hide. The voice sure sounded a lot like Soron’s and she didn’t want to be caught by them and make Shui worry about what had happened to her. He could come looking for her and get himself killed.
    The sounds grew closer and she grew more frantic, eyes widened and breathing grew loud and came out in quick paces. She had nowhere to run to. Nowhere to hide, she couldn’t escape the men approaching.
    But then she felt someone grab her arm, not hard or in a commanding way, but firm and pull her up into the trees right when Soron and his crew came into view.
    She could see him looking around and the others sniffing the air, but, angrily, Soron gave out a growl and whipped around, walking away and the others followed, although one had looked up to the tree before going, making Yuna gasp and shrink back into someone behind her, still holding her arm. But then their arms wrapped around her waist, making her embarrassed and then she was on the ground again and whoever had her was running.
    She wasn’t sure of how it all happened, but she found herself back at the pond rather quickly where Shui was sitting on the ground, tunic and boots back on, hair dripping water and fish down by his feet. As soon as he had spotted her he lunged up to his feet.
    “Yuna,” He sighed out and walked over taking me from the other person’s arms. “Gods girl, I thought something had happened to her. Are you alright?” He started to look her over.
    She nodded and looked behind her, seeing some boy. “That person saved me from Soron.”
    Shui looked up from her, apparently now noticing the boy that was standing behind her. He soon looked back down to her again and smiled. “I’m just glad you’re okay. I have some fish now, don’t worry about the fire; I can go out and get some sticks. You stay here and wait until I get back.” He rushed off into the forest, pushing past the boy.
    “Jeez, a little rude here,” He muttered and walked ahead of Yuna, taking a seat on the ground and looked back to her. “Aren’t you going to sit down?”
    Yuna blinked a couple times and slowly walked a bit forward, keeping her distance from the boy and sat down.
    The boy scowled at her. “I don’t have any disease.” He smirked then. “What? Scared of me? I can be pretty scary sometimes.” He laughed out loud.
    What was so funny? She definitely did not laugh, just stared at him in a confused way. “What’s your name?” She asked, and then he abruptly stopped laughing. Had she said something wrong?
    He looked at her for a moment, a cold, hard stare. She backed away a bit, frightened, more like terrified by this. “Um…” Was all she could get out.
    Then the boy smiled like his glare never happened. “The names Takeo,” He said.
    Yuna, being as completely confused as she was could only nod at the time. Thankfully, Shui came back with the sticks and she sighed out in relief.
    “Yuna, can you go get me the fish?” Shui asked, dropping the sticks down near the middle, in between the pond and forest. Then he knelt down and piled the sticks up together and started to bang rocks together which made sparks.
    She nodded and eyed Takeo carefully who was now just staring at her. She was able to pull her eyes away from him and retrieve the fish and set them down by Shui, she sat down by Shui as well, half hidden behind him.
    “Thank you,” Shui said, giving a small smile. The sparks he had been creating soon came to the result of making a fire. He dropped the rocks to the side and blew on the fire some to get it started. Then he threw the fish in the flames. The fire licked around the fish, smoke rose up high, and the fire crackled, cooking the fish.
    Shui sat back, pleased with himself. “So, did he tell you his name?” He asked, turning his head to the side and glanced at Yuna sideways before turning his gaze towards the boy.
    “H-he said his name is Takeo,” She replied, playing with her hands nervously.
    He nodded, not looking back to her.
    “I was thinking she would remember my name. But I guess not,” Takeo said bluntly, shrugging his shoulders.
    “…Remember your name? She doesn’t even know you!” Shui exclaimed, getting in front of Yuna. But she slipped out from behind him and eyed Takeo again, walking towards him.
    “Why would I know your name?” She asked.
    He smirked and closed his eyes for a moment before opening them again and looking at her in a way no one had ever looked at her before.
    “Because…” He started and then he said it. Takeo said it.
    Shui’s eyes widened and Yuna shrieked, tripping back and quickly pushed herself back up from the ground, not bothering to brush off her already horrible looking dress. She ran behind Shui, using him as a shield from Takeo, clutching to his tunic. It couldn’t be.
    “Shui-y, I don’t even know him! I don’t know him!” She exclaimed, not daring to lay an eye on Takeo.
    Soron suddenly snapped up from bending over and examining a piece of hair he had found.
    “Did you all hear that? The shriek,” He said, a large grin ran across his face as the others nodded.
    “Of course, who wouldn’t hear that? I can easily find out what direction it came from too. Hell, I already know.” The man, Nox, laughed.
    “Let me take to the sky and find her, our little prey. She’ll be shrieking much more when we drag her back to the plantation. That guy better not make any moves to fight, or he’ll easily be killed.” The man, Lyude, said. No excitement in his voice at all. He wasn’t the most enthusiastic person alive.
    Suddenly, his human shape went deformed. He seemed to shrink, arms becoming feathered, brown and white wings sprouted from his arms, legs grew even shorter and his feet turned into a Y shaped form, large black talons escaped from his orange colored toes. His whole body became feathered in brown and white colors, his eyes becoming a bit larger and more circular other than his narrowed brown eyes. His mouth jutted out into a beak and his nose blended into the beak, nostrils on the sides of the yellow beak. Now in his eagle form he flapped his wings and took off into the sky, wings making the slightest sound with each flap. He soon disappeared from the others view.
    Soron grinned, looking from each man to the other. “Looks like we’re going to get our prey now, Takeo did a good job,” He said, and gave out a small laugh; the others all grinned from hearing this. They wanted to catch the little lupine girl as much as Soron did. And now they finally could.
    “Shui-y, now, there’s a nice nickname.” Takeo let out a long Hyena laugh.
    Shui frowned, but let that comment slide. “There is no way Yuna could be engaged to you. Absolutely no way, her parents are dead.” Just like his parents. “And why would some master of hers want her to be engaged?”
    The younger boy just grinned and shook his head. “Oh, there are a lot of things you don’t know about the plantation… Oops, just gave out way too much there.” Another howling laugh.
    “H-he must be from the p-plantation. He m-must be working with S-Soron’s group.” Yuna trembled, still clutching onto Shui’s tunic. She didn’t want this boy to kill her and Shui, but, he was just a boy… Maybe he couldn’t even kill them.
    Takeo clapped, amused. “Great job, great job, Yuna. You figured out what an older man than you couldn’t. It’s true that I am with Soron’s group. I’m not only the second best tracker they have, but I am also a skilled fighter. Even though I am only thirteen of age, I can handle a swordsman like you.” His hands reached down, inside the cape he wore, and when he opened the flaps of his cape, Yuna and Shui could both see the knives, daggers, and other many small, but sharp weapons. They were all aligned inside his cape, just hanging there. That was why he was wearing a long sleeved tunic that looked rather thick and pants that were rather thick looking as well.
    Flipping out two of the daggers, he flung one at Shui, who tried to move out of the way while he pushed Yuna to the side, keeping her out harm’s way. The dagger sliced across his shoulder, not a deep cut, but enough pain to distract him for a moment. When he happened to look back up, Takeo was already coming down on him, other dagger raised high above his head as he sliced it downwards.
    Shui scrambled back, but the dagger sliced down his face from his forehead to his right cheek in the middle. He winced for only a moment and his hands found the hilt of his sword, yanking it out from his scabbard. The blade shone in the little sunlight that found its way through the branches of the trees. The blade was silver as well as the handle, quite thin, but it would keep him safe in the battle.
    He had to act quickly, for Takeo didn’t wait for him or hesitate one bit for another attack. He brought his sword in between himself and the dagger that clashed against the blade.
    Takeo held his knife there against Shui’s sword, putting more and more pressure on the dagger, trying to make Shui cut himself with his own sword. The boy grinned, canine teeth filled his mouth, and another hysterical laugh escaped from his mouth. It occurred to Shui that the kid must be a Hyena or something, only that would make a bark like that.
    “How can a mere kid be so damn strong?” Shui exclaimed, clenching his teeth and pushed back against the dagger himself. It was true; this kid was rather strong, but how?
    Takeo shrugged, not breaking into a sweat as Shui was. “Guess it’s the animal in me,” He replied, laughing once more.
    “Alright kid, enough with the laughing, it’s getting annoying, you know?” Shui said, slipping away from the hold they had on their weapons, he swiftly pivoted on his foot, escaping from another cut he would get, since Takeo thrust the dagger forward, aiming to take off his head.
    “Oh, so, you’re getting better, huh? But it seems that I am the only one to have landed some blows on you. You still have a ways away before you even get close to landing a blow on me…?”
    Shui’s sword clipped his shoulder, a deep gash when he pulled the blade away. “Too much talking and way too much confidence in yourself, you should learn how to keep quiet.”
    Takeo’s eyes widened and then narrowed in irritation before he headed into more clashing with Shui.
    All Yuna could do was watch from afar, something she didn’t want to do. She wanted to help Shui, but how? Shui would probably get made at her for trying to enter the battle herself.
    She heard their swords clashing practically every minute, second even. Would they stop fighting soon? Or would they fight to the death? She didn’t want Shui to die and she didn’t want to die herself. Was she Selfish for not wanting to die and not worrying about anyone else dying but her and Shui and there was also Kaname and Ichigo.
    She looked at Shui, blood crusting his face and his shoulder. She didn’t pay much or any attention to Takeo, he was considered the bad guy here to her. Who would care if he died? He was with Soron and Soron was with the plantation and the plantation was just pure evil. A place where there could never be any peace at all.
    Snapping from her thoughts, she heard Shui gasp and looking over, wishing desperately she didn’t, she saw that the dagger Takeo had was embedded in his gut. Takeo whispered something to Shui and he whispered something back, something Yuna couldn’t hear.
    “Shui-y…?” She muttered, growing worried and starting to panic again. Should she help, go see if he was okay? She had no idea of what to do. Glancing to the fire that still burned, fish charred to the bone from being in too long, she silently walked over and picked up a stick that was half in the flames and half out, something like a torch. She kept her hand away from the flames, for fear of burning herself. She didn’t want to get burned again, even if the burn she had gotten was a small one. She stared at the flames for a moment before looking back up to Takeo and Shui. They were now locked in another knife/sword clash, her perfect time to go and help Shui! As she went, she was careful of the fire, licking its way down the torch, threatening to burn her hand if she didn’t hurry, and she could feel the warmth getting stronger and stronger, signaling that it was close, too close to comfort.
    With each step she took, she made sure it was with haste, she needed to get to them before they decided to claw each other’s throats out. She avoided the leaves and twigs and even places that she thought would make too much noise. Soon to her surprise, she had made it without Takeo noticing, but Shui sure did. He looked at her with eyes that said, “Get away and hide!” something like that. She wouldn’t go though and she soon ignored him, eyes narrowing and she looked determined and fierce for once in her small life. Not the little shy girl anymore. This boy was trying to hurt Shui and had lied saying that he was engaged to her, just to gain trust most likely and then when he was close enough to them he would then try to hurt them both. It wouldn’t happen now though. No one would get hurt here, well, anymore than they already were and the no one getting hurt thing would exclude Takeo.
    Yuna raised her torch holding hand, bringing it up against Takeo’s clothes, and hair, which soon caught on, igniting in an orange and red human torch. Takeo only had noticed it when it burned through the cloth and went to his skin, then he let out an inhuman yelp, no more laughing like a Hyena, like he was, now his sounds were pure pain.
    He dropped his knife, arms shaking, fury, rage, pain, Yuna couldn’t tell and Shui couldn’t either. Shui watched as the boy caught on fire ran, arms flailing, into the pond, sinking underneath the water when he was in, steam rose from the surface, but not for long. He hadn’t surfaced yet, and Shui obviously didn’t want to wait around until he did. He quickly pushed his sword back into the plain black scabbard and waltzed right over to Yuna, slinging her up and bounded off. He didn’t hesitate to even leave, the only place where there was fish most likely, the only food Yuna could have eaten then if they hadn’t been interrupted of course and there was water there too. She bet leaving wasn’t easy for Shui, she knew it wasn’t for her, but she understood at least one reason as to why he had decided to leave. Takeo was still there and he didn’t know if others would have been coming. But why did he want to protect her? Why did he protect Yuna and keep her safe?
    Right when she thought it was all over, right when she opened her mouth to speak after she spit out a short strand of hair from her mouth, the calling came. Not human and only one sound. It sounded like an animal, some bird, and Shui didn’t like it, because he picked up his speed and Yuna started to bounce up and down in his arms. Only once she looked back while she bounced and she really wished she hadn’t. There flying in the sky above them was a large bird. Yuna didn’t know what kind it was, but it sure didn’t look too friendly with talons sticking out straight towards them, beak gapping as it shrieked, and wings flapping wildly. Her eyes widened once she figured out that it wasn’t after any prey it had found, but it was after them. She had no idea what to do again. Completely helpless, that was what she was.
    “Shui-y,” She said, tugging on the back of his tunic, but it was already too late; the bird was upon them both. It was a rather pretty bird though. Its feathers looked smooth and shiny; the eyes were big and brown. She just stared as Shui shouted at her, and that was all she remembered. One thwack on the head and she was out while Shui was still shouting something at her and the bird still on them as Shui tried to fight it off. Such a pretty bird…