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The Fanfics => H!P Fanfics => Topic started by: MsSmigge on January 02, 2013, 10:18:11 AM

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 48/ 10/31
Post by: MsSmigge on January 02, 2013, 10:18:11 AM
For I have too much time at work, nothing has happened in a few days, I am bored and my imagination just got the better of me, I decided to write a longer story. Also, for the New year, I just wanted to try something I have never ever done before.  :P Let´s see if I have time in the future to write this XD Christmas and New year are very quiet times, so no wonder nothing happens, but soon, it might get more busy again... But I'll do my best with this story!

Anyway, here's the prologue of this story~ I'll give more details about some things in the future, because without some information it might be quite hard to follow this story...
Here we go~







"MOTHER!! Mother, father where are you??!!"

A voice echoed across all the screaming and whining, when a young girl ran through a burning village, desperately trying to find her family.

"Saori, Saori answer me!!"

Soon, the girl found a very familiar building, which was under a fire sea. The girl kept on screaming her family and she even went inside the building. Inside she could see a collapsed roof and under that, something she did not want to see; her whole family, father, mother and her little sister were under that pile of wood.

"No!"

The girl screamed. She ran to her family only to find them lifeless. Her father's head was bleeding heavily and he had a blank stare in his eyes. What was visible of her younger sister was only a hand and by the angle it was, the girl could guess she was not conciouss, because that would hurt as hell. But her little sister could still be alive...
Then, she heard a cough. It was her mother.

"Okaasan!" The girl cried and ran beside her mother. She did not look any better than the others but she was still alive. But the girl did not know how much she had left...

"Ri...Ri-sa.... Get ou of here..." Her mother whispered. Risa flinched. She could never leave her mother or her sister!

"But I have to get you two out of here! I cannot leave Saori and you..."

"Saori is gone..." Risa's mother whispered. Risa froze. No, this was a nightmare, this could not be true! Soon, she was going to wake up and everything would  be ok, everyone would be alive and... But Risa knew better. She could never lift those woods and even if she did, her mother would die in the smoke and fire. Tears flowing down her cheeks Risa reached for her mother hand and held it gently.

"Okaasan...." Risa cried quietly. Her mother smiled weakly till she started to cough.

"Go now... there is not much time. The soldiers are here soon and if you wont get away...." The older woman started to cough violently but managed to catch her breath for the last time.

"If the soldiers find you, they will kill you... Go my child... And remember that we have always fully and truly embrace and cherishd you... And.... always... will..." With that, the hand in Risa's went limb and she could see how life escaped her mothers body.

Risa froze, but she did not get much time for mourning, for there was a loud crack. Looking up, Risa could see how there was more wood coming down from the roof. Suddenly Risa was back on the earth again and she run out of the building. She would have looked back at her now old home but immediately when she came out she saw a soldier troop which was coming to her. Risa started to run for her life. She did not know where she got all the power to run but all she could think now was one word: survive.
Risa did not look back but she could hear how the soldiers got in a battle, probably with their enemy. Risa ran and ran, she ran so long that she could not see the light of fire anymore nor feel the heat of it. She just ran and ran and ran....


Risa clutched her fist shut. She was sitting under a huge tree and waited that the rain would stop. She was wearing some kind of old rag, which she had found on her way here. She did not have any shoes, since they had broken while she was walking on a road full of small sharp stones. Her shoes hadan't been the best for walking, so no wonder they broke. Her long brown hair was hanging wildly on her face and some water drops fell down from it. Risa had journeyed for a week now and she was still broken from earlier lost of hers. She was in a good shape, thanks to the friendly villagers she had seen on her way but mentally she was not. She grieved for her family, she wanted to see them again, but she knew that was impossible now.

While Risa was grieving, the rain slowly ended and the rays of the sun lazily came out behind the dark clouds. Risa noticed this and looked up to the sky. The rays warmed her face and the sight in front of her was something very beautiful; all the water drops on the trees, bushes and grPosterior were glistening like diamonds. For some reason, the scene impressed Risa. And soon, she found herself on her feet and walking forward. She did not know where she was going, but she knew that she could not stay. She had to move forward, or she would die. She had to move on and survive and she wanted that. She did not want to die here. She wanted to end this war and find peace for everyone. Though she did not know where to go or where to start, she kept going forward. Right now, that was the only thing she could do.

-------------

"My lord! There has been an attack in a southern village! The place is totally burned down and there are probably no survivors..." A dark haired young woman said as she was kneeling in front of another woman. The woman, who was facing a huge window, was silent for a while. She closed her eyes and thought about the situation. Then she turned around and faced the woman on her knees.

"Do we have troops out there?" She asked calmly.

"Yes, my lord. We have sent team Alfa out there with some reinforcement troops." The woman said, bowing her head as she spoke.

"Good. They should take care of that. And please, get up my friend. You do not have to bow in front of me." The older woman said gently.

"Yes, my lord." The dark haired woman answered her king and was soon on her feet, still facing the older one.

"Now go. Give me a report when you get some new information. And please, stay safe."

"Yes, my lord." And with that, the dark haired woman left her king and went for her mission. The older woman sighed a bit and stared outside, where the rain was just about to end. The sun rays peeked through the window and made funny illustrations on the floor and walls. The king sighed again and closed her eyes. She opened them after few minutes and now, she had a determined look on her face.

"Again a big lost... This must end now."

-----------

"Oi! Over here! there is someone alive!"

Soon, two brown haired women, with samurai warrior suits without helmet, ran to a black haired young woman, who was helping a young boy to stand up. The boy had been under a pile of burned wood and had somehow crawled out from under it. He was in a weak condition and he had several injuries all over his body.

"Oi, Kamei. Look, there is something under that pile. Go check that, we can handle this." The black haired woman said.

"You sure?" Kamei asked, as she watched the two woman in front of her.

"Yeah, we can handle this whit Sayu. Go check if those over there need help. Or if they can be helped...." The woman with light long brown hair said. She smiled warmly to Kamei, who finally nodded her head.

"Un. Okay Reina-chan." She said and went to the pile she was asked to.

When she reached der destination, Kamei could see some hands and legs under burned wood, but when she go closer she realized there was nothing she could do; The people under this pile were burned so badly that there was no way they had been alive in a while. Kamei was about to leave for a next pile, when something caught her eye. It was a small peace of paper which was under one of the dead bodies arm. Kamei went closer and somehow got the paper from under the arm. The paper had burned a bit but was in a surprisingly good shape, thinking it had probably been in a huge inferno. Kamei watched the picture she had in her hands: It was a beautiful drawing of a family of four. There was father, mother and two daughters and they all were smiling warmly. A sad smile crept on Kamei's face as she examined the picture. How could someone harm people like this family was? Who could destroy such happiness?

"Eri?" A gentle voice came behind her. Eri whipped her head around still holding the picture in her hand. Reina and Sayu had came to watch what was going on and soon they noticed the family under the pile.

"Oh gosh...." Sayu whispered. Eri's face saddened and she watched the picture in her hands again.

"Hey, what's that?" Reina asked curiously.

"This... This is probably that family under that pile..." Eri whispered quietly.

"Oh...." Was all that Reina could say. She looked around, until she watched her friends again.

"Ummm... Maybe we should keep on working...."

"What's going on here?" A different voice cut in. The trio turned around to see, how a fully armored samurai soldier approached them. She stopped few meters away from them and watched the trio. Her face was behind a mask and she was wearing a black helmet, which had two horns growing out of it. The samurai was silent for a long time, waiting for an answer, but no one dared to speak.

"Well?" A cold voice finally snapped behind the mask.

"Ano... We were just doing our job when I noticed this...." Eri said, as she handled the picture to the warrior.

"Wait, Eri...!!!" Sayu tried to stop, but it was too late, for the samurai had snapped the picture from Eri's hand and was now examining it.. After that the warrior glanced the pile and the bodies under it. There was a heavy silence till the warrior threw the picture to the ground and started to briskly walk away.

"Now is not the time for watching pictures! We have work here!" She yelled as she left the trio alone again. Eri went and picked the paper up. She folded it neatly and but it in a small pocket in her armor.

"she is right. Lets continue." Eri said and continued to search for survivors, leaving her friends behind. Sayu and Reina changed some concerned looks together, before they followed Eri.

"Of course she had to appear just now...." Sayu mumbled to Reina.

"mmmmm..." Reina mumbled back. As she walked forward, she turned to look behind her, where she could see the samurai walking away from them. The warrior stopped and gave orders to some troops which bowed and left immediately. Then the samurai stayed still and Reina could see how the warriors head moved a bit which revealed, that she was looking up to the sky, where the sun rays peeked behind the dark clouds.

"Yeah... Ai-chan indeed had a bad timing..."

----------

"Move your filthy Posterior!"

A roar boomed in a big dark hall. A person entered the hall and the people in there turned to watch as the newcomer was pushing some servants out of  her way, as she approached a big chair in the back of the hall..

"Damn it, always on my way...."

The newcomer, who had long dark brown hair and some dark clothes on, growled as she walked through the hall. There were three persons in front of her in a line. The new person stopped in front of them, crossed her hands and watched all of them darkly.

"Well?" She growled.

"My Master, the order you gave to us, is filled." A black haired woman in an armor said, bowing deeply.

"Yes, we burned the village and killed everyone who was on our way." The woman next to her said, who in turn had light brown hair said, also doing a deep bow. She was wearing armor too, a bit heavier than the other woman though. The third one. who was in a full armor with helmet and all, stayed silent for a while, till she took of her helmet and whipped her long light brown hair away from her face.

"There were some soldiers and we had to fight, but they got more damage than we did." She said, her voice emotionless and cold. The person in front of the three woman, who had just given some information, stayed silent for a while, before she cracked into an evil laugh.

"Excellent. Now we have done some big harm for them, and their energy is used to help the people in the village who were under attack. What a waste of time on energy." She said and started walking again, till she reached a big chair which had a huge golden decorations on it. The woman sat down and faced the trio again.

"Captain," The person, who had taken her helmt of a few seconds a go, turned her head towards the speaker. "send a new group out there. They may not recover from the last attack. Understood?" The captain just nodded her head and left the room. On her way, she put the helmet back on and kicked some servants out of her way.

"And you two,"

The two persons left, stiffened and waited for orders.

"Lead some groups to investigate what happens out there. Report me as soon as you can. Now, away from my sight!"

The two women left hurriedly, leaving their master sitting in the chair alone. When the soldiers were gone, the other persons in the room left as well, leaving the woman alone. But she was not alone for a long time. The lblack haired woman snapped her fingers once and in no time, a very skinny woman came with a glPosterior, which contained some kind of liquid. The clPosterior was taken from her and the skinny woman hurried back in the shadows, as fast as she could.

"Lets see how long it takes, before you and your filthy people fall under my command." She talked to herself while occPosteriorionally sipping some more liquid from the glPosterior. When the container was empty, she threw it in front of her on the ground. Again, there was immediately running noices and this time two servants came out from the shawods, to clean their master's glPosterior away. The woman watched the servants coldly, but soon, a very wicked smile crept on her face.

"Yes, very soon... Very soon, you'll be all under my control."


The mask of soul


Tadaaa~ This is how it starts XD And for the first information to you, this story is dated in 1180-1185 and the world is not our world but some other very same kind of... Kinda like Final fantasy but there is not so much magic, monsters and stuff like that. Magic exists, but it's not the main thing in this story and it's used/showed only once in a while.
And I wont tell you everything immediately  :twisted: I'll reveal the persons, relationships etc. bit by bit. And yes, the king is SHE. xD Laughing Out Loud, you'll found out more about it later~

Anyways, I hope you will enjoy this story! And happy New year everyone!

Ps. Now I really understand why people, who have written fanfics, like to tease their readers with keeping them in dark/cliffhangers etc. Damn this is fun! XD OkLaughing Out Loud, please do not get me wrong....  :nervous
Title: Re: The mask of soul//Prologue
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 02, 2013, 01:57:49 PM
Looks promising so far, although I am a bit confused as to who some of the characters are/might be.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//Prologue
Post by: kuro_808 on January 02, 2013, 07:26:24 PM
Nice start :thumbup

I agree with rndy about the characters and as for the setting you might want to describe the location with something unusual so it doesn't seem historical :nervous
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 1/ 05/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 04, 2013, 11:53:59 PM
Chapter 1 -  The bad luck just kept haunting her


It was quite chilly, considering it was almost summer. Usually at this time it was so warm, that people could easily walk in lighter clothes,  but now, the temperature was very close to zero and the blowing wind didn't make things any better. Risa cursed in her mind as a new blow of wind hit her again. She didn't have very much clothes on and what she had, were very thin ones. Walking helped to keep her warm somehow, but she was freezing all the time. She was shivering so badly, that even her teeth were clattering. Damn this county's weather...

Risa had walked for so long now, that she had no idea where she was. She hadn't even met any villagers, who would have helped her, in a long time. Now, she was in some kind of a forest, which had small foodpaths here and there. Someone else had been here too, so maybe, if she followed these roads, she would meet someone or at least get to a village or something.

After five minutes more walking, Risa reached a small open where was a pond. The pond was surrounded by rocks and there were also some kind of small trees around it. Oh, how Risa would've loved to sit on one of those rocks and rest for a while. But she could not; if she stopped now, she would be so tired, that once she would sit on those rocks, she would not get up again. And if she couldn't move, she would really freeze to death, so she really had to keep on moving on.
Just when Risa was about to pass the rocks, bad luck liked to tease her; She tripped on something and fell.

"OUCH!" Risa cried out, when her knee hit something hard. This was so great! Everything was against her nowdays! 

The ground was cold and a bit wet, which caused Risa's clothes to get moist She tried to get up, but she slipped and fell face first back to the ground.

"Oh, this is just so great...." She mumbled and tried again, only to fail again. She was so tired, that she couldn't even get up! What was she going to do now? If
she stayed here, she was open for all kind of dangers, plus, with her clothes wet, she would get cold very soon.

"Excuse me lady, do you need help?" A voice asked.

Slowly, Risa lifted her head, which was covered in grass and mud, and watched who had talked.
Above her, Risa could see two young women. They had some kind of worker clothes on and on top of that, both had a long coat-like rag. The other one had crouched down and was looking Risa with concerned eyes.

"Yeah... Help would be... great.." Risa mumbled as her head fell heavily back on the ground. Soon, she felt how pair of arms lifted her up and she was guided to a nearby rock. Risa sat down and tried not to fall down, which was easier said than done, for she was so tired.

"Here, take this. It helps." The other woman said.
Risa looked what was in front of her and was surprised to see something candy like in the woman's hand.

"It's just pure sugar with some honey. I'm sorry, that I don't have anything else, but I bet this is better than nothing.." The woman encouraged Risa, smiling a bit.

For a while Risa just stared blankly ahead of her before she realized what she was offered. Like a wolf, she took the sugar and ate it. It was too sweet for her liking, but there was no other options now. She would eat and gain some energy back, or then she would probably faint. She needed energy, or she would not be able to move forward. The woman smiled at her and took something from her small backpack. Soon, Risa had more these candies in front of her. She took a few more, but not all she was offered to. These two probably needed these things too.

In no time, Risa felt much better, thanks to the sugar, but she was still kinda weak. She could walk and all, but she would rather just lie down and stay still. Risa didn't remember when she had last time had proper sleep at night. All the nights, she had just wandered around and when she had tried to sleep, her memories would keep her awake with the cold. The idea of sleeping on the rocks was very tempting, but she just couldn't.

"Feel any better?" The woman asked. Risa turned her head to her saver and smiled at her a bit.

"Yes, thank you. Although, I need to rest some more, but at least I got some energy now. Really, thank you." Risa said, and bowed her head a bit. The two woman smiled back at her, bowing as well. Only now, Risa started to examine the persons in front of her. They were both probably in their twenties and judging by their clothes, they didn't have much wealth. These two looked like they were wandering around, like Risa, looking for better place to stay, after their homes were destroyed. Risa couldn't see much of their faces, for both had a some kind of hood over their head.

"No problem, but I am afraid we can't stay here for long. We got to keep moving. But before we go, take this. It might not help much, but at least you have something dry with you."

With that, the woman gave Risa a small blanket. It really wasn't much, but it was better than nothing.
Risa reached out and took the blanket, smiling to her companion.

"Thank you so much. I really appriciate this!" She said warmly to the couple in front of her. Soon, the two women left and  Risa was once again alone. She decided to eat a bit more candies and then, she would continue her journey.

Risa hopped down from the rock and started to walk slowly. She felt a bit dizzy, but she could not fall down now! After getting used to walking for a few minutes, Risa could finally move on. Her walking was quite slow, but after the sugar would kick in, she would be able to walk faster.
However, Risa could walk only few meters, when she heard something nearby her.The sound came from the bushes behind her and at first Risa thought, that it was just some animal. But When she stopped, the noise stopped as well. Risa frowned, but kept on walking. The rustle sound was there again. Somebody was following her! 

Risa spun around and examined her surroundings. The opening was very quiet for few seconds, but then the rustling sounded again.

"Come out." Risa commanded calmly and to her surprise, someone came into her view from the bushes. But this person was not something Risa wanted to meet now, for she was a soldier. Risa didn't know much about the soldiers or about the war, but she would surely recognize, when a person was in this land's samurai uniform. And this warrior was not.

"Oh great..." Risa muttered, as she tried to think where she could escape or hide. The warrior, who Risa recognized to be a female, had a short sword in her hand and at least three more on her waist. Risa wasn't a fighter and she didn't have weapon, while her opponent fought for her living and seemed to have quite many weapons and probably had some more around her body.
Suddenly, the soldier lunged forward and tried to attack Risa. Of course, Risa tried to dodge and she was lucky, that fast movements made her fall down, for she would not have her head now, if she hadn't fallen down, while trying to dodge the attack.

But, now she was in a trouble; how would she get up? She was still quite weak and the warrior would not give her time to get on her feet again. The warrior came closer and smiled like a maniac. She knew Risa's condition and had seen how weak she was now. Risa realized, that she could not escape this, but she would not die easily; she kicked with her legs to keep the soldier away and always tried to turn so, that she saw her opponent and could defend herself. The samurai just laughed dryly and came closer, when Risa could see her chance to hit. She aimed and put all her power in one single kick, which was sent straight to the samurai's groin. The kick hit, and the warrior gasped in pain and shock, as she packed away, keeping one hand between her legs.

'Arrogant bastard, I'm not as easy prey as you think...'

But the soldier recovered quite soon and now, she was even more furious than earlier. She started to move so fast, that Risa could not follow her and every time, Risa could not see her opponent, she would be kicked hard. She got kicks in her ribs, legs and arms, but somehow, she managed to protect her head. If she would get kicked in there, she would be as good as dead immediately. But if Risa didn't figure out soon, how to get out of this, her enemy would kick her to dead. She already could feel, how her legs and arms went numb from all the kicking. Then the attacks suddenly stopped. Risa had curled in a fetal position in order to protect herself better and she stayed like this for a while, after the attacks had subsided. What was going on? 

Slowly, Risa moved her arms from in front of her head, only to be greeted by a foot that kicked her in face. For a second, Risa lost her consciousness and let her guard fall. She recovered quite quickly, but the world around her was spinning so wildly, that Risa had to close her eyes. Finally, her surroundings calmed and Risa could see, how the samurai was now standing above her, holding a longer katana in her hands. She was ready to give Risa a dead blow.

'This is so damn great...'

Risa thought, when her vision started to blur again.

'No... Not now...'

Risa fought. She would not die here! Summoning all the power she had left, Risa focused on keeping her eyes open and head up. But no, she ended up only making the headache worse than it had been, when her head crashed to the ground. Risa could hear the warrior's laughter, when she was watching her pray to struggle. With her last powers, Risa forced her eyes open, to meet the katana above her. The sword got slowly higer and higher, when it suddenly fell down, straight to Risa's face. That was the last thing Risa saw and then, everything was dark. It was very dark, but not very quiet...

------

Yay, I finished the second chapter!  :cow:
I have the next chapters (about 3 of them) also written, but I just have to check them and probably, do some changes in them.

Thank you for the comments and interest. I am too lazy to answer them now XD Sorry....

But for the characters, please don't bother your mind with the identities of enemies, for they are not "real persons". I have taken them from my very wild imagination...  :nervous I didn't want to make anyone from the hello project bad, cause I just can't! XD Also, I don't know other Japanese music groups or so. I should learn more about them...

Oh, almost forgot: I bought a laptop yesterday, so I might be able to update more often, even if I am not at home. Yay~
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 1/ 05/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 05, 2013, 01:14:00 AM
Risa is the main character in this story :)

This chapter I find it interesting with the setting... saying that I thought it would be more fantasy-based than reality :nervous

keep up the good work :thumbup
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 1/ 05/01
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 05, 2013, 01:52:02 AM
Ah, cliffhanger! Risa!~!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 2 /06/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 06, 2013, 02:04:13 PM
Kurosawa: Yeah, she kind of is, though it was not my intention...  XD When I was planning this story, I just realized that I was writing all the time "Risa did... Then Risa would... And then Risa...." So I just decided that, what the heck, let's make her the main character!

rndmnwierd: Yes, cliffhanger~ Because I like them. But hate them, when I am the one reading story... XD

Thank you for your comments!
Here's chapter 2~

----------------------------------


Chapter 2 – But the dead just couldn't get her



What the....'. Risa thought, as she was still in this dark place. Was she dead? No, for if she was dead, there would be no way this horrible headache would torture her anymore. But the warrior had hit her with the sword, she saw it!
But, where was the pain from the hit? Risa only had the headache and other aches in her body, but nothing else. Right now, she should not be able to think things like this, because her head should be sliced in two. Also, she could hear voices around her and if she was dead, she should not be able to hear a thing. What was going on?
Slowly, Risa uttered her eyes open, only to be greeted by a leg in front of her. Risa blinked, staring the black boot, till she slowly tried to turn her head to see, who was above her. However, the person moved away and the sunlight hit Risa's eyes, blinding her. There were sounds of fighting, metal hitting metal and then, it sounded like someone was running. Risa felt how she was lifted up in a sitting position and someone was talking to her. The voices got more quiet as Risa started to lose her consciousness and this time, she was sure, she was going to faint. But before the lights in her head totally shut down, Risa remembered two faces, which were joined by the third and finally, just before she passed out, a fourth one came into her view. Then, it was dark again.
-------

"Can we please gallop a little bit?? Please, Eri..."

"For the last time Reina, no, we cannot." Eri said, annoyed.

"But whyy?? Just a little bit?" Reina whined back.

"No."

"Please?"

"No."

"Please, please?"

"No, no."

"Please, please ple...."

"For the love of God you two, stop!"

The voice of Michishige shut Reina and Eri up. They were on their way back home from the burned village and they had traveled for a few days now, for the village had been the most faraway place in this land from their own village, so it took time to travel from there. Luckily, they had horses, so they could get back home in one week.

It had been a heavy task to clean the whole village and look for the survivors and the tiredness was written all over the girls faces. There had been another attack in the north, but it was luckily taken care of by some other troops. These kind of attacks were always very hard to handle; the girls had seen how whole families were buried under ruins and how everything in that once lively village had been destroyed. Of course, it had been positive if someone had survived, but almost everything was dead in that place now. But somehow, they had to move on, though everyone was tired and haunted by the things they had seen.

On the way, Reina had tried to cheer up her friends a bit, by proposing a small race. But Eri, being a bit suspicious of how their leader would react to that, denied it from Reina, causing the younger one to pout and start whining.
Sayumi, Eri and Reina were riding together, while Ai was riding a good way ahead of them. For some reason, the leader of the group had been acting very weird after they had completed their mission in the village. Not that Ai would talk much often, but now, she had been even more quiet than normally and that worried the other girls.

"Please, try to behave. There's still a possibility to meet enemies, so now is not the time for playing." Sayumi said in a gentle but firm tone.

Reina and Eri both nodded and continued moving on in a heavy silent. It really was a good thing, that someone could still think positive things in times like this, but just now, it wasn't the time for this kind of things. Sayumi gazed ahead, where their leader was riding. She encouraged her horse to trot and rode beside Ai. The samurai's head was down and it seemed, like she was deep in thoughts. She didn't react at all, when Sayu came to her side.

"Ai." She called the leader.

Ai was silent for a while, before she slowly raised her head, facing her subordinate. She didn't have her helmet or mask anymore and Sayu could see her whole face. Short brown locks were drenched from sweat and dark bags decorated the leader's face under her deep brown colored eyes. She had few scratches on her face and neck, as well some bruises here and there. They had faced some enemies on their way and of course that had led to fights. Luckily, the enemy usually had only small groups wandering around, so they survived the battles without any bigger wounds. Team Alfa was not a big group either, but they had more skills and probably more will to fight than their opponents. Also, they were more familiar with the ground too, for this was their homeland, so they could use it better than the enemy.

When Sayu met Ai's eyes she could see only a blank stare in those chocolate eyes. Ai said nothing, she just stared Sayu with that blank expression. Sayu realized, that her leader was not going to say anything and if she said nothing, Ai would probably yell at her for interrupting for nothing. Sayu was just about to open her mouth, when they heard some sounds nearby. Immediately, Ai was back on earth and listening, where the sound came from. Both warriors listened for a while, before Ai stopped her horse, got off the saddle and started to sneak towards the sound. The road they had ridden, had led them to a thin forest, so they would have a good view, if they ran into some enemies again.

"Ai, wait up!" Sayu whispered and did the same as her leader.

They used the forest's bushes and trees as a cover when they moved on, all the time listening and being prepared for anything. Then, Ai stopped suddenly and hid behind a tree. Sayu did the same and looked ahead. In front of them was an open and a young girl on the ground and another person, who was kicking her mercilessly. Ai and Sayu recognized the person, who was kicking the girl, immediately and both stared her in fury. By now, Eri and Reina had also arrived to the scene. They had noticed Ai and Sayu's horses and came into conclusion, that the two had met enemies or something like that. They had done the same, and were now with Ai and Sayu, watching the scene in front of them.

"Oh gosh..."

Eri whispered, as she saw the enemy warrior raise her sword and get ready to kill the girl on the ground. Without thinking some good plans or anything else, all the girls rushed out of their hiding place, only to notice, that their leader was gone. Suddenly, a loud thump was heard with a clang of metal. The trio turned to watch and found their leader standing above the girl, who had almost got killed. Ai had gone first, leaving her group behind, in order to save this girl. Soon, the leader continued on and attacked the enemy's warrior, who in turn was quite confused of the sudden attack.

"Come on! We have help that person! Ai can take care of the enemy!" Sayu yelled and ran to the woman Ai had just saved.

Eri and Reina nodded as they ran after Sayu. When they reached the girl, Sayu lifted her in a sitting position and tried to talk to her.

"Oi! Are you ok? Are you hurt?"

The girl only stared them blankly and said nothing. There were some blood on her face and she had a lot of bruises around her body. Sayu tried to shake her gently, but the girl didn't respond. Instead, she closed her eyes and passed out, just when Ai came back to her team, after finishing her opponent.

"Is she alive?" The leader asked quietly.

"Yes, but she is in a very weak condition..." Sayu said as she examined the girl, if she had any fatal wounds or something else. Reina and Eri watched how Sayu treated the girl, but something bothered Eri; where had she seen this girl before?

"We'll leave her in the next village we reach. Lets go." Ai said and started to leave the small opening.

"But Ai! The next village is quite far away. It would be probably better if we..."

"If we take her with us to the Castle." Eri interrupted, causing all the others to turn look at her, like she had grown another head.

"To the Castle?" Reina repeated slowly.

"Yeah, you know, there's a village around the Castle too. She can be treated in there as well, can't she." Eri said nonchalantly.

She saw no problem with taking this girl to their own village plus, it would be easier to take her there than to the next village. The castle was probably quite close now and there was also a place where this girl could be treated.

Ai had stopped and now, she was walking back to her group. She stopped in front of Eri and stared her coldly.

"You do realize, that the castle and the village around it, has only samurais and their families in it? It's a rule, that civilians wont live there."

Ai said in a low voice, as she watched Eri with a dark gaze. Eri didn't shiver. She was determined to take this girl with them to the castle, though she wasn't sure, why she wanted to do it.

"I do, but if we take one civilian in there, it wont kill anyone, would it?" She asked, but was almost immediately interrupted by her now annoyed leader:

"But if you take one, you end up taking another, till you have an army of civilians in that village!" Ai hissed angrily. She looked the girl, who was still in Sayu's arms, before she turned to face Eri again.

"She is left to a village next to the Castle. She wont come to the Castle." With that, Ai turned to leave again, but this time, Eri interrupted her.

"She comes with us to the Castle!"

She said in a loud voice, but didn't quite yell. Ai spun immediately around an walked briskly to Eri. She brought her face very close to the younger one's and glared her furiously.

"Since when you became the leader of this group?"

Eri swallowed a bit, but didn't falter back. She stared deep in Ai's eyes and showed no fear to her leader.

"I'm at least the sub leader of this group, so can't I make sound decisions too? And aren't you supposed to listen what your other subordinates have to say in this?"

There was a long silence. Ai was still staring at Eri, but then, she moved to face her two other subordinates. Sayu and Reina watched their leaders with worried expressions on their face, for it was not very usual for them to quarrel like this. Fighting really had tired them out, since both of them had lost their cool quite quickly. Soon, also Eri turned her face to Reina and Sayu, waiting for their opinion about this thing. Sayu seemed to realize what everyone was waiting for and opened her mouth.

"In my opinion, it's easier to take this girl into the Castle at first. We can move her into another village after she has recovered."

"I think... I think the same." Reina said quietly.

Ai examined her group for a while, before her eyes fell on the wounded girl again. Then, she glared at Eri and with that, she started to walk away again.

"Do whatever you want then, but I wont carry her..." Ai growled, as she disappeared in the woods.

Eri sighed in relief and went to Sayu and Reina.

"Let's take her to horses. I can carry her." She said as she met Sayu's eyes, which had a concerned look in them.

"Eri are you..."

"I'm fine. You know, it's just Ai-chan." Eri said happily as she helped Sayu to lift the girl up.

Sayu nodded her head and lifted the girl up as well. When they reached their horses, they got the girl on Eri's horse and continued on their journey. Ai had went ahead again and the trio was riding in their own little group.

After a while, they came out of the forest and were greeted by a huge open. In the distance, they could see a small hill with a big shinto style castle on it. The hill was still quite far away, but the huge building on it could be seen in distances. The group's face lit up a bit; finally, they were back at home.

As the group continued on, Eri took the picture she had in her pocket. She examined the drawing and then the girl, who was hunched over the saddle in front of her. Then, she turned the picture around and examined the names, which were written there. Eri stared the girl, the names and the picture for a while, before she whispered quietly:

"So, we got one survivor more... We'll take care of you, Risa."

---------

Fast update, cause like I said, I have a few of the next chapters already written~ Also, I have nothing else to do right now, so I decided to write this story :P
Lol, I should get a life.... XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 2/ 06/01
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 06, 2013, 02:36:07 PM
I wasn't worried!~! I knew Ai and company would heroically save the day.... Yeah, knew that all along... :sweatdrop:

And now Eri knows who she is...
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 2/ 06/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 06, 2013, 03:01:38 PM
Well she is a good main character :thumbsup

it has been a great story so far
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 3/ 08/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 08, 2013, 06:49:12 PM
rndmnweird: Yes, yes, you wasn't worried at all  :roll:

Kurosawa87: Yes, she is~ And thank you!

Yah, again a fast update. I had some plans for tonight at first, but then it got cancelled, plus I had a hard today at work, so I decided to cancel one other plan too.... No, I am not lazy, I am just damn tired XD

I wasn't planing to send this here today, but now because of some changes, I do. I just had to recheck this, because I had written this times ago.
So here we go~


Chapter 3 – She was the first one to be welcomed


A sound of fast steps were heard in a big dark hall, when a very skinny servant moved as fast as she could, with a wineglass in her hands. She was walking very fast, for she was too weak to run. Her skinny legs tapped against the cold stone floor and her breathing was very fast. When she saw a huge black door, her steps got faster and now it looked like she was running. The servant pushed the door open and ran in a smaller hall which was occupied by some persons. As fast as she could, she ran to a big chair, where a person was sitting, with her legs and arms crossed. Cold shivers ran through the skinny female's body, as she approached the person in the chair. Her mistress was not happy, for she had had to wait for her drink.

"Took you long enough...." The person in the chair snarled, as she torn the glass from the servant. After that, she took a big sip from the glass, but soon, spit the wine to the ground.

"What the hell is this?! I told you I wanted red wine, not white wine!!" She roared and threw the glass towards the servant.
Sharp pain traveled through the servants skinny and weak body as she was hit by the glass. The glass broke and it's shatters caused only more wounds to her. But the servant couldn't concentrate on that pain for long, for she was roughly pulled up by her hair.

"You go fetch me a new glass with RED WINE. You have 2 minutes." The female in the chair hissed as she treated the female roughly. After the weak servant had nodded her head, she was harshly thrown to the ground.

"Now get out of my sight!"

With that the servant ran away, or rather walked away. There was no way, those skinny legs would stand running, if walking already was painful as hell. The female with long, dark brown hair growled as she examined the persons left in the room.

"You better have good news, or I'll make you my slaves as well..."
A female with same looks as the woman in the chair laughed a bit as she walked beside the other woman.

"No need to worry sis, we indeed have some good news. Captain, please."'
The woman with long, light brown hair, stepped a bit forward. She was quite tall, but she wasn't very skinny. She had a lot of muscles around her bones and that made her look even bigger than she already was. She faced the woman who was sitting in the chair and nodded with her head a bit.

"We have done as you asked, Heng-san. One village is destroyed and the other was damaged quite as well. What we don't know, is how much they are using their army to help their people, but I could guess...."

"Master! Master!" The woman was interrupted, as a soldier ran inside the hall. The soldier bowed deeply to the woman called Heng and even when he spoke, his face didn't raise.

"Master, I-I have news for you..." The man said shivering from fear.

"Spill it out, damn it!" Heng hissed, the other women watching the still bowing man with curiosity. What was going on now?

"We... We have found one of our bishops dead... She was patrolling alone and probably got ambushed or something..."

"You kidding me?" Heng interrupted angrily. The soldier raised his head and watched her mistress with confused eyes.

"What do you mean, my lord?" He asked slowly.
The woman leaned forward, which caused her pale face to come to the dim light. She stared that man with cold, dark eyes, but suddenly, a smile lit on her face.

"You're a new one, aren't you?" Heng asked sweetly, but somehow, her voice was very cold and evil.

"The man gulped once before he answered: "Y-yes my master...."

The evil smile only got wider after the man's answer and the woman looked like a maniac, who had just gotten a great idea.

"I see. Tell me, warrior, what's your name?"

"Me... My name... My name is Daisuke..." Daisuke answered, gulping once more.

Heng leaned a bit closer to the frightened man in front of her. She had still that evil grin on her face, as she examined the warrior, who was like he was talking to a ghost or something.

"You know, Daisuke," she said his name in a whisper, which caused Daisuke to tense even more, if it was possible. "you did well to inform me about things on the field, but"

Daisuke felt, how the woman pulled him closer to her, so he was now face to face with his Master.

"Delivering useless information, is a big mistake in this land..." With that, Heng pulled a small sword from somewhere and slashed the man in his throat. Daisuke could only gag few times, before his lifeless body hit the floor.

Heng just wiped the blood away from her sword and after that, she snapped her fingers once. Immediately, two servants came running into the hall and when they got beside their mistress, they bowed deeply.

"Get this out of here and clean this mess...." The woman said quite calmly. The servants did what they were ordered to and soon, the body was gone and the pool of blood was being taken care of too. The other women watched the whole scene like they were in a theater or something. Only thing what they would do, was to wipe the spilled blood away from their clothes.

"I can care less, what happens to a mere soldier on the field.... Idiot. I don't even care, what happens to a whole troop of men, as long as my orders are fulfilled and that damn land of Kibō, will be conquered and attached under my control!”

Heng yelled, as she sat back in her previous seat. The captain got closer, examining the place where the body had been a few minutes ago.

"Sayaka,"

The blonde raised her head showing, she was listening. Her lord rarely called her by her real name, but she couldn't care less. Maybe Heng got somehow in a good mood, when she got a chance to kill someone by her own hands and called her group leaders by their names, not by their ranks.

"Cather some men and do more strikes. And teach your men what kind of information I want to hear and what kind of information will grant them a ticket to hell."

The captain nodded once and turned around to leave. The two other women left in the room, went also with her, leaving their leader alone in the hall. The brunette sat for a long time in a silence, before she got up and went to a small window. She moved the curtains away and watched the scene in front of her.

"I'm coming for you. Soon, your land shall be under my control and your name will be vanished forever, as does everyone in your land.... As long, as my name is Heng, the name, that shall be remembered, while yours, shall disappear from this world.."


-----------------------------

"Ah, they have returned!"

A small girl shout out loud, as she saw the opening city gates and the arriving soldiers. Soon, the other villagers noticed the group too and everyone who could, came to watch. There was cheering, laughing and whispering as the group of four samurais passed by. When the unconscious girl was noticed, all the cheering changed into whispering; never ever before, had anyone, who returned from the field, brought back a person who wasn't recognized in this city. In other words, only soldiers came back and if they brought someone, they would bring only wounded soldiers. But now, there was a civilian carried inside this place's walls and it really caused confusion amongst the citizens.

 The group rode forwards through the village, till they reached a smaller gate. The gate was slowly opened and behind that came a woman, who was dressed in a red and gorgeous, kimono like dress. The woman was in her thirties, but she looked much younger. Her middle length hair had some beautiful flowers in it as a decoration and on top of her head, was a small golden throne. She had her hands behind her back and it looked like, she was waiting for something. And indeed she was; her soldiers had returned home and though her land had suffered from big lost, it always warmed the king's mind, when she saw someone of her own return home.

The group stopped in front of the woman and everyone landed. Ai walked in front, while the rest of the group followed her behind, Reina carrying the unconcsious Risa. All of them dropped on one knee and bowed to their king.

"My lord, we have returned and fulfilled our mission..." Ai reported to the king. The king shook her head slowly, before she raised her hands, palms upwards, like she was summoning something or someone.

"How many times I have to tell you, Takahashi, that you don't have to be so formal in front of me."

"But..." Ai tried to protest, but her king was already speaking again.

"I may be your king, but I am also a human like everyone else here. Leave the formalities for later and raise, all of you." The king said warmly to her soldiers in front of her.

With that said, the whole group got up immediately and faced their leader, who kept her warm smile up.

"Welcome home." She said softly, but then, suddenly, her smile dropped. The king moved forward and walked through the group, the soldiers giving way to their leader, and stopped in front of Reina, who had Risa still in her arms. The king examined the girl for a while, before she glanced Reina with curious expression.

"And who's this?" The king asked.

"Ano...." Reina said nervously, but Eri intrerrupted her:

"We found her from the village we were in! Or.... I mean, she's from the village, but we just found her nearby the Castle..."

All the group members raised their eyebrow's to the sub leader's answer. How did Eri know where this girl was from? Anyhow, no one got the change to question Eri, when their king was talking again.

"Hmmmm... she seems to be in a pretty bad condition... Please, take her to the nurse's place. She needs some treatment."

"My lord," Ai interrupted, which cause the king to turn around to face her.

"We are going to take her to a nearby village. She can be treated there." Ai said, as she glanced the girl in Reina's arms. The king had a confused expression on her face. She looked at Risa and then turned her back to Ai.

"Why would you do that?" She asked.

Ai frowned a bit, but kept on talking.

"What do you mean, my lord?" She asked.

"I mean, why should she be taken to a nearby village? She can be treated here as well." The king said quite nonchalantly.

Now Ai was very confused. What the hell was this?

"But my lord, the rule!" Ai said, a bit louder now as she tried to control her nerves. The group leader was not in a mood to talk about this kind of things. She had a lot of things to do and now, her precious time was wasted to this.

"What rule?" The king asked, after she had thought for a while, what Ai had meant.

"The rule, about only soldiers living in here??"

"Oh that one... Didn't I already cancel that one, did I?" The king asked and turned now to look at Eri, Reina and Sayu, who all had a confused expression on their face. There was a heavy silent, as the king waited for an answer, while Sayu, Eri and Reina waited for someone to speak and save them from this situation.

"My lord, you never did...."Ai started, only to be interrupted once again by her king.

"Well now I do!” The king exclaimed happily. “And for the love of God, Takahashi, stop that “my lord” thing.... You know I have a name too!" The king chirped happily, shocking the whole warrior group in front of her..

"But, but.... No one has never ever been taken to here from outside..."

“Well that's because you never brought anyone. If you had, I would have allowed them to stay here if needed." The king said. In truth, she had totally forgotten this kind of rule, but now it was mentioned, she recalled that she had heard of it somewhere. Well, after this, she would never ever hear it again.

"Yes, because of the rule my lord...." Ai said a bit annoyed now.

"Well, it's my bad, I din't inform you about that rule change. I never really understood why only soldiers should have been the only ones living in this city." The king said nonchalantly, causing Ai to lose her control of herself, little by little.

"My lord, it's..." The warrior began, now clearly annoyed, but her king was annoyed too, for her orders were not obeyed.

Takahashi, how many times do I have to tell you, to not say "my lord"? Really, I prefer my name. Please use that." The king said, but she didn't show her annoyance as much as Ai did.

"But my lord...."

"Oh my..... Takahashi I order you to use my name!" The king cried out. She faced the young samurai who had a deer in the headlights face now. Finally, the young warrior took a few steps back and bowed a bit.

"Yes.... Yoshizawa-san."

"Thaaat's much better, ne?" The king said happily, before she turned to the trio again.

“Ok, so let's get the things rolling on here!” Yoshizawa announced, clapping her hands together and scaring her warriors even more. The king was very nice and gentle, but sometimes, she just scared everyone despite that. Maybe it was, that every single warrior knew, what this gentle king of theirs was able to do, when annoyed or angry.

"Reina, take this newcomer to the nurse. Sayu, go check the troops and Eri, go treat the horses and equipment. Questions? No. Great. Go." Yoshizawa said. The trio saluted and went to their tasks, leaving the king and Ai alone.

"And you," Yoshizawa said, turning to Ai, who immediately snapped attention, when she heard her king talking. There was a long silence, when Yoshizawa suddenly started to think something. Ai waited, though she really wanted to leave already, for she had so much things to do. Finally, her king spoke again:

"Actually, you follow Reina to the nurse. You need to be treated as well."

"I'm fine..." Ai started, but Yoshizawa interrupted her by holding her hand up.

"No, you're not. Go rest. We have groups here and we need your's well rest and healthy. Go now."

With that, the king started to walk back to the castle behind them, leaving the confused group leader stand alone in the castle's yard. Ai did not need rest, she needed time and some alone time to get prepared for the next mission.
But that was what her king had said and though Ai really wanted to disobey it, she just couldn't, for she respected her leader so much. With that, The group leader headed to the nurse's place. And though, Ai would not say it out loud and she hardly admit it to herself, she was kind of happy, that she finally got some time to rest.

-------


“Poor girl, must have had a hard trip...” Reina said, as she flexed her arms, as she walked on with Sayu. They had just left Risa at the nurse's place and were now leaving for their own missions, which the king had given to them. Though Reina had quite much strength, it had been quite hard to carry Risa around, for she was so tired from their last mission. But Reina had fulfilled her mission till the end, without any negative word.

“Yeah, she seemed to be in a very bad condition... But I think she will recover, for she...”

“Sayu! Reina! Wait up!” Sayu was interrupted by Eri, who ran after them. She was breathing quite fast, when she caught the two soldiers and immediately, Sayu was beside her, a worried expression on her face.

“What now?” Sayu asked, but soon, Eri continued.

"Did... Did you recognize that... girl?” She puffed, for her breathing was still very unsteady because of all the running. Sayu and Reina Glanced each others, before they turned back to Eri again.

“Recognize her? What do yo...” Sayu was once again interrupted by the turtle, as Eri pushed the picture she had, in her face. Both Sayu and Reina examined the picture, till Reina whispered quietly.

“Oh my gosh... This is the same girl we saved today!” Se yelled, as she pointed Risa in the drawing. Now Sayu had also realized who this girl was and was shocked as well.

“What a coincidence, ne...” Eri said, smiling a bit, while the two other warriors just nodded. What a coincidence indeed.

“Did you... Did you recognize her immediately?” Reina asked, turning her head towards Eri.

“No. I had my a feeling, I have seen that girl in somewhere, but I recognized her after we were on our way again.”

The three of them fell in silence, as they were still examining the beautiful drawing of Risa and her family. All they had in mind, was just how horrible times this girl had had lately and how she would recover from all of this.


-------


Yay, chapter three, with some new person's~ Or well, the bad guys are just from my imagination... Some random dudes XD
And just to clarify, Kibō is the land's name, where the good guys live in.

Hope you enjoyed this and thank you all for your interest! I really appreciate it!  :kneelbow:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 3/ 08/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 08, 2013, 07:33:57 PM
The bad guys are a serious group of people :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 3/ 08/01
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 08, 2013, 08:30:56 PM
Bad guys are established, Lols set Yossie, and Risa sleeps through it all.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 4/ 12/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 11, 2013, 11:04:00 PM
A new chapter again, for I have nothing else to do now than write this fic~
Thank you so much for your interest and comments again! They really mean a lot to me.
Here we go again~



Chapter 4 – But not everyone was happy for her being here


'what the heck??'
Risa thought, as she was laying on her back. She was in her own bed, sleeping and having some nice dream, when something itched her eyes. As Risa opened them, the sunlight hit her, blinding her completely. Then she heard voices, which weren't familiar, and then...


"She's waking up!!"

Very slowly, Risa opened her eyes and examined her surroundings. She was in a small room, which was very bright and the white floor and walls made it look even more bright. She made a fast scanning of the room and soon realized, she was in  some kind of a hospital or nurse building.

Then, Risa turned her gaze to the persons in the room. There were two of them; one had about a shoulder length, brunette hair and a bright smile on her face, when the other had a bit longer, but same colored hair. The later one had also very happy expression on her face as she examined Risa. Risa blinked few times before she tried to speak. But all she could get out was some coughing. Gosh, her throat was dry!

"Hurry! Get some water for her!"

The other woman shouted. Soon, Risa was pulled into a sitting position and served some water. She drank greedily, the cold liquid caressing her sore throat. When the water was gone, Risa took few deep breaths and tried to gather her thoughts. Where was she? Why was she in this condition? What was going on?

"I bet you have a lot of questions, but please, for now try to rest. You don't look very well yet."

Risa turned her head towards the smaller woman, who had a smile, bright as the sun, on her face. The other woman beside her, nodded and smiled as well. Risa was confused; who the hell were these people and why were they helping her?

"Oh! I almost forgot to introduce myself! I'm Kameri Eri. You can call me just Eri."

"And I'm LinLin. The nurse of this village."

'Village...'

Some memories flashed in Risa's mind, as she tried to remember what had happened before.
She stared the two women in front of her, before she realized, that maybe she had to introduce herself too.

"I'm... I'm Niigaki Risa." Her voice was hoarse and weak, but somehow she managed to speak so loud, so that the others would hear what she said.

"Oh yeah, we already know that," Eri chirped happily, causing Risa to frown. How did she know who she was? "We will explain that later, but now we have to get you in a better condition. So please, rest now." With that said, Eri got up and was about to leave, when suddenly, Risa stopped her.

"Wait!"

Risa wheezed. She had also tried to jump off from the bed, but got stopped when she realized, that she had no energy left for that. Finally, everything got a bit more clear in her head. She remembered the attack, her journey and the fight she was in. She also remembered those faces she saw before passing out, though they were a bit blur. She wanted to know what had happened. But all Risa got as an answer, was the two woman pulling her back to bed.

"No no. You rest now! Don't worry, it will probably take only few days for you to recover, for you don't have any fatal wounds or something like that." Eri said, as she laid Risa back in the bed with LinLin.

"Eri's right. The more you rest, the sooner you get out of here." The nurse said warmly.

Risa watched the two women in confusion and tried to get up once more, only to be pushed back to bed. Finally, she gave up. She had no energy left for fighting plus, if what Eri said was true, she would rest and get sooner out of here. When Eri and LinLin noticed, that Risa had finally stopped trying to get up, they released the girl and smiled at her.

"Don't worry. You'll get out of here soon. You just need to rest a while and after that, we are going to show this place to you." Eri said, as she patted Risa's head a bit.

"Wait...." Risa said suddenly, causing the other women smiles to drop.

"Where am I?" She asked with in a quiet voice, for her throat started to hurt once again. Eri was quiet and just turned her head away from Risa. This girl had lost everything she had and now, she was going to have a whole new life in a strange place and very far away from her home village. Eri wondered, did Risa even remember what had happened to her or her hometown? A sad smile crept on her face, as she turned to face Risa again.

"We are in the Castle. This is going to be your home for a while. Please rest now. LinLin will take care of you. See you later!"

And with that, Eri got up and exited the nurse's room. Risa stared the spot, where Eri had been a while ago and said nothing. LinLin just smiled at her and put something on a table next to Risa's bed.

“Why don't you get some more rest? I bet you really want to get out of here, so you can get all the answers to your questions, which are bothering you right now.”

Risa frowned and turned to face the nurse, who was gathering something in her arms. She turned to smile at  Risa once more, before she left he girk alone in the room. Maybe it was quite presumable, that after this kind of experiences, people would have a lot of questions. And Risa indeed had, but she could not get any answers now, for she was stuck in here. So, she decided to do the next best thing, and lay down on the bed. She tried to get those horrible pictures away from her head, where her family was burned over and over again. Those pictures would probably haunt her for the rest of her life, but she would not let them weaken her. It was just the opposite; she would use this as her source of power to find the peace she grieved so much. She would not give in, she would fight on. With these thought in her mind, Risa turned on her side and closed her eyes, wondering what kind of place this Castle would be to live in.


------------------------------


After one week of spending her time in the nurse's room, Risa was finally allowed to get out. However, she wasn't allowed to move alone, for she was still in a quite weak condition. Or at least, that's what the others were saying, because Risa felt she was okay now. Maybe a bit tired, but damn, she would survive without help now. But it would have been rude to reject this kind of help she was offered to plus, if someone was with her all the time, she would get to know some people better.

At first, it had been a big question mark, who would watch after her and it had seemed like Risa would get some more time in the nurses's place. Luckily, Eri had had time, cause the team Alfa was not needed right now. There had been only small attacks which were taken care of by normal groups, so Eri had volunteered to take care of Risa, till she was needed again on the battlefield. Now, the two women were standing outside the nurse's house, getting ready to leave for some city tour. Risa had borrowed some clothes from LinLin and now she had some kind of big pants, which reminded her more of a skirt, and a grey coat like thing on. In her feet, she had zori shoes. Eri had quite the same costume, but her clothes were all black. She also had another coat on her, which was longer and had some splits in the hem, allowing Eri to move her legs freely. She also had two katanas and one shorter sword on her waist. All the weapons were black too, but they had some small golden decorations on them.

"You okay with walking?" Eri asked a bit concerned, but all she got as an answer was an annoyed huff and Risa's angry glare.

"I have been in bed for one week, though, I was able to walk after one day rest! I am very able to walk, thanks for your concern..."

Risa mumbled, as she started to walk forward, Eri at her heels. They walked through the village's market place, where people politely greeted Eri and some even said hello to Risa too. This village felt quite nice and it had some same things, as back at home. 'or rather, former home....'

"Hey, you ok?"

Risa heard a concerned voice and when she lifted her head up, she found Eri looking at her with concerned eyes. Risa had stared in empty space for a while, like she had been deep in thoughts and Eri of course, had gotten worried about it. Risa just shook her head a bit and smiled warmly to her companion.

"Yes, I am. Thank you. Where shall we go next?" She asked Eri.

"Um, ok then. Hey, I want to take you in one place! Come on!" Eri said cheerfully and dragged Risa with her, minding her wounds all the time. Soon, the two arrived at a small fenced area. It reminded Risa of a military building, maybe some kind of training building or something...

"Come on, lets get inside."

And with that, Eri took Risa with her inside the building, where they were immediately met by two warriors, who were chatting something. Both had same costume as Eri had, but the colors of the long coats were different, one wearing a dark blue while the other had a dark red coat. Also these two were carrying weapons. They both turned around to meet the newcomers and in no time, a huge smile lid on their face, as they saw who had entered the building.

"Eri!"

Both warriors exclaimed at the same time. Eri Waved a bit and went to greet her friends. She hugged both Reina and Sayu at the same time, laughing happily. Risa watched the scene in front of her, smiling a bit. It was a good thing there was happiness in times like this. Soon, Eri ended the bear hug, ran to Risa, caught her arm and pulled her in front of her friends.

"Meet my friends, my group mates and the best warriors in this place!" Eri chirped happily, which caused Reina and Sayu to roll their eyes.

"Yes, friends and group mates went right, but the last one was...."

"Correct!" Reina interrupted Sayu with a broad smile. Sayu looked the other warrior and ended up rolling her eyes again, before she turned back to Risa.

"Well, whatever... I am Michishige Sayumi, the brains of this group. It's a pleasure to meet you." She bowed a bit, Risa copying her actions. Then, Reina stepped forwards and bowed to Risa as well.

"Tanaka Reina, the power of this group. Nice to meet you, and welcome to the Castle!" She said with a big grin and she even winked to Risa, causing her to chuckle a bit.

"Niigaki Risa. Nice to meet you both." Risa said, smiling politely at these two warriors who seemed, at least by their first impression, to be very polite and nice persons.

"We form the group Team Alfa. I'm the sub leader of the group and Sayu and Reina are our subordinates. But in the end, we are all the same group... We are not so formal."

Eri explained eagerly. Risa nodded her head, but suddenly she remembered something. These face, she had a blurry memory of them, but she still remembered them somehow. And she also remembered, in which situation she had seen these faces. She would not be standing here, if these persons hadn't saved her when she had been attacked in the forest.

"Oh! I almost forgot!" She exclaimed and soon, she was bowing in front of the trio, causing all the members to look at her in confusion; what on earth was this girl doing?

"I haven't thanked you for saving my life." She said and raised her head a bit to look at the warriors in front of her. There was an awkward silence, which was broken by Eri laughing nervously.

"Well, we couldn't just leave you there, ne? We just did our job, right guys?"

Sayu nodded, agreeing with Eri, but Reina stepped a bit forward, smiling broadly.

"If you ever need someone to save you, you can always trust me! I am made to save people!"

She said to Risa, winking her eyes again. Risa raised her eye brown a bit, but ended up to chuckle again. Reina amused her somehow, but she didn't know why. Risa raised her head up and smiled to the group, who in return smiled too, mesmerized by the warm feeling they got, when they just looked in this girl's eyes. She had so gentle being and she was smiling almost all the time. They didn't even know this girl yet, but somehow, all the three thought, that they would like Risa and get well along with her in the future.

"Well, now that I have met most of this group, I would also like to meet the last member." Risa said happily. She remembered four faces and one was missing, which meant that she hadn't met the last person in this group. Or well Risa didn't know if that person was in this group, but so she assumed.

But what she got as an response, was something she didn't expect; All the three warriors in front of her were turning around nervously, as if trying to figure out, what to say.

"Ano... Maybe it's better, you'll meet her later because..." Eri started.

"Cause what?" Risa asked confused.

"Welll... cause..."

Reina kept on, till she was interrupted by a loud bang of a door. All four turned to watch, as a fully armored samurai entered the training area. She stopped for a while, before she walked to the group, taking her helmet off at the same time. Risa gasped a bit as she saw the warrior's face. This was the person, she saw last and for some reason, this face hat burned into her mind the best. That short brown hair, with small and beautiful face, but with a cold and dark eyes. This face was the most clear to Risa, but she didn't know why. The warrior had a bit sweat on her forehead, which revealed, that she had been training a while ago.

The group nodded a bit to their leader, as she stopped in front of them. Ai didn't respond. She only stared them for a while before she turned her gaze to Risa. They glanced each others for a long while, when a heavy silence filled the whole training area. Then, Risa decided to greet this person; she smiled warmly and bowed a bit tot he warrior in front of her.

"Hello, you must be the last member of this group. I'm Nii...."

Suddenly, Ai just turned around and walked to a small table. Risa was shocked; why did she do that? Had she do something wrong? At the same time, the rest of the group shook their heads with a sad expressions on their face. They had feared something like this would happen and had planned to avoid this meeting as long as possible, but seemed like the good luck didn't want to help them today.

Risa stood stunned for a while, watching as the warrior took of her helmet and some training clothes, leaving her clad in a white shirt and black shorts. Risa could see all the scars around her muscular hands and legs. This woman really had trained a lot. If Risa had only seen this person's body, she would have thought that she was a male, for she had so well built body.

Soon, Risa found herself marching towards the leader; she was going to try introduce herself again. She stopped beside the samurai and surprisingly saw that they were the same height. Risa smiled again and tried to make eye contact whit the person next to her.

"Ano, I didn't get to introduce myself. My name is Niigaki Risa. Nice to meet you."

Again, a deep silence followed her introducion. Ai just kept putting her equipment away and was like Risa wasn't there. Risa frowned and tried again,this time, speaking a bit louder.

"Excuse me but...."

"What does it take to you to understand "I don't care who the hell are you"?

Suddenly, the samurai had spun around and growled at Risa. Risa took few steps back and looked confused. She had just tried to be polite, for God's sake! What had she done wrong and why was this woman so angry?
Ai glared Risa for a while, before she put her last equipment away and disappeared in a nearby room, shutting the door behind her with a loud bang. It was silent again, the only sound being the fading thump from Ai's steps. Risa stared the door Ai had just went with shocked expression, but soon her face turned into a frown. Then, she suddenly spun around and faced the trio behind her, who all had a worried expression on their faces.

"What's her problem?" Risa asked, her voice a bit irritated now. The three warriors stayed silent for a moment, before Sayu opened her mouth.

"Ai-Chan... She's just... How could I say it..." Sayu muttered, scratching her head as she tried to think how to explain this.

"She... She has changed during the years..." Eri whispered..
"
Changed? What do you mean?" Risa almost shouted now, for her annoyance had raised a lot after that small encounter with the warrior. She usually was very calm, but now for some reason, she got frustrated quite quickly. Somehow, this person had really ticked her of and Risa had difficulties with controlling her emotions.

"She hasn't been like that all the time." Reina said in turn. All in the room turned to stare at her, Sayu and Eri with a bit surprised expression, while Risa, in turn, had still her frown on. Reina faced Risa and spoke again:

"Ai-chan changed when she was 15, but we really don't know..." Reina was about to start, but then a loud bang interrupted her. Everyone turned to look at the door, where Ai was standing. She stared her team with furious expression and soon, she walked in front of the three, making them all to back up a bit and Risa could see some kinf of  fear in their eyes.

"Who are you to tell about my life? What have I told you about this thing?" Ai said in a very cold tone, which caused everyone, even Risa, to flinch. Reina lifted her head up to meet with her leaders gaze, before she spoke.

"To not talk about it." She said quietly, allowing her gaze to drop to the ground.

"I believe and truly hope, we don't have to talk about this anymore, never again." The leader growled, looking all of her teammates, who in turn nodded in approval. Then, Ai pivoted around and walked to Risa. She stopped in front of her and pointed her with her index finger.

"And you. Stay away from here. This is a place for warriors, not for some weak persons." Ai hissed to Risa and with that, she was gone again. Risa stared after Ai in disbelief and then turned once again her gaze to the trio, who still looked quite scared.

"Who the hell she think she is? Is she some kind of..." Risa stopped, as she counted 1+1 in her head, realizing, that the woman was this group's leader. “No way....”

"Please, don't get her wrong... This is not the real her and Ai is a good leader, but she just has had... Some hard times." Eri said quietly and looked away. Risa couldn't believe this. This just wasn't right! That warrior had wonderful persons in her team and all she did was acting like an arse towards them! This wasn't how leader should treat her group.

"Everyone experiences some hard times in war! I understand if she is sad and all, shocked or something but..."

Risa took few deep breaths before she continued on. Somehow, Ai's rude actions had gotten her very pissed of. It wasn't very usual of her to open up like this, but now she did.

"but that's not an excuse to act like she did." The last of the sentence came in a more gentle tone. The trio looked at Risa, who was glaring the ground. She had calmed herself down very quickly, for she didn't want to dissolve her frustration to these girls. It wasn't their problem if she was angry. Was the leader's name Ai? Well, anyways, it was her problem, for she had been so rude. After her small rant, Risa faced the trio again and smiled sheepishly at them.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to yell at you..."

"It's quite ok. But really, don't get Ai wrong. She's a good person, but she just isn't very good at showing it." Sayu said with a smile, leaving her leaders rough past out of this conversation, because she didn't want to anger her leader anymore. If she said that no one should talk about it, then they really should not.

"She's a jerk..." Risa huffed, as she glared at the door, where Ai had walked a while ago. usually, Risa would think thinks like, “She must have something good in her too”, but now, she was very irritated and could think only negative things. And the most weird thing was, that she didn't know, why she was acting like this, for she usually kept her negative emotions in a good control.

"Yeah, she may be a jerk, but she's our leader and we wouldn't be following her, if she hadn't done some right things sometimes." Reina said, smiling as well.

"But I wonder, why she acted so rude towards Risa..."

Eri said, deep in thoughts. Sayu just shook her head and walked besides Eri, wrapping one of her arms around her middle and pulling her closer. Eri was a bit surprised but didn't reject the other woman's embrace.

"Don't mind Ai, she's just like soldiers are, a bit rude and cold. She will get used to you in no time." Sayu assured as she kept embracing Eri, who was still thinking this small incident that happened few minutes ago.

"Well I really hope that... I wont watch that kind of behaviour for long..." Risa huffed and crossed her arms in front of her.

Sayu chuckled a bit. Well, at least Risa got guts, when she reacted like that to Ai's behaviour. Someone weaker would have taken it quite seriously and even get scared, but Risa more likely answered back. If  Aihad stayed longer, Sayu was quite sure, that those two would have began to argue in no time.

Suddenly, Sayu started to push Eri a bit forwards, intimating her to move. The turtle took the hint an started walking, with a confused look on her face. She didn't get the chance to ask Sayu, what was she doing, for the other girl spoke firts.

"But if you'll excuse us now, we must leave for training. We'll see you around. Reina let's go!"

Sayu said happily and waved her hand to get Reina's attention. The other warrior nodded smiling and followed the couple outside. Risa watched the trio go away, smiling softly. They were just so nice people and even her anger subsided a bit when she just watched them. Risa herself started to leave the room too, but when she got to the door, she pumped into someone. When she looked up, Risa found Eri huffing in front of her, her cheeks a bit red.

"I almost forgot!" She said as she breathed quite fast, but continued soon. "Don't mind what Ai said. You're always welcome to come over here. If she has something to say to that, just tell her that you're my friend and she will drop it." Eri said smiling, making Risa watch her with a questioning look.

"Friends are allowed here and well... We are kinda friends or at least we will be, ne?" Eri said smiling, her breathing now calmed. Risa smiled as well at the turtle in front of her. She nodded her head in approval and the smile on Eri's face got even bigger, but it dropped soon, when she saw Risa's expression change.

"But there's just one thing..." Risa started, frowning a bit "Why are you so out of breath suddenly? And you look kinda red too, is everything ok?" Risa asked the turtle.

"Oh, it's nothing, Sayu just got a bit eager and...."

It seemed like Eri realized who she was talking to and what she was just about to say. Risa raised her eye brown  in surprise, but soon she had a mischievous grin on her face. But, before she could say anything, Eri was already running away.

"Forget what I said! You're free to go anywhere you want, but please be careful!"

Eri shouted as she disappeared behind the corner. Risa chuckled a bit to the Turtle's behaviour. That girl seemed to be very close with Sayu. Risa left the training area, musing the words Eri had said to her, in her head.

'Friends huh... I indeed hope I'll be friends with these people...'

Then, a certain person's face popped in Risa's mind, which caused a frown to appear on her face. She huffed and started to walk faster, as if trying to get the picture of this person out of her head.

'But SHE.... I'd rather not talk with that person again...'


-----------------------------------------


First, I am sorry if this chapter is a bit confusing... I had written this a long time ago, then I made some changes in that and of course my computer had to do some funny things and it didn't save that version... I had to do the changes and reread it again quite many times, before I got even close to the version I wanted. I tried my best with checking the mistakes, but I am quite tired again, so... Well you can guess the rest.

So there might be some funny incongruities. If you notice some, please inform me and I'll fix it XD
And yes, Sayu is quite wise in this fic, that's not an incongruity, lol! XD

Hope you like this chapter~
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 4/ 12/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 11, 2013, 11:29:12 PM
Ai is caught up in the battles happening around them.  Weird introduction to Ai though :sweatdrop:

Interesting :thumbsup
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 4/ 12/01
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 12, 2013, 06:10:43 AM
Ah, I know it will be Takagaki later, but after Reina's intro, I kind of want some Tanagaki... :sweatdrop:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 5/ 17/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 17, 2013, 10:37:56 PM
Kurosawa87: Well, you'll find out more about her later  8)

rndmnweird: What? Me writing a Takagaki fic? No way, where did you get that? And I wont say a thing about that Tanagaki........ XD



Yah, This is a bit shorter update, but I'll probably update another chapter in few days.
And this chapter might have A LOT OF MISTAKES, because guess who didn't get any sleep last night, but still wanted to update this now.  :doh:

Here we go~



Chapter 5 – And then, the king wanted to see her


It had been about three weeks, when Risa had talked with the Team Alfa and met Ai for the first time face to face. During those weeks, Risa had lived in the nurse's place, for she didn't have any other place where she could stay. She had helped LinLin and she came to notice that the nurse was very alike she was; a very positive and happy person, who always treated everyone very gently. She was very skilled nurse, though she was so young and knew a lot about her profession. Risa could think she had done this job for years, but she was shocked, when LinLin revealed that she had been working only for two years. She had studied nursing for her whole life, for she was very interested in biology and stuff and she also wanted to help people as much as she could. Risa was very taken by this person and she was also very thankful, that she let her to stay with her. But what kept bothering, was the way how LinLin seemed to know all the time, what she was thinking about or what she wanted. Once, they had been eating and Risa had decided to take some more rice but before she could have moved an inch, LinLin had put some more rice in her bowl. The girl just did that and said nothing, just smiled. It was very polite and all, but in the end it was also kinda scary. Those kind of things happened once in a while, but Risa just decided to ignore them, for it was nothing negative in the end, just a bit weird.

Then, one day, when Risa had just woken up, there was another person in the nurse's office. At first Risa thought she was just a customer, but soon noticed the person's clothes. The person had dark blue Hakama pants, which Risa had learnt, was the name of these skirt like pants, and a black coat on. She had also a funny square hat on her head, which had golden robes hanging from it. This costume gave an image, that this person was in a some kind of high position.

When Risa entered the room, the woman in front of LinLin turned towards her, smiled and bowed a bit.

"Good morning, Niigaki-san, or should I say, good day."

Risa blinked in surprise. First of all, this person talked to her in a respectful tone, bowed to her and.... Good day?

"Huh? OMG I overslept!!??" Risa screamed in panicked as she Glanced outside. Indeed, the sun was high up in the sky, which meant it was already midday. Suddenly, something else came to her mind. She had just woken up and she came straight to here...

"Oh my... J-just a second!! I'll be right back!!"

Risa shout as she ran back in her room. She was in her night suit, which was one kind of white shorts and a white top. Also, her hair was like she had had an electric shock and she had just walked in front of someone quite high ranking person. Or at least she thought so, how could she know.

Risa quickly changed her clothes, this time wearing a bit better clothes than few weeks ago. LinLin had given her the same piece of clothes as before, but they were in a better condition and looked more neat. Now, Risa had grey Hakama pants, whit white stripes and a dark green coat, which reached her middle-thighs and under that, she had a white shirt. Her hair was also arranged better, tied in a loose bun behind her head. After this all was done, Risa returned to the room, where the two other persons were still chatting something together.

"There's our sunshine!"

LinLin chirped happily, causing the other woman to turn around to face the younger girl. Risa blushed a bit and smiled nervously. How awkward was this. She had so gotten used to live with LinLin now, that she sometimes forgot to change her clothes before she emerged from her room. Well, after this morning, she would not do the same mistake again.

"Yeah, Hi.... Ano, sorry about that... I was just surprised and kinda... unprepared."

Risa said nervously to the woman who had talked to her earlier. The woman just chuckled a bit and she seemed like she didn't mind this at all.

"No worries. It's nothing. Anyways, Niigaki-san, I am the king's personal counselor, JunJun, and I am here to fetch you to the King's palace."

"EEH?" Risa said shocked. Why would the king want her to be fetched in her palace? What was going on?

"It's nothing to worry about. My lord just wants to meet you properly and talk to you about some things." JunJun assured Risa, chuckling a bit. Risa Glanced at LinLin, who only smiled at her. Well, the people in here took care of her plus, this JunJun didn't seem any creepy so maybe she could go without doubts, though it wasn't everyday you were fetched to meet the king...

"Umm... Okay. When do we leave then?" Risa asked.

"As soon as possible. If you're ready now, we can go." Junjun said smiling. "This way please, Niigaki san." She continued and held the door open for Risa.

"Okay..." Risa said, stepping out of the door, which was held open for her. "Bye Lin! See ya later!" She shouted to the nurse, who waved after her.

"Bye! Have fun!"

With that, the two left the nurse's place. Outside were two horses waiting, One being a chestnut colored, with white socks and a white star in it's forehead while the other one was totally black, with a very long mane. JunJun walked to the brown horse and turned to Risa.

"Ano, Niigaki-San.."

"Okay, chotto!" Risa shouted, stunning the counselor.

"I really appreciate your respectful way of talking but please, call me Risa. I'm... more comfortable with that..."

JunJun blinked few times, before she smiled at the other woman.

"As you wish, Risa. Anyway, I was just going to ask you, if you knew how to ride?"

Now, it was Risa's turn to blink as she looked at the horses and then she turned her face towards JunJun.

"Ride? Who could not?! It's one of the  basic skills you learn first! Like walking!"

She boomed, walking to the black horse. Soon, she had mounted and encouraged the horse to trot. Instead, the horse had a lot of will to go, so it started happily to gallop. Risa didn't get surprised by this; instead she just encouraged the horse to go faster and soon, JunJun lost a sight of her as the black animal turned behind a corner with it's rider.

"Oh my...."

She cursed under her breath as she mounted as well. Just when she was about to go after Risa, she heard some noises behind her. Turning around, JunJun could see Risa galloping towards her. The girl had rode around one big building and JunJun bet the streets were very crowded at this time.
How did she... I hope she didn't hurt anyone...

When she got closer, Risa pulled the reins gently and the horse slowed to trot and then to walk. Risa rode besides JunJun, who had a bit shocked expression on her face. She just smiled happily at the counselor and pet the horse, which was happily tossing it's head up and down. It was like it wanted to say, that they should go for another round.

"See, I can Ride" She said happily to the counselor. JunJun was silent for a while but soon she burst into laughter. This really was something she hadn't expected.

"Well that was something I dind't see coming!" She said. She pressed her legs gently in the horse's sides and the animal under her started to walk, Risa following suit with her own horse.

"Well you indeed can ride. That's one of our hardest horse to ride, for it is so stubborn. But it was the only one free in the stables, so I had to take it. I had in mind, that I would ride ahead and you would just follow me. Fuego usually follows other horses, but it doesn't listen to it's rider very often..."

JunJun laughed as they walked on the street. Risa just smiled and patted the horse again, which caused it to happily toss it's head up and down.

"Well, I have had a horse since I was a kid. I really love riding and my father taught me well..." A sad smile crept on Risa's face, as she remembered the times, when she and her father did long riding trips. It was very fun and Risa would give anything, that she could go back to that time. But those trips were over now and there was just a memory of them.

"Well I can see, since you handle Fuego so well." JunJun said smiling softly. They chatted all kind of things during their travel to the castle, but then Risa got curious about this king she was going to meet soon.

"Ano, can I ask few questions about the king?" Risa asked carefully. Sometimes, kings, rulers etc, were very secret thing to talk about in public, so it might have been a good thing to check first, if it was okay to talk about the ruler of this place.

"Sure, go ahead." JunJun answered smiling.

"Well... What kind of is she? I mean by nature?" Risa continued.

"Well, our king is kind of a special person. She really cares for everyone in her land and she is really doing her everything to end this war." JunJun smiled and turned her gaze to Risa, who was listening very carefully, what the councelor said to her.

"She's also very free minded and I have never seen my lord to yell at anyone. She also doesn't like to be called king..." JunJun said, scratching her head a bit.

"Eh, why?" Risa asked, surprised.

"Well... No one knows. She just likes to be close to her people and she propapbly things that being the leader, she only gets more away from us. You know with all the formalities when talking to the king and things... She never really requires them." JunJun laughed.

"Well, that's kind of a good thing. Now I don't have to worry about the formalities so much. Not that I wont act properly in front of her though." Risa said. JunJun nodded in approval till she spoke again.
"We are here."

Risa looked up to see, how a huge castle raised in front of her. It was like a Japanese styled shinto church and it had a garden around it and a lot of statues. The two women rode in the castle's gates and entered a huge, open yard. They rode through it and stopped in front of stairs. Soon, a servant ran from somewhere, bowed to JunJun and took hold of the horse's reins. Both Risa and JunJun got down and started to walk the stairs. Before that JunJun thanked the servant and gave him some advice before she left with Risa. When they got to the end of the stairs, JunJun stopped suddenly and stiffened. Risa stopped as well and watched the other woman in confusion. What now?

"Ano JunJun..." But the councilor just watched ahead, as if she had seen a ghost. Risa turned as well, only to gasp and falter back a little bit.

In front of them, about 10 meters away, was a person with a mask and a bow, which was pointed towards them. It seemed like one of those silly guys Risa had seen in her village when they had small theaters during some festival time. Different was, those in her past were friendly and stupid, but this one looked very ominous. The bow in mask person's hands was strained and if the person let go, Risa or JunJun would get hit by an arrow.

"What the heck is th...." Risa couldn't get her sentence in the end, when the weird person suddenly launched the bow and the arrow hit her.


-------

Muahahah, there's your cliffhanger~ As I said earlier, I will update more very soon.

Thank you everyone for your interest and comments and I hope you will follow my story in the future too~
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 5/ 17/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 18, 2013, 09:50:45 AM
Surprise attack
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 6/ 19/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 18, 2013, 11:01:43 PM
As I said earlier, this is going to be a very fast update.
Here we go~


Chapter 6 – There's never a good reason for war




The arrow flew through the air, landing in the middle of Risa's chest. Risa gasped, shocked by the sudden attack. But something wasn't just right. She was supposed to feel pain, but all she had felt was just a small thud on her chest and then nothing. Risa opened her eyes, which she had closed when the arrow had hit, and looked down to her chest. The arrow was still there, but it was hanging very loosely from her clothes. Raising an eyebrow, Risa took hold of the arrow and teared it off from her clothes. She examined the head of it and noticed, but found nothing unusual from it. It was like a real weapon but it was extremely light. It looked like a real one, but it wasn't for it should have had killed Risa. Just when the girl was about to ask the person who had shot her, what the hell was this, she was surprised by an unfamiliar voice.

"Got scared?"

Risa looked up and saw the mask man or what ever just in front of her. The mask was green and it had a huge grin. There were holes, so that the person wearing it, could see and talk freely, when the mask was on the face.

"UWAAH!!"

 Risa screamed and fell, for the mask had surprised her. She was lucky enough she hadn't stopped just tat the end of the stairs, or she would be about 15 meters lower than she was now. The person with mask just howled in laughter, as she took the arrow from Risa and removed her mask.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to make any harm, but I just couldn't resist when I noticed you two coming this way." The person, who revealed to be a woman, said still laughing. Then suddenly, JunJun gasped and got up, snapping an attention and bowing deeply.

"My lord!" She yelled as she bowed.

"EH? You got to be kidding with me...." Risa said shocked. This was the king? The person, who had just made her visitor and subordinate a tirck and shocked them both to dead by shooting a toy arrow towards them?! JunJun said she was quite informal, but Risa could never have imagined she could be THIS informal and childish. Finally, the king stopped laughing as she put the mask and the toy weapon away.

"Really, I am sorry about this, but I just couldn't resist. And JunJun, for God's sake get your head up! You don't have to bow in front of me..."

The king said, as she waved her hands to get her councilor up. JunJun nodded and stood up quickly facing her lord, who in turn turned to face Risa, who was still sitting on the ground. The king extended her hand to Risa, who accepted it, not really realizing, that the king of this land just helped her up. But she didn't feel like she was interacting with a king now, for it felt she had met a young child instead. When she was on her feet again, Risa was about to let go of the king's hand, but it was held tightly by the ruler. Risa raised her face to meet the king, who had a very gentle smile on her face, as she spoke to Risa.

"Welcome to the Castle, Niigaki Risa. It's a pleasure to have you here. My name is Yoshizawa Hitomi and as you might already know, I'm the ruler of this land and so on."

Yoshizawa said the end nonchalantly and finally let go of Risa's hand. Risa was amazed. She had always thought, that the kings and the queens were very formal and required strict behaviour from others and would never talk normally to average people. But Yoshizawa was different. Heck, who would ever have guessed that the king did tricks to her subordinates and people?

"Well, now that we know each others and you two have recovered from the shock, I suggest we go inside." The king said, smiling like the sun, and started to walk inside. Risa and JunJun soon followed after Hitomi, both still a bit shocked from this king's trick.

When they entered the palace, Risa could not hold back a gasp; They had arrived to a big hall and it indeed was HUGE. There was a lot of expensive looking things inside, like a golden dresser, with golden chairs around it, small statues and some other decorations, all covered in some kind of noble metal. There were some servants walking around, everyone nodding to JunJun and smiling politely at Risa. They walked through the hall and in the end of it was a doorway, which reminded the gate, which lead to this palace. It had black frames, which were formed by two dragons, climbing the doorway up and meeting each other on top of it. Both dragons had a red flame coming out of their mouth. Behind the dragons, Risa could recognize the frame of a torii.

The three of them walked through the doorway and came in a room, which had two statues in it. One was a big, golden dragon statue and the other was a golden tiger statue. Beside the dragon statue was a door, which Yoshizawa slid open and went inside, JunJun and Risa following behind. They entered a wide but not very long corridor, which had a lot of doors in it. Yoshizawa continued to the end of the corridor and opened a door which lead to another huge room, but not nearly as huge as the hall they had entered first. Risa was about to follow the king, but JunJun stopped her suddenly, causing Risa to frown.

"That's the King's room, and no one else than the king herself, her family and some servants are allowed to enter that room." JunJun explained to the frowning female in front of her, who just nodded and waited for the king to return. After about 5 minutes, Yoshizawa was back again, wearing a kimono like dress, which was light blue with black dragon and flower figures on it. When she noticed the two in the corridor, the king frowned and looked them, like she was about to scold them from something.

"Why are you here? I tought you would have come along." She asked the two and caused JunJun to almost fall down.

"But my lord! It's only allowed to...." She was cut of by Yoshizawa waving her hand furiously. She had had enough of these formalities a long time ago and she really didn't want to hear it anymore.

"Oh, JunJun, why must you be so formal! It's a room like any other room! Everyone is welcome! Is this again some law thing I have to take care of?" Yoshizawa cried out as she dashed out to the statue room, JunJun and Risa once again behind her.

"Mmm, well yes, it is..." JunJun murmured to the king, causing Yoshizawa to sigh deeply.

"Damn those ancestors... Soon I have to write the whole law book again!" The king groaned and glared the pictures on the wall. Only now, did Risa notice that there were pictures on the wall in this room. When she examined them closer, she noticed that every picture had a name and some kind of year written under it. Every person's in the pictures had gorgeous clothes and they looked very noble. Then it hit Risa; these were the old kings and queens of this land! Risa checked all the pictures, till she faced an empty wall. She turned her gaze to the last picture, which had Yoshizawa's name and the year, she become the leader of this land. In the picture, Yoshizawa was way younger than she was now, probably in her teens.

'They must have taken the picture when she was chosen to be the next ruler or something... ' Risa thought as she continued to examine the pictures.

“Having fun watching my ancestors?”

Suddenly, a voice spoke beside Risa's ear and once again, she got scared so badly, that she fell. But this time she was caught by the king who was chuckling, because of Risa's reaction.

“Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you again.”

The king laughed as she walked to a small, Japanese style table nearby a window, after helping Risa to stand up again. The table was next to the tiger statue and it had four cushions around it. Yoshizawa sat down on one cushion and encouraged her visitors to sit as well. Immediately, when they were seated, Yoshizawa had that cheerful expression on again as she started to ask questions from her visitor:

"So, Gaki-san... Is that okay, if I call you that?"

Yoshizawa asked Risa, who nodded in response, still a bit aware of what the king would do next. She wasn't afraid or something like that, just prepared, for the king seemed to like surprise people around her.

"So, how have you been in here? Everything's fine? You got any new friends? Have my men treated you well?"

The king asked so many questions in so little time, that Risa, in her still a bit confused state, couldn't answer any of them.

"...What?" That was all she could get out and now she probably looked like an idiot, acting like this in front of the king. But Yoshizawa just laughed and friendly patted Risa on her shoulder.

"Sorry, it's just that I got a bit exited about, how we got a new person here. Also, you're from a very far away place and we don't have much information about you guys there, so it's nice to meet people from there too." The king explained, her friendly behaviour calming Risa down a bit. This king truly was something else. She talked to Risa like they had known for a long time and she even patted her shoulder! Usually, leaders and such would never touch people under them, but Yoshizawa was something else and Risa could truly understand, why she was liked so much. Though she hoped she didn't trick people like she had tricked her and JunJun today.

"So, lets start with one question. How have you been here?" Yoshizawa asked much calmer now.

"I have been very fine, thank you. Especially thanks to your nurse, LinLin, for she has let me stay at her place all this time." Risa said smiling gently.

"Ah, LinLin. She's just a good girl. I'm lucky to have a nurse like she is." Yoshizawa said and kept a small pause. Just when Risa was about to answer, the king slapped her hands together, startling Risa, but not JunJun. She was kinda used to this already.

"And talking about staying, we have to arange a place for you to stay in here!" She shouted happily, causing Risa to laugh nervously. This was like talking to a child...

"With all due respect, Yoshizawa-san, I think I need to leave soon. I can't bother..."

"Nonsense! You'll stay here with us! And bothering us? Pst, child, you're everything else but bothering us." Yoshizawa interrupted Risa, who just stared the king in disbelief.
Did this king really have this big heart, or was she just acting something else she was? But the sincere look in Yoshizawa's eyes made Risa banish all the bad thoughts from her head. Slowly, Risa bowed her head a bit towards the king, who just kept smiling at her.

"Thank you... Thank you so much. After I lost everything I had..." Risa sniffed a bit, but didn't let herself cry. Not now, she would be strong. "I... I don't know where to go. But if you truly are willing to give me a place to stay here, I am forever thankful to you."

A silence followed after Risa's words. Then, Risa felt how a hand made contact with her chin and lifted it up, to meet the king's face. Yoshizawa had a very gentle smile on her face, as she smiled to the younger girl, who was still bowing in front of her.

"Of course, I am willing to give you a place to stay. What kind of king would I be, if I turned my people in problems and such, away from me?" She gently lifted Risa's upper body so, that the young girl was sitting now straight. Risa had still a confused look on her face when Yoshizawa took her hand away, her expression turning now serious.

"Now, I am very sorry for the lost of your hometown and family. It was a surprise attack and we weren't prepared very well plus, your village was very unlike place for the enemy to attack. I am truly sorry, for we could not do anything faster than we did."

The king said the sadness clear in her voice. Risa turned her gaze to the floor, memories filling her mind again. Memories of her family, her home, everything. But soon, her head rose again and she faced the king, who still had a sorrowful look on her face.

"Do you... Do you know who did this?" Risa asked quietly, getting the king's attention to her.

"It was the Heng clans army." Yoshizawa said sternly and when she gained a confused look from Risa, the king decided to explain a bit more about the things going on.

"In this land, there are two Samurai clan's, one being Heng's clan, the other being Yoshizawa's clan. Both clans are named by their founder and the first leader, the bloodline continuing to this day. I'm the 25th leader of this clan and I have ruled for 13 years now."

The king spoke, as she rose from her cushion and walked a bit around, but all the time moving so, that Risa could hear her.

"There has always been some kind of tension between these two lands, but it has only once escalated to war. Now, it has done it twice...." There was a brief pause again, before the King continued.

"The first war started with a murder when my mother, the former leader of our clan, was killed by the Heng's new leader. My mother went to make peace with the other clan, where the King had been murdered by her own daughter and they didn't inform us about this, at all. It was an ambush and we went straight to it. The daughter played her father and just, when she was dealing the peace with my mother.... She killed her, instead." The king took another break. She was now standing in front of a huge window and watched the village outside.

"We were attacked, but luckily, we had troops with us. My mother had said that morning, that she had a bad feeling about this, so she took her warriors with her. They were all saved by Takahashi sensei, who was the army general then. We pushed the Heng's clan back and after that, there was a war which lasted for 3 years. After those 3 years, the Heng just disappeared and didn't show it's face in a long time. We sent some investigation teams and got information, that their leader had some problems with her people. Someone, who turned out to be her relative, charged her for a murder and gathered some people against the current leader. There were a lot of riots, so Heng could not focus on fighting anymore. I also assume, that her relative was somehow powerful, for it took so long time to get rid of her enemy. Now, after 10 years of unsteadiness it seems, that she has settled those problems, for she is attacking us again..."

Yoshizawa turned back to her companion, facing them with a serious face. Risa was still quite confused and she had a lot of questions about this war and all.

"But.. Why?"

"Apparently, the Heng's current leader has something against our land, plus she is a very greedy person. She wishes to own this whole land and we stand in front of her. She is said to be mentally ill and well... You can only imagine what happens when people like that are put into a leading position..."

"But... That's just... Stupid." Risa whispered, causing Yoshizawa and JunJun to turn their attention towards her.

"That's not a reason to get in war. Just because you don't like someone isn't a reason to get thousands of people killed!" Risa shouted desperately, while the king just stood calm and watched her.

"How many people are going to die just because someone doesn't like someone else? How many innocent lives are sacrificed for just some stupid... That's just not good enough for a reason to fight!"

"When there's a good reason for war?" Yoshizawa said gently. She walked to Risa and placed her hands on her shoulders.

"I have tried to avoid this war, as well, as I am able. But the last attack in your village just showed me, that the war is the only way to end this. If I stay inside and pray for peace, I may as well pray for all my people, that they will get to the heaven, when they are all killed one by one." The king paused again. She had that gentle smile on her face again, as she watched the younger girl below her.

"But in here, we are going to bring the war as little as we can. This is a place where people are supposed to live happily and in peace. So, maybe this is enough for the information about this war for you." With that Yoshizawa patted Risa's shoulders and walked to JunJun, who again got up like a flash and snapped in attention.

"At ease. JunJun, Get me the papers about empty places in this village. We are going to arrange Gaki-san here a home."

The goofy grin and that childish glistening in the king's eyes, was back and Risa was a bit confused again. For a second, the king was cheerful as a kid and in a moment, she was the responsible leader, who everyone trusted.

"Yes my..." Yoshizawa turned to glare JunJun, who immediately shut up.

"Yes..." JunJun said and disappeared to find the papers she was ordered to bring. Yoshizawa smiled and turned back to Risa.

"Come now. When JunJun searches for those papers, why don't we have something to eat. You must be very hungry." The king said, but soon continued: "And I wont take no as an answer."

She grinned at Risa and winked her to follow her. Risa got up immediately and followed the king. She was going to get a home here, after she lost everything and just because this king was so generous. And now, she was even going to have a dinner with the king! This leader truly was something else, but Risa was very grateful that she was. She was going to have a home and she could start to look the way to find the peace between these two lands again. Also, it was a good thing Yoshizawa was for the peace too, for she could help Risa with this thing.

"Too bad Rika and Akira are not here... I bet they would have been pleased to meet you"

With that the king turned to look her companion, only to be met by a confused young woman staring at her. Yoshizawa realized soon, why she was so confused and chuckled a bit.

"My wife and son."

Yoshizawa told Risa, who finally got what the king was talking about. With Yoshizawa talking all kind of things ans asking Risa questions, the two of them exited the room, leaving the statues guard it silently.

------------------

There you go~

Thank you again for your interest guys!  :)
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 6/ 19/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 18, 2013, 11:32:55 PM
Yossie as a king and Jun is too funny :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 6/ 19/01
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 19, 2013, 03:14:37 AM
Ishiyoshi!~~!~!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 7/ 24/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 24, 2013, 05:42:23 PM
Thank you guys for your comments and interest again!

Here's the next chapter~


Chapter 7 – There was only one person, who would not accept her



Aftrer having quite an awkward meal whit the king, Risa was walking back to LinLin's place. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate the king's offer for dinner, but it was just quite weird to meal with the king. Yoshizawa had all the time tried to get Risa relax and act like they were both “normal people”, but it didn't quite work on Risa. But it wasn't only Yoshizawa's childish and un-leader like behaviour that bothered her, for Risa had also something else in her mind. She had learnt a lot more of this war from Yoshizawa and she had considered things again. If Risa wanted to help to find the peace, she would have to take part in battle, for if she just tried it any other way she would fail. She could not affect the other side by talking and she wasn't able to do anything else. The only way, was to take part in battles and even then, she would not affect much. One person just simply could not end a war.

'But that doesn't mean I am not going to do anything...'

Risa thought, as she walked on. She had spent quite a lot time in the Palace and it was starting to get dark by now. Risa started to run, when she realized that no one had informed LinLin about her. Of course, she knew where Risa was, but she had stayed in the Palace quite a long time, so the nurse might have been thinking, where she was. Just when Risa was about to turn to a familiar alley, she stopped suddenly. In front of her, was a familiar area qith fences around it, where she had been a few weeks ago. Risa stared the training area for a while, before she turned and walked inside the building. LinLin could wait now, for she had nothing to be worried about, plus that girl was very clever, so Risa really didn't need to worry about her. She went to the room, where Eri had taken her last time and where she had also met Sayu and Reina for the first time and...

Risa stopped and glared the familiar door, which the woman she didn't like much, had banged a lot of last time she visited here. She really hoped that Ai would not be here, or if she was, she would better act a bit better than last time.

The room was empty, so Risa decided to explore this place a bit more. In the end, she was welcomed here by Eri, so she was allowed to do this, right?
At first, Risa went to another door which read “Training area”. She opened the door and was greeted by the Team Alfa training. Eri, Sayu and Reina, where in about 10x10m area, which was surrounded by a fence. They were practicing in pairs, while one would rest and follow what the others were doing. They all had a full armor on, with the helmet and all. There were sounds of metal hitting metal, the fast breathing of the warriors and from time to time, someone yelled some kind of a battle-cry.

Risa closed the door and watched the training, leaning on the wall behind her. This team really looked like they had practiced a lot, for all Risa saw the trio doing, was something very amazing; they were fast, they had power and they knew how to use sword deathly.

Just when Risa got into the group's training, someone had to come and disturb her. And that someone, had to be her.

“What are you doing here?”

A cold and familiar voice snapped to her. Risa rolled her eyes and turned to face the Team Alfa's leader, who was briskly walking towards her. Ai had also her whole armor on, but she had taken her helmet away. When she got near Risa, Ai stopped and stared the other female with a gaze which said “Get the hell out of my sight right now.” Risa crossed her arms in front of her and glared the warrior, who was still sending those death glares towards her.

“I am watching my friends training in here. It's allowed isn't it?” Risa said in a normal tone. She wanted to be rude, for Ai's rude attitude still annoyed her, but she held back. It was not like her to lose her cool in things like this.

“Maybe for friends, but not for you.” Ai growled and glared Risa at the same time. That's it, Risa had gotten enough. She hadn't done anything to Ai and she was treated like she had killed someone or done something else unforgivable.

“Excuse me, but I happen to be Eri's friend and she said, I am allowed to come here...” Risa could not continue when she was interrupted by Ai:

“And I can cancel that permission. My word is stronger than Eri's and....”

“And you should let people finish what they are saying and not to speak on them!” Risa said quite loudly, surprising herself. This was very unlike her, but she just couldn't control herself, for Ai annoyed her so badly.

“I am allowed to talk whenever I want. Now get out of here.”

“Hey, what's going on here?” A different voice said, causing Ai and Risa to turn around. The rest of the team had heard their very small quarrel and of course, they came to check, what was the matter. Ai turned towards Risa again and glared her furiously.

“See? You're disturbing my team's important training!” With that, Ai took a step closer, so she was now only a meter away from the other female. The group leader looked deep in Risa's eyes and talked in a low and threatening voice:

“Now, you get out of here and never ever come back.” Then, Ai spun around and was about to leave, but stopped in front of the trio.

“Back to training. It's not over yet.” Ai said in a cold tone and then disappeared in somewhere. The team sighed and went to do what they were ordered, but before that, Eri walked to Risa and quickly whispered to her:

“Wait outside. We'll finish soon and meet you then.” She smiled to Risa and gave her thumbs up, causing the other female also smile. Risa just could not resist Eri's smile, for it was so pure and gentle. She nodded and went outside, while Eri went back to training whit the others.



After a half and hour the team came out of the training area and started to get rid of their equipment. Risa had waited the whole time in the room, she had first met this team and was very grateful, that Ai had not came here during that time. Risa really didn't want to see her now and she would have probably exploded, if she had seen the leader.

Eri got beside Risa, sitting down and wiping some sweat at the same time from her forehead. Soon, Reina and Sayu joined them too. The trio were wearing black shorts and a white shirt, which were all drenched from sweat. Their breathing was still quite fast and they were drinking water all the time.

'They must have very hard training... But no wonder, it's war now in the end.'

Risa thought, as she examined the three warriors around her. All of them had a muscular body, but they were not too sturdy. It would probably be only a bad thing, for in the battle, speed was very important skill and if you were too sturdy, you would be very slow and an easy target.

“So, how was your day today?” Eri asked, as she sipped some more water.

“Well, I met JunJun and Yoshizawa, got a dinner with the king and....” Risa was interrupted by three even spitting sounds, as all the three warriors around here were gagging, for they had almost choked. Eri was the first one to recover and she watched Risa with wide eyes.

“You did what??!!”

Risa laughed a bit nervously and scratched her head. By now, also Sayu and Reina had recovered and they were staring Risa with the same expression as Eri.

“Yeah, she insisted... I hardly believe it by myself that I had a lunch with the king....”

Risa watched the persons around her, who still had the confused expression on, but now they were also frowning.

“Eh what?” Reina said in disbelief, only to be cut by Sayu:

“Oh no, we are not talking about that! Yoshizawa has invited us all for dinner, God knows how many times, but what we are amazed by, is....”

“That you met JunJun.” Eri finished Sayu, speaking in a whisper, like JunJun's name was some kind of tabu. A deep silence descended in the room, as the group kept on staring Risa, who in turn, was very confused now too. What the hell?

“Mmm, is JunJun somewhat a meaningful person then?” She asked, examining the other persons's faces all the time. Then Reina finally snapped back on earth again and waved her hands frantically.

“No, no she is not! Or well she kind of is.... But, it's just that she is never seen... I was just wondering... How did you catch her, so you could meet her...”

“Yeah, last time I saw JunJun, was about 8 months ago. That woman really is a master in hiding!”

“Well she is not hiding, but she has a lot of work to do, since she leads the spies and all investigation in the enemy's area.” Eri said in. The three girls kept on talking about JunJun and how she was never seen and how Risa had met her. Risa was still very confused. Why was it so special, that someone had seen JunJun, for she was the king's councilor and in times like this, it was no wonder she had a lot of things to do.

“Mmmm... Is it really that amazing that I met with JunJun?” Risa interrupted the group's conversation, who had totally forgotten that Risa was in here too.

“Oh sorry... We got lost in our conversation here...” Eri apologized immediately, Reina and Sayu soon following suit.

“Well, this was more like... Well, how could I explain it...” Reina thought for a while, before Eri continued her sentence.

“We spent a lot of time with JunJun before this war. Now, we haven't seen her, though Yoshizawa has said, that she should be in the village. She probably uses all her free time to plan her missions."

“But we kinda understand that she can't meet with us now... She has a lot of do and she is used behind the enemy's line, for she knows that place the best. She's practically in the middle of the enemy and that needs very careful planning.” Sayu said in. Risa raised an eyebrow a bit and looked at Sayu with a question mark on her head.

“How does she know that place the best?” Risa asked the group. Sayu had a surprised look on her face, as she heard Risa's question.

“Don't you know it yet? They haven't told it to you?” She asked the girl in front of her, who just shook her head.

“JunJun is from Kyokoku. She was treated harshly in there, so she escaped and ended in here. Now, she works for Yoshizawa and tries her best to end this war, so her homeland could live in peace...”

“Wait wait!” Risa interrupted Sayumi, by holding her hands up, intending the other woman to stop.

“What is Kyokoku?”

Again, the group just stared Risa, like she had another head. Didn't this girl know anything?

“Kyokaku is our enemy's land. It's the only big nation with Kibo in here. Haven't you never heard of it?” Eri asked Risa, who just ended up shaking her head again.

“No, I haven't. We really lived quite in our own little village and didn't know much about other lands.” Risa said. She really didn't know much about anything else than her own village, for she had had all she ever needed in there. Also, her parents never really told her about other places. There had been only one other land, which Risa had known besides her own village and land, but that in turn, was said to be quite an unknown place for others in this land.

“But now, that you mention, I sometimes noticed an accent in JunJun's speaking. It was quite weak, but it was there.”

“Yeah, LinLin doesn't have accent, for she has lived her whole life in here, but JunJun....”

“Is LinLin from there too??!!” Risa interrupted Sayu once again, but this time she almost shouted, causing the whole Team Alfa to jump.

“Damn, don't scare us like that.... You didn't know about LinLin either?” Reina asked now a bit shocked Risa.

“No, I didn't know...”

“Well, LinLin's story is a bit different than JunJun's. LinLin was abandoned when she was a baby and somehow, she ended in Kibo. Yoshizawa found her and took her here to be raised.” Eri explained to Risa, who started slowly to calm down. She had nothing against it, that they were from the land her homeland was in war with, but she was just surprised about this because she hadn't known this at all.

“Well that's quite nice to know. I think it must be hard for them, that they are kinda like fighting against their own country...” Risa said quietly. It would be horrible, if she had to fight against the place she was born and raised in. Reina stepped a bit forward, gaining everyone's attention.

“It might sound like that, but in truth, they are more than happy to do that.” She said, causing Risa to frown a bit. Soon, Eri continued Reina's words:

“We are not in this war, because we would like to destroy the other side. We fight, because we want to free it.”

“Yes, we fight, so we could get this madness to end. We want to live in peace and we also want that for the other land too.” Sayu added, as she walked besides Eri, putting her arm around the older girl's shoulder. Risa smiled at the words she just had heard. These people really fought only if they had to. They didn't like war, but they still fought because of the others. That was something Risa considered as a very noble act.

“You guys are really doing a wonderful job. I wish, I could help in some way too...”

“But you can!” Eri yelled suddenly, breaking free from Sayu's embrace, which caused the other girl to pout a little bit. Risa was very stunned, for Eri had jumped in front of her and was now holding her hands.

“If you would like to, you would join our training!” Eri continued, causing Risa to get even more confused. She in their training? No way! She would fall behind very quickly...

“That's not actually a bad idea. I mean, if you're okay with fighting and you want to help....” Reina said, while Sayu just nodded smiling. Risa looked at the people in front of her, who were all smiling at her and encouraging her to take part in this thing. Would she be a good warrior? Or would she be a warrior at all...

“I... I don't know guys... I mean..”

“You could at least try.” Eri interrupted, causing Risa to turn her face towards her. She was met by an angle like face, when Eri smiled at her very gently. All Risa could do, was to smile back, for she could not do anything else when she saw Eri's smiling face.. This girl really had something in that smile, for Risa had never ever seen something like this. She tangled her fingers around Eri's hands, causing the turtle to look down a bit.

“Well... I don't know what this will come out of, but I can at least try....”

“Yatta!!!” Suddenly, the turtle got wild and started to jump around, taking Risa with her.

“Woah! Eri!!! Let me go!!!” But Eri just whirled Risa around the room, for she was so happy now. They would get a new person in here, and maybe later, a new member in the Team Alfa too! Sayu and Reina just laughed at Eri's reaction. That Turtle really had a pure heart and she always rejoiced about this kind of things. It was nice to have a person like that nearby, when they were living times like these.

Just, when Eri was about to celebrate some more, someone interrupted them by banging a door, causing the turtle to stop jumping and everyone else to turn towards the sound. Everyone else tensed immediately, while Risa just frowned deeply, as they saw, who came into the room.

“Did I hear right, that this girl is about to take part in our training?” A very stern voice of the leader of Team Alfa, echoed in the now silent room. Everyone, except Risa was staring her very nervously and didn't dear to say a word.

Risa in turn was suddenly very irritated by the leader's attitude and appearance. She should not have this kind of effect on her subordinates. Of course, it was a good thing, if you were respected and all, but if you were feared, then something was wrong. Keeping her hands behind her back, Ai walked slowly through her team, who all gave her some way, and stopped finally in front of Risa. They just stared each others, like they were dueling with their eyes. Either didn't say a word, but everyone could feel, how the temperature in the room dropped many degrees now. Ai was always scary when she was like this, but Risa was quite a scary sight too now; she had a deep frown on her face, as she sent daggers towards Ai with her eyes. Then, suddenly, the leader leaned forwards, startling even the younger girl, as well as her own team. She had still that stone face and cold stare, which made Risa nervous for some reason.

“My answer is no. We don't need weak persons like you in here. I bet you would not stand even one day.” Shivers ran through everyone, as Ai spoke in very cold tone, which would freeze hell at least ten times over.

“Or rather, you would not stand even a one hour.”

And with that, Ai briskly turned and left the room. But when she was at the door, she turned around once more and glared at Risa, who had a shocked expression on her face.

“And don't come here anymore. Ever again.”

And then she was gone, leaving the four, now very confused and even a bit scared girls behind.


-----------------------

There you go~

I'll probably update more very soon, for I got some extra day offs. Yay!

Hope you enjoyed this!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 7/ 24/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 24, 2013, 07:17:38 PM
The Junjun background is extremely interesting and the banter between Ai and Risa is such a battle of wits
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 7/ 24/01
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 24, 2013, 07:41:03 PM
What a jerk Ai-chan is. She really makes me mad! I think I want, more than anything, for Risa to make her look silly and beat her in that way.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 8/ 26/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 26, 2013, 04:07:42 PM
Thank you for your comments and interest again everyone!  :cow:

As I said, I am going to update soon.

Here's the next chapter~


Chapter 8 – And she would still be treated like a trash by her



The room was dead silent and it had been that at least for several minutes now. The four girls were standing there, no one really knowing what to say or do. The three of them just stared at the one girl, who had stared the door for a good while now. Finally, the girl did something, but no one expected what was coming.
Very slowly, Risa curled her fists in ball and everyone could see, how she was shivering. She was shivering, for she was so damn angry. Suddenly, Risa spun around and faced the now even more confused team alfa.

“WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HER??!!”

The whole Team Alfa backed few steps and covered their ears, as Risa exploded. But it was no wonder that the girl was very angry now; Risa had experienced a lot of bad and shocking things lately and now, she was treated like a trash though all she had tried to do was being nice to everyone. She had done nothing and still, Ai was very rude towards her.

“I have done nothing to her and she is like I have committed a crime or something... Damn you son of.....”

Risa shut her mouth, before she said something she should not. She didn't like to swear or say bad things about others, not even then, when she really didn't like someone.
Eri was the first to act, as she came to Risa's side, placing her hand on her shoulder. The older girl calmed a bit, for she didn't want to unwind her feelings to others. They had done nothing wrong. Ai had, and she was the one Risa should be yelling at. After few minutes, Risa finally calmed down and also let her hand, which had raised up a while ago, fall down and relax. Eri smiled in relief when she saw the other girl finally cooled down. She could really understand, why Risa felt this way and she didn't even think about scolding her. No, it was okay for her, if Risa showed her displeasure in this.

“Hey, really, don't mind Ai. You can come here whenever you want to. And about that joining our training... You're really welcome here, all the time.”

Turning around, Risa faced the younger girl, melting immediately, when she was met by Eri's beautiful smile. Risa could not talk in an angry way to this girl, if she was smiling like that. Sighing deeply, Risa shook her head and looked at the ground.

“I'm really sorry again... I didn't intend to yell at you.”

Then, a second hand was joined with Eri's on Risa's shoulder.

“It's okay, we don't mind, for we know why you're so angry.”

The voice of Sayu said calmly. Soon, a third hand was added as well, as Reina joined her friends. Risa glanced at the smiling warrior, who nodded her head a bit. Risa just smiled and nodded back, turning her face to back to Eri. A smile crept on her face and she ended up placing her hand on the other girl's hands.

“Thank you... Thank you so much. I bet, I have been a huge burden to you and still... You act so nice towards me.”

The three hands on Risa's shoulders were suddenly gone, when the whole team waved their hands in front of them:

“You, a burden?? No way!”

Eri yealled as Sayu and Reina nodded in approval to her words. Risa stared them a bit confused, till her attention was drawn by Eri's hand on her shoulder again.

“You are not a burden to us. We really enjoy having you here and alive, after all you have suffered. You're also a wonderful person, so we really don't mind that you're here with us."

Risa just could not do anything else, than smile again at the turtle. But she could not say her thank yous before Eri continued again:

“And we can also ask our head trainers, if you're allowed to join our training. They are higher than Ai, and their word is law to our dear leader too. Lets ask them someday and I am sure, you're allowed to join.”

Smiling, Risa nodded to Eri's words, causing the turtle to smile even wider. The evening continued on at the training area, as the four friends spent some time together, now talking about all the other things, than what had happened a while ago.

------------------------------------------

A sound of rushing steps was heard everywhere around the city, as everyone was escaping for their dear life. There were screaming, crying and all kind of sounds of horrified and dying people. Risa was also running, but she could not go forwards. She saw her home, how flames burst out of it's windows and how the whole building was about to collapse. She could hear her family's cries and pleas, as they were dying inside their home. She was screaming too, but no one could hear her, no one. She was all alone in the dark, watching, as her only family and people she truly cared for, died in front of her eyes. Then, she heard a sound. Someone was calling her name. Risa tried to look around, but all she saw was flames and dead people. The calling got louder and louder, till Risa could not take it anymore; she screamed as hard as she could and then...



“MOTHER!!!”

Something hard hit her head, as Risa had jumped up in her bed. Immediately, she fell down, placing her hands on top of her now aching head.

“Oww...”

“You okay?"

A familiar voice asked. Risa opened her fingers slightly, to see who was talking to her. LinLin was hovering above her, looking very concerned. Risa just groaned and took her hands away from her face, letting the nurse to examine it. In no time, LinLin started to look at Risa's forehead. It was a bit read and there was a small lump in there, but nothing very serious.

“Where in the heck did I hit my head?”

Risa mumbled, as she closed her eyes a bit, when the aching got harder. She glanced the nurse, who was nervously scratching her head.

“Well... I had one kind of tray in my hands and I really couldn't anticipate that you would jump up like that... So, you were unlucky and hit your head in it.” The nurse smiled a bit nervously at Risa and motioned the food which was on the nearby nightstand. Risa just sighed, rubbing her forehead at the same time. Soon, she realized, it was not a very good idea, for her forehead was quite sensitive now because of the hit. Suddenly, Risa stopped her actions and it seemed like she tried to listen something.

“What's wrong....”

“Shh!” She hissed suddenly, causing the nurse to shut her mouth. She had heard, she was sure of it. After a moment, Risa turned towards LinLin, who was still quite out of this situation.

“Is that... A sound of footsteps?” Risa asked quietly, as she tried to listen the sound. LinLin looked surprised at first, but then she just turned her head towards the window and nodded.

“Yes, that is. The troops are leaving the village.”

“Eh? Why? Has something happened?”

Risa said, suddenly fully awake and the pain gone, as she jumped up into a sitting position. The nurse pointed the window and Risa rushed to it. She looked outside and indeed, there was a whole troop of samurai's going out of the village's gate. Risa could see one samurai, which judging by clothes and armor, was some kind of leader, riding in front of a one group which was followed by another leader with an own group. Then, there was the Team Alfa. They all had helmets and mask on, but still, Risa could recognize them, for they were the only bigger group wearing a higher ranking samurai dress. After them came a bit smaller group than the former ones, but it had no leader. They were probably under the Team Alfa's command.

“Why are they leaving? Has something happened?”

Risa asked LinLin worried, as she watched the warriors exit the village, one by one.

“There was an attack's in battlefront, so they will go to back up them.”

Risa could hear a bit worried tone in LinLin's voice too, so she figured out that this was a serious situation now. Not that the villages and other smaller things were not important or serious when attacked, but this was probably something even more serious.

“There are so many of them...”

Risa whispered, when she saw the last warrior exit the village. After that, the gates were closed and everyone went back to their chores. Like Yoshizawa had said, the war is taken here as little as possible and people try to live normally, even though there's a war going on. But how could they live normally, after their husbands and wives and even someone's children had gone to the battlefield? If Risa would be in a situation like that, she would probably worry herself to death. And she kinda was, for she had friends in there. She really prayed, that they would be okay and return home safe.

----------------------------

Risa was sitting on the training area's fence, as she swirled a small training sword in her hands. It had been two weeks now, after the troops had left for the battlefront and Risa was a bit worried. She had met Yozshizawa again and she had said that it would be quite normal, if these kind of things took something like 2 to 5 weeks. Sometimes, it took longer, even for months, but it was not so usual. Both sides had humans fighting out there and everyone needed some rest. Risa really hoped, that they would return soon and especially, she hope that Eri and her friends would come back and be okay.

Risa had been sitting in here for a while now. She had came here everyday for two weeks now, and every time she had done the same thing: she sat on the fence, took a practice sword and swirled it around. She had though a lot of joining the training and she really wanted to at least try. She just only needed to find the trainers, so she could get in. Now, they were all on the battlefield, so there was no way she could ask...

Just, when Risa decided, that she should leave, someone entered the training area. Jumping down from the fence and facing the person, Risa swirled around smiling, but soon, her smile changed to a frown.

At the training room's door was standing the Team Alfa's leader. She had taken her helmet off with the mask and Risa could see her dirtied face and tired eyes very clearly. Her short hair was ruffled and wet from the sweat and her skin was also covered in that. They stood silent for a while, staring at each others, before Ai left the training area, shutting the door behind her. Immediately, Risa snapped out of her thoughts and ran after the group leader. She opened the door and found Ai taking of her armor in front of a small table, like she had done the first time Risa visited here.

“Where are Eri and the rest of you team?”

Risa asked a bit concerned. Ai didn't answer. She just continued undressing, till she had again those black shorts and a white shirt on her. She walked pass Risa and took something out of a small closet, which Risa could not see, and walked back to the small table.

“Ai, where are the others?”

Risa tried again, but didn't get an answer. Suddenly, all the concern was gone and anger took control of Risa. Why could no this person act like normal people and have at least a bit of manners? Risa stormed to the group leader, who had now taken a small container from somewhere, which was full of water and was washing her face.

“I asked you a question and it's very polite to answer tha....”

“I don't have to answer you, if I don't want to.”

Ai said and took a towel from a nearby closet and started to dry her face. Risa watched the woman in front of her in disbelief. She thought, that the warriors were taught manners, but this warrior had surely slept on those lessons! Soon, Ai put the towel away and faced Risa. She was staring at her and when nothing happened in a while, the leader send some death glares towards the younger girl..

“Move.”

She commanded. Risa frowned and when she looked around her, she realized, that she was standing in front of a door, where Ai would probably want to go. Gathering all of her willpower, Risa forced herself to calm down. She had a change to talk to Ai now, so that the warrior could not get away so easily. Now was her change to ask, what was going on.

“Ai, please, tell me what I have done wrong? Why are you so rude to me?”

Risa asked, as she looked the other woman deep in the eyes. Ai said nothing in a while, but then, she took a step closer and glared at Risa.

“Don't use my name. Now, move.”

“Well what do I call you then? Leader? Warrior?” Risa asked confused.

“You don't call me anything. You stay out of my sight and never disturb me again. Now, for the last time, move.”

Ai started to walk towards Risa and seemed like, she was going to go through. But Risa would not give in so easily. She spread her arms to her sides and took a bit wider stand with her legs. Ai stopped and stared Risa with a stern face.

“Well could you at least tell me where Eri and the other are?”

When Ai said nothing, Risa tried another way.

“Just tell me then, that they are at least okay? I promise I'll leave you alone now if you just tell me...” Now, Risa had a concerned voice again and it seemed to get the leader, for she turned her face a bit towards the front door.

“They are at the stables. Now out of my way.”

Suddenly, Ai pushed Risa away from her way, catching the other woman by surprise and almost caused her to fall.

“Hey!” Risa yelled after her and suddenly, grabbed Ai's shoulder. Immediately, the leader turned around to glare at Risa.

“That was rude....” Was all that Risa could stay, when she felt how something slapped her hand. She took her hand away immediately as she watched the leader with a shocked expression.

“Don't touch me. Now get out.” But Ai could not get far away, for Risa interrupted her again.

“What on earth have I done to you, for you act so rude towards me? Tell me! Speak, damn it!”

Risa yelled furiously, but Ai only stared her blankly. There was something in her look though, which Risa couldn't quite but her finger on. What was that? But before she could think that anymore, Ai just snorted once, before she turned around and left the room.

“Stay out of my sight! This is a place for warriors, not for wimps like you're.” And with that, the door was closed with a loud bang and Risa was left alone in the room. Risa threw her fists through the air, for she wanted to punch something, or rather someone. She really had hoped, that Ai had just been in a bad mood last time they met, but it seemed more like to be her nature to act rude towards others.

Risa stomped her foot once and with that, she stormed out of the training place, slamming the door shut.

'Idiot, arrogant bastard... What kind of training has she had, for she has no manners....'

Risa cursed in her mind, as she walked briskly towards the stables. At least Eri and the others were okay and she would see them again. That calmed Risa down a bit, but she was still bothered by Ai's actions. She could not just forget her and think she didn't exist, for the leader's stone face and ice cold voice popped in her mind once in a while. Weird.

---------

And Ai's rude actions continue XD

A bit shorter chapter, but after the next one things are going to get interesting~ Or at least I hope so  :nervous

Hopefully you enjoyed this chapter and see you all next time!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 8/ 26/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 26, 2013, 07:00:38 PM
Risa seems to be going into the whirlpool of trouble with Ai while everyone is getting her accustomed to the group

Linlin :thumbsup
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 9/ 28/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 28, 2013, 09:04:47 PM
Kurosawa87: Yup, AI causes problem by her ah, so wonderful behaviour XD


Again a fast update XD I intended to comment your comments last time, but they just didn't appear in my message for some reason.... Sorry!  :nervous


Chapter 9 – What was that look in her eyes?


After the little conflict with the enemy everyone from the Team Alfa had returned safely to the village. Of course, they had some kind of bruises and their muscles ached, but they would survive them. There hadn't been very big group of enemies, but it was always a danger to ignore any kind of alarms. If this group had been ignored, this land would be now in big problems. Any kind of threads were to be prevented as well as possible, so the only ones on the battlefield would be soldiers. If the war escalated behind the battlefront it would mean that civilians would be in even bigger danger than they already were.

Risa had let her friends recover after their mission but Eri insisted that it would be okay, if she spent some time with the team. So, Risa ended up to spend her time with the team but they didn't hang around the training area, for Risa had asked if they could go somewhere else. The reason she didn't want to go there was no one else, than the ice queen of the Team Alfa. Also, Risa thought that maybe her friends wanted something else to think than fighting and it would have been impossible in the training area. So, the group had spent their recovering week in the town with Risa, relaxing and getting physically ready for their next battle.

After the week, Eri had invited Risa to the training area once again. Though Risa wanted to meet her friends, she didn't like the atmosphere in here. It always reminded her of Ai and Ai in turn, made her blood boil. Just hearing her name was enough to make Risa angry.
This time, when Risa arrived at the training place, Eri was waiting for her outside. Sayu and Reina were nowhere in sight and Risa wondered where they could be.
When Eri noticed her friend, she immediately started to wave her hand, smiling at the same time. Risa greeted back by the same way.

“Hi!” Eri said happily, as she ran to Risa.

“Hi.” She answered, smiling as well.

“I have a something, or rather someone, I want you to meet.”

And with that, Eri took Risa's hand and dragged her inside. They went immediately to the training room, where Risa was greeted by four people inside the practicing ring. Two, she recognize immediately, for they were Reina and Sayu. Both had their full armor on and they were practicing together. Then, there was two other person's who Risa didn't recognize. Both had long brown hair, which was tied in a small bun behind thei head. They also had an armor on, but they didn't have masks or helmets. Both were standing on each sides of the practicing warriors, watching as their students fought.

Eri said nothing, she just implied Risa to sit down and watch. Risa did as asked and turned her gaze towards her friends in the ring. It took about five minutes till the match ended. Reina attacked Sayu, hitting from above, which Sayu tried to block.  Just when Reina's sword was about to get in contact with Sayu's, she changed her attack to Sayu's legs. Sayu didn't have time to react and she was slashed in the leg, which spilled a lot of blood. She fell and immediately, Reina pointed her sword towards Sayu's neck.

“Oh my gosh!” Risa shouted as she jumped up, only to be stopped by Eri.

“What are you doing? Sayu is hurt!”

“Okay stop there.” The other trainer said calmly and both girls got up, Sayu too, now unwounded.

“Eeh???” Risa could only stare her mouth wide open. She had seen how Sayu was hit by Reina and she was wounded! What was this?

“It's magic.” Eri explained suddenly, causing Risa to turn her head towards her with a questioning look on her face.

“I don't know how it exactly works, but we use it quite a lot. It shows all the wounds if you're hit and the one who is hit, also feels when she gets a hit. Not of course pain or anything like that. Just that she knows that she is hit.”

Eri kept a small pause to make sure, that Risa was still following her.

“It depends on the person who makes that magic. Our trainers are very skilled in this, so they can make it so, that when you're hit, your body will act as if it had been a real hit. As you saw, Sayu got slashed in leg and she fell.”

Risa turned her head to the four in the ring, who were having some kind of discussion now. Well this indeed was something she hadn't known before! It was quite cruel at the same time, but also quite a clever way to practice the real fighting.

“But how about the blood?”

“Well.... It was something they just added. Probably that we would get used to it. There has been fighters, who can't stand blood, so they found this kind of solution to that problem.”

Risa was still a bit outside of what Eri had explained to her, but she got the main idea. Then, the group in the ring moved, Sayu and Reina moving to side and the two trainers coming towards Risa and Eri. Suddenly Eri snapped in attention, when the older women got closer.

“Attention!”

She yelled, when the trainers stopped and turned their attention towards Eri. Eri nodded a bit and then started to speak.

“General, captain. May I introduce the person who wanted to join our training.” And with that, Eri pointed her hand towards Risa, the trainers turning her heads the same way.

“Niigaki Risa. She has informed us about her interest to take part in our training.”

There was a silence, till the other woman turned her head towards Eri.

“Thank you Eri. At ease.”

With that, Eri relaxed, but only by moving her other leg a bit to the side, so she would not stand in attention. The trainers walked to Risa, both nodding a bit. Risa did the same, though her nod was more like a bow.

“Hello there Risa. My name is Fujimoto Miki, the captain of this army and also the trainer of the warriors.”

Miki said politely, smiling a bit. She had a very kind being, but Risa could sense that this woman was very though. She could see it in her eyes. Then Risa turned her attention to the other woman, who wasn't smiling at all. Her face and stare reminded her of Ai, but this face would freeze the hell hundred times more over than Ai's.

“Hello. My name Is Goto Maki, the general of this army as well as the second trainer. Welcome here.”

There was something smile kind, but Risa couldn't really tell did this woman smile or not. 'Well at least she got some manners, unlike someone else....'
Risa thought as she watched the two women in front of her. They were also very well build, but not too much and they also had some kind of scars around their face and neck. These guys had probably experienced a lot on the battlefield, so no wonder they were the trainers in this army.

“I'm Niigaki Risa, as Eri said. Nice to meet you too.”

She smiled politely to the trainers. Only Miki smiled a bit back, but Goto's face was still like a stone. They both nodded and turned around towards Sayu and Reina.

“You hvae 3 minutes rest. Then we will continue.” Goto yelled to the two warriors, who nodded and started to prepare for their next training. Both trainers turned around again, nodding to Risa.

“If you excuse us, we have to go continue our practice now. We'll surely meet again and lets talk more later.”

Miki sadi politely and with that, the trainers turned again and went to their students, who were now in full armor, ready to go again.

“We will duel now. Now remember, that the person in front of you is an enemy, not a friend. Remember what you have been thought and don't freeze.”
Goto commanded Sayu and Reina with a very monotone and stern voice, which caused Risa to shiver a bit. She and Eri went a bit closer, but they stayed behind the fence so they would not disturb the practice. Again, Miki and Goto were on both sides of Sayu and Reina. Then, Goto gave some signs, when both warriors bowed to each others, took their swords and took a stance, ready for battle.

“Hajime.”

Immediately, the command had been said, both Sayu and Reina lunged forwards, hitting their swords against each others. They were moving a lot faster now and they seemed to be more merciless than a while ago, for Risa really thought, that they were going to kill each others. As the battle continued on, Risa leaned to Eri and whispered:

“By the way, what is this duel thing?”

Eri, not taking her eyes of her friends, leaned closer as well and whispered back:

“It's one kind of battle form. There are always two fighters who duel against each others. No one else is allowed to interrup the battle and it's going on, as long as someone loses.”

Risa turned her amazed face towards Eri, after she got her answer.

“So, someone has to die... every time?”

“No. If you're beaten, you can beg mercy from your opponent or it can also be asked from the defeated person. But, if the winner wishes not to give any mercy....”

Eri turned towards Risa and moved her index finger across her throat, making a funny sound at the same time. Risa frowned a bit, turning her face back towards Sayu and Reina. Their moving hadn't slowed down at all and it seemed like they had just started. Both had gotten some “injuries”, for they had blood stains around their clothes and armor. The fake wounds weren't probably very bad, for the soldiers were still moving like they had just rested.

“This is sometimes used in the real battlefield too...” Eri sai suddenly, gaining Risa's attention with that.

“Either side will announce, if they are eager for a duel. If both sides accept, the fighters are choosen and then the battle will begin.”

Risa listened again, but frowned after what she had heard.

“You said earlier that no one is allowed to inter in that battle?”

“That's right.”

“But what if someone does?”

Eri scratched her head a bit as she tried to remember the rules of the duel.

“If I remember right, then the whole “deal” is kinda like cancelled. Then everyone is free to fight with everyone and the situation is back to normal again. That's how I remember it.”

“But what's the meaning with this all? You just duel with someone and after that, the battle goes on.”

“Well, it has one kind of a mental meaning.” Eri said, facing Risa again.

“If your warrior survives the battle as a winner, it's like a victory to the whole group. It usually weakens the loser's will to fight and they can be defeated more easily. That's the reason those duels are.”

Frowning, Risa turned her attention back to the duel going on the training area, which had now got some new aspects, for Reina seemed to be winning again. Sayu had injured her left arm as well as her left leg. Reina had injured her left leg as well but it wasn't as bad as Sayu's. Both were now circling each others, moving in slow steps and holding their swords ready. Then something hit Risa: They were fighting with real swords! They also hit each others in real with those, but still they got no injuries, if you didn't count the fake ones. Suddenly Risa remembered her visit at the king's castle. Didn't Yoshizawa have a same kind of weapon? It looked like a real one, but in truth it was just a toy.

“Eri, are they fighting with real swords?”

“Yeah, they are, but they are not sharp. Also, they are from some kind of weird material, so it wont hurt as much as a real one. But they have the same weight as a real sword. They have also probably done some tricks with magic again, so it seems and feels very real, but wont hurt.”

Eri explained as they both watched, how Reina took Sayu to the ground again, hitting her sword through her stomach, which caused blood to spill everywhere. It looked very cruel and painful, but Sayu didn't even flinch. She just sighed deeply and let her head fall down in defeat, as Reina took few steps backwards and bowed towards her.

“Stop there.”

Goto ordered and immediately, Reina went to help Sayu up. They were ordered to take a smalla break again and during that, they were given some feedback. Both were quite tired now, but Risa could see in their eyes, how these warriors could  fight even if they were ran out of breath.

“It looks kind of cruel and hard...”

Risa said quietly, as she watched how her friends chest moved rapidly up and down, as they tried to catch their breaths.

“Yes it is, but it should be this way. Goto and Miki but them in their limits, for if they are used to that, they will survive battle. Like Miki often says, Easy training, hard battle. Hard training, easy battle. That's just how it is.”

Eri said, as she turned around to leave the fenced area. Risa followed after her and they went to the waiting area, where all the equipments and the girl's personal closets were. They would wait Sayu and Reina here, for they wanted to give them their training peace.

“Well I am not sure, if I can take a training like that...”

Risa said, as she sat down on a chair, Eri sitting next to her.

“They will go easy with you, for they need to check, if you really could become a soldier which is useful on the battlefield. They will make the training more hard everyday, but they wont kill you with that. And I bet that you could pass those tests very easily.”

Risa turned her head towards Eri, as she heard what she said. Did the girl really think she would fit as a soldier?

“You think so?”

“Un. I think you have a lot of guts, for you have experienced so much all kind of bad things and still, you just go on. That requires a lot of physical and mental strength.”

It was true Risa had had a lot of bad experiences and it had been hard to decide to just move on and try to forget all the bad things. But war was a bit different thing in Risa's opinion; you needed to focus on surviving and at the same time, you had to defend and attack and you also had to mind your friends and all in the battlefield. It would not be just as easy as just escaping some troops in the burning village.

“Well, we'll see about it later. As I said, I am at least going to try how far I can get.”

Suddenly, a hand landed on Risa's shoulder, as Eri shook her shoulder gently, smiling at the same time.

“That's the spirit you have. You at least try and you wont give up before you know about things. Really, not everyone do that, for they just give up in the first place.”

“Well I think you should give up in the first place too.”

A voice interrupted the two friends as the door to the training place opened, revealing the always so happy and sunshine Team Alfa's leader. In no time, Risa got this unpleasant feeling to kill someone as she looked Ai in the eyes. She had normal clothes on, with black pants and coat and a white shirt under it. There was also a red belt around her waist, which had a black stripe in the middle of it. Risa had never seen her in this kind of clothes, for Ai always had had her samurai armor on. It looked quite odd to see her like this...

“Ai, please don't be rude to Risa. She really should try, for she... Have you seen what kind of spirit this girl owns?” Eri tried to make the now very heavy and cold atmosphere a bit lighter, for she sensed that if she didn't do something, these two would be attacking each others in no time. Ai just snorted as she walked pass them to her own closet, opening it and taking her training equipment out.

“I can already see, that she is too weak for this. Also, she is not a good subordinate, for she doesn't obey orders and warnings.”

This time, Risa tried to jump up from the chair, but luckily Eri was there to stop her, or she would have gone and punch that arrogant warrior. She didn't really get, why she had to be so damn rude. She was even that to her group!

“Ai, Risa is allowed to come here. She's our friend and friends are allowed here. Plus, if she comes to our training, she will...”

“She wont come there.”

Ai interrupted, spinning around and shutting her closet door with a loud bang, She stared the two friends with a cold stare, watching them and especially Risa, like a trash.

“I'll keep sure of it, that you wont come to our training, for we do....”

There was another loud bang, which caused everyone to turn towards the training room's door, which was occupied by the less colder trainer, Miki. She stood there, examining the people in the room till her eyes landed on Ai. Immediately, the warrior snapped in attention, showing some respect towards her leader.

“Who are you to say, who is allowed to join and who is not, Takahashi?”

Miki's voice was even more cold than Ai's and Risa could even feel, how the room got colder moment by moment. The group leader said nothing. She just stared her captain who was still standing at the door, waiting for her answer.

“Well? I bet you have some kind of answer to this.”

Miki said calmly, folding her hands in front of her. Risa saw how Ai gave a small glare towards her and cursed under her breath.

“Takahashi.”

Miki's voice boomed in the room again and this time, even Eri and Risa jumped a bit.

“What have I said to you about swearing? And when you stand in attention, you wont move an inc!”

Though Miki's voice was loud, she wasn't yelling, she was just giving VERY firm orders to this young warrior. Ai tensed and as Miki had said, didn't move an inc. The trainer walked to the group leader, stopping in front of her.

“Look at me.”

Ai's eyes fell to Miki's in no time and her face didn't show any kind of emotions. The captain waited and her student seemed to know what to do.

“Captain, in my opinion, this girl is too weak to join our training. She was just someone, who was saved my the Team Alfa and now she stays here against the rules. I think she should not join, for she just disturbs us and is no use for us.”

There was a silence, as Miki rolled the words in her head. She kept her cold stare towards Ai as she gave her answer to her.

“This is something for me and Goto to decide. You don't decide who joins and who wont join. Also, I have heard that you have treated our guest quite badly. She's a visitor here and your group member's friend. Show some manners, which have been taught to you and learn to behave!”

This time, Miki's voice got louder and louder as she ranted to Ai. The younger girl didin't show any kind of emotions, she just stood there and took all the scolds she got from the captain.

“Fighting and being strong are not the only skills warriors are taught, which you seem to have forgotten! You had the best teaching you could ever have and still, you just forget everything you have been taught after....”

“That's enough captain.”

Everyone turned to look at Goto, who emerged from the training hall. Miki shut up too and made way to the higher ranking warrior, who walked in front of her student.
When Risa looked at Ai, she could see something was different. The girl was now looking down and seemed to be deep in thoughts. Just a while ago, she had been like nothing could take her down but suddenly, she seemed like she really took the scolding very hardly.

“Takahashi.”

Ai's head snapped up and she stared her general with... what was this? Risa frowned, as she watched the warrior. What was going on now? Ai was like she had seen a ghost! Her eyes were wide open and Risa could swear she saw fear in those chocolate eyes.

Goto shook her head a bit and just gave a sign for Ai, that she could go. In no time, Ai left the room after a quick salute to her leaders and then she was gone. Miki walked to Goto and Risa heard her whisper quiet apologies, which Goto just waved off, murmuring something she didn't quite catch. Risa was still very confused for she didn't know at all, what just happened. Suddenly, she felt tugging in her arm and as she watched besides her, Risa found Eri staring at her with a bit sad expression.

“Come on Risa, lets go. We'll meet Sayu and Reina outside.”

“But Eri....”

“Just come on now....”

And with that, Eri took Risa by her arm and dragged her up. She made a small salute to her leaders, who saluted as well and then she went outside with Risa. In there, she pulled her a bit closer and whispered:

“I'll try to explain this later, okay?”

Risa frowned, but nodded her head. She would really like to know what just happened, for she got an odd feeling that this might have been the key for her to solve the reason for Ai's behaviour. She didn't know why, but she just got this feeling....

-----------------


Things start to happen bit by bit~

Thank you for your interest again everyone and see you all next time!

I'm off to bed now... XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 9/ 28/01
Post by: kuro_808 on January 28, 2013, 10:05:20 PM
So Risa is going to take on the training but the risk is high enough to cause death by any means unless by mercy but psychologically its killing the mind of the loser.

Interesting
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 9/ 28/01
Post by: rndmnwierd on January 29, 2013, 03:40:15 AM
Magics, I like magics. I'm glad Miki and Maki have a bit of an interest in Risa and that they finally told Ai the brat off for her behavior. Now we just need some backstory...

BTW, you might want to reread this, since I noticed a few times where you mixed up Reina's name with Eri's.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 9/ 28/01
Post by: MsSmigge on January 29, 2013, 06:00:16 PM
I knew I should have checked this chapter one more time before posting it...... :err:

Thank you for you notification. I really don't know why I have mixed Eri and Reina so many times. I found the same mistake at least five times XD

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 10/ 1/02
Post by: MsSmigge on February 01, 2013, 03:29:54 PM
Kurosawa87: That's the spirit of the duel xD

rndmnwierd: Yeah, those two are level-headed trainers~ And some backstory you're going to get! And btw, I had just finished planning on this chapter when I read your comment some while ago where you hoped for some TanaGaki. Read this and you know why I kept my mouth shut back then XD


Hi again everyone! Nice to notice somebody is still interested about this story. Thank you again for your comments and interest!

Here's the next chapter. Here we go~



Chapter 10 – She gets to know, what happened to her


After the training was over, Sayu and Reina went to the town to meet with Eri and Risa. They were both very tired, but they had promised to their friends that they would spend some time together, so they decided to go to town instead of going home. Besides it was a beautiful summer day and they would relax better in the town with a nice company than alone at indoors. Soon, the two warriors in their casual black attires spotted two girls chatting on a bench, which was next to a small pond in the middle of a town square . It didn't took long before Eri noticed them and immediately the turtle ran to greet her friends. She hugged them both, causing them to laugh out loud. But soon Eri let them go, spinning around and glaring the girl who was still sitting on the bench

“Oi, I thought you would come with me....”

The turtle pouted at Risa, who was just laughing at the bench Eri had occupied with her a while ago.

“Sorry, but you got up so fast, that I couldn't keep up with you...”

She said to the girl, who was now approaching her with her friends. Sayu and Reina greeted Risa happily and she did the same, making some room for her friends on the bench. After they had all seated, both Sayu and Reina immediately collapsed down, groaning loudly as their sore muscles ached.

“My muscles are killing me.....”

Reina groaned and was soon joined by Sayu;

“Yeah, but they will also probably save your life someday...”

“Oh be quiet....”

Reina whined and slapped the black haired warrior gently, causing the girl to laugh a bit but as her stomach muscles protested, the laughter turned soon into a painful groan.

“You got jammed muscles? How about I'll massage them?”

“Oh, yes please...” Reina groaned, which cause Eri to frown playfully.

“I wasn't talking to you.”

And with that she got up and went behind Sayu. She implied her to move her head a bit forward, which the girl accepted. After that, Eri put her hands on Sayu's shoulders and started to gently massage them, causing Sayu to groan even louder.

“Oh God... Yes, right there...”

The warrior groaned in pleasure, as Eri massaged her shoulders and neck. It felt so good how Eri's hands caressed her sore muscles. So good, that Sayu wanted to scream out loud her pleasure.

“Oh shut up, it sounds like you're having sex or something...”

Suddenly, Eri stopped her massaging and Sayu opened her eyes, a shocked expression on her face. They both stared at Reina with a deep blush as the kitten just stared them like she hadn't said anything special.

“What?”

“Don't say things like that!!” Bot Sayu and Eri yelled at the same time, causing Reina to cover her ears and Risa to laugh. This scene was quite amusing.

“Hey, no need to shout! But it really sounded like that! And I think you're so close to each others that maybe....”

“Don't continue that sentence.”

Eri said threateningly, as she pointed Reina with her finger, shutting the younger girl effectively. Sayu, however, recovered quite quickly and she patted Eri's arm, gaining the turtles attention.

“Nee, Reina was just joking, though it was a very bad joke,”

Sayu changed her volume as she spoke to Reina, but then she had that gentle voice of hers again.

“come here, wont you?”

Sayu opened her arms to Eri, who very shyly got from behind the bench in front of Sayu, but didn't move from there.

“No, I meant come HERE.”

And with that, Sayu pulled Eri to her lap, circling her hands around her waist and pressing her head against the other girl's back.

“That's much better.”

“Sayu!”

“What?”

“Awwww, you look so cute.”

Reina cooed to the couple who were now cuddling at the bench, Sayu resting her head comfortably against Eri's back, while Eri was trying to escape. But soon she had to give up, for the other girl's grip was so tight she could not get away.
Risa watched this all in amusement. She had noticed for a while ago, how Eri and Sayu had something between them and as she had guessed, these two really were close to each others.

“Hey Risa, you could massage me, ne?”

Reina asked suddenly, only causing Eri to punch her lightly.

“What now? I just asked!

“She's a quest here, you can't ask her....”

“Well I have lived here for a while and I am also going to get a place to stay in here, so I think I am not a quest anymore....”

Risa laughed a bit as she walked behind the bench and placed her hands on Reina's shoulder, starting to massage them gently. Reina groaned as her tired muscles got massaged. It felt so heavenly good and she could truly understand why Sayu had made those voices a while ago. For heaven sake's this felt wonderful!

“But I wont sit in your lap. Massage is okay, cuddling is not.”

Reina whipped her head so, that she could face Risa and grinned at the other girl charmingly.

“You wont? I really hoped you would do that.”

Risa stood still for a while, before she massaged the warriors shoulders extra hard, causing Reina to howl in pain and lung forwards as sharp pain travelled through her body.

“OUCH!! Okay okay, it was just a bad joke. No need to kill me..”

Eri and Sayu chuckled at how their friend got a punishment for having such thoughts. Of course, it had been a joke but it was just so damn funny to see, how Reina got what she deserved after saying things like that.
Reina came back to the bench and sat down, getting a small punch from Eri again.

“Deserves you right, for telling jokes like that.”

The turtle giggled, while Reina just pouted, crossing her arms in front of her.

“Haha, very funny...”

Risa laughed as well, as she patted Reina's shoulders gently, careful not to hurt her anymore.

“I'm sorry for that, but don't talk to me like that.”

Reina flinched a bit at the contact, but it was luckily so gentle, that she didn't have to jump up from the bench this time.

“Yeah, yeah, I wont. I learnt my lesson.”

With that, the four friends kept talking on about different kind of things. They chatted quite a long time, their subjects changing till they somehow got to this days episode with Ai and the trainers. It had bothered Risa all the time and it would not just leave her mind. Why had Ai acted like she did and what was that sorrowful face Risa had seen today? Maybe, if she asked, she would get some kind of answers from these girls.

“Mmm, I don't know if this is my think to ask, but do you have any idea what happened to Ai today? I mean, I have never seen her act like that...”

Suddenly, all the three smiles in front of Risa were gone and they were replaced by three serious face. There was a long silence, till Risa decided to repair the situation by taking her question back. She had also forgotten, how Ai had said to not talk about her past and since these girls were her subordinates, Risa should not pressure them to talk about it. It would make them disobey their leader's order.

“I mean... Just forget it. I never asked that question, it was just...”

“She changed.”

Eri said quietly, gaining everyone's attention. This was exactly the same answer Risa got last time as she had asked what was wrong with Ai. It hadn't opened things much then and neither did it now.

“You said that last time too, but...”

“She changed after her father and younger sister died...”

This time, it was Sayu speaking. Reina had her eyes and mouth wide open as she turned to her two friends, who had just talked about something they were not allowed to. Risa in turn was fighting inside her head; should she ask more? Should she just ask her friends to drop this subject, for it seemed to be quite painful? Risa decided to do a compromise: She stayed quiet and if her friends wanted to continue, she would listen. If they didn't, she would not ask anything more about this.

“Oi, you're causing yourself some troubles here....”

Reina tried, but Eri and Sayu just sat in silence and it looked like they were deep in thoughts. Risa got up, walked in front of Eri and crouched, resting her hands on the younger girls knees. Eri turned her serious face to Risa and watched her with a blank stare.

“If it's okay... Could you please tell me more?”

Risa had suddenly decided that she indeed wanted to know more. She wasn't sure if her friends were about to continue this story and she really wanted to know. Deep inside, she knew this was a bit wrong towards her friends and against her compromise she just had done. But Risa didn't want to fight with Ai, she wanted to have normal conversations with her as she had with these girls. She wanted to know what laid under that samurai's mask Ai had on and she just wanted this tormenting pressure around them to end. The reason for this all, she didn't have a clue. She just wanted to do this, though all the images she had gotten from Ai were negative, Risa just wanted to try to get along with the leader and when she thought about this, it was because she really hated to be in bad terms with someone.

Eri stared Risa for a while, before she gazed at her hands and started to speak.

“Ai was 15 when her father was murdered. It was about 5 years ago. We don't have much information what exactly happened that night but we know, that Ai experienced something very terrible then... It also seems that our trainers have some information about that night, what we don't know, but naturally they wont speak about it. I think that they also evoked some bad memories in Ai today. This has happened few times and it has had always the same ending. But we don't know much about the things between them. I am only going to tell you what we know about this all."

Now, all the three girls had turned their attention towards Eri, Risa looking her with curious eyes, while Reina and Sayu had a worried expression on their face.

“All we know about this is that behind this all is an enemy's warrior, Sayaka. She was once on our side, but then she decided to betray us and Ai...”

There was a silence, as Eri stopped suddenly talking. She had a pained expression on her face and Risa was quite sure, she would not get anymore information, but soon, Eri spoke again:

“After we heard all of this, we were of course very shocked and angry. We tried to find Ai, but she was lost. No one had seen her in days after the incident and it took two weeks, before someone from here got some information of her.”

Eri kept a pause and gulped once, causing both Reina and Sayu put their hands on her shoulder.

“Eri, you don't have to go on....” Sayu said, now very worried.

“Yeah, we can continue....”

“No.” Eri interrupted Reina firmly. She had a very determined, but at the same time, a very pained look on her face, which caused Risa to frown. But she didn't get much time to think of asking Eri to stop herself, when the girl kept on her story.

“That was also, when we saw her for the first time in those two weeks. We were training at the training place, when suddenly, Ai appeared to the door.  She had her samurai uniform on, but we soon recognized it wasn't hers, but her father's. She had also a sword in her hand and she just... stood there staring blankly ahead. We were of course very surprised and happy to see her and I just ran to her. I usually hugged her when we hadn't seen in a long while and I did the same now, but...”

Once again, Eri stopped, the pained expression on her face only gotten deeper. Now Sayu really got worried with Reina, for they almost commanded Eri to stop. Risa was about to do the same, for she didn't want to Eri to suffer. But the sub leader just shook her head violently, causing the others to shut up. She would tell this story to Risa.

'I want to help my friends...'

“When I was hugging her, Ai felt somehow very distant and even cold. I immediately pulled away, for she felt so strange. Like I had been hugging a stranger. We stood there for a while just staring at Ai, till she finally did something....”

Eri got quiet again but this time, she didn't continue. She just curled into a small ball and pressed her head again's Sayu's shoulder, causing the other girl immediately wrap her arms tighter around her. Reina had very sad face now too, which caused Risa to get worried. Had she gone too far? If this was something the others weren't very comfortable to talk about, she should drop this subject now, or she would do some severe damage.

“She punched Eri.”

Reina said quietly. Eri didn't do or say anything, but Sayu just tightened her hold of her and pressed her head on top of the older girl's, like she was protecting her from something.

“She did what?”

Risa whispered, not believing what she had heard. Had Ai really done something like that? To punch Eri? The most innocent and pure person on the earth who had done nothing wrong to the leader and yet she went and dissolved her sadness and anger to her friends!

“Yes, she punched her. Then, she attacked Eri, yelling something incoherent and beating her at the same time. Luckily we were there to stop her and after we got our leader off Eri, Ai calmed immediately, but we could see she was not all right. Also, we were lucky that all the three of us had our samurai uniforms on, so Eri didn't get hurt so badly, mind the black eye.”

Risa listened in disbelief. This could not be, this just was something that should not happen! How could anyone ever hurt a person Like Eri? How could have Ai done that?

“After that, Ai collapsed to the ground and of course we went to her but we kept some kind of distance, for we weren't sure of her state. Then, she just started to cry uncontrollable, saying she was sorry and we could hear her say her father, sister and Eri's name. She was apologizing all of them, for what she had done. When I got closer and took Ai in my arms, she just... she just cried and cried. Then I smelt something very strong and I realized it was alcohol...”

“After this incident we got some information, that a warrior had been seen around a nearby village, drinking and crying all day and night. Ai was born in that village and it was like her second home. It got destroyed at the same time this incident happened and now, there are just some ruins left. We don't know how long she stayed there, but that was the first place we got information of her."

Sayu continued Reina's speaking, causing Risa to turn her attention towards her now.

“Ai has a very bad alcohol tolerance and drinking so much in two week and staying at the same time in a place where this tragedy happened, took her in a very bad condition, both mentally and physically. She was so wasted that she didn't even remember her own name anymore or her friends. All she had in her mind was the tragedy she had met. What ever happened that night and the two weeks after, it shocked Ai so badly, that her personality changed almost completely.”

There was a long silence again, as the four girls thought about all they had just heard. Risa tried to understand all of this, but she just couldn't. She felt very bad for everyone, even for Ai, that something like this happened because of this damn war. But thought she felt a bit sorry for Ai, she could still not forgive her of what she had done to Eri. No matter what, friends should never hurt friends in the way like Ai had done.

“But you may not get Ai in a wrong way now.”

Suddenly, Eri had gotten back on the earth and was now sitting straight, escaping Sayu's embrace.

“Eri...”

Risa whispered. How could this girl be so unselfish? Ai had attacked her and still, Eri asked not to understand her wrong. Also, after 5 years of this incident the leader was still very rude and cold towards her friends, though she had had years to recover! What the heck made that jerk so special that these guys followed her blindly and didn't mind much though she was a horrible person?

“She didn't do it in purpose. I know, what Ai is truly like and she would never ever hurt anyone. Especially her friends..”

“But that's just what she did! Also, she haven't been the nicest leader I have seen and she treats you like a crap from time to time. You still tell me to...”

“Yes. Ai is a good person and I would not be following her with Reina and Sayu, if she was a bad and evil person, right?”

Eri turned towards her friends, who to Risa's surprise, nodded their heads immediately. What was wrong with these girls?

“Risa.”

Eri's voice caught Risa's attention and when she turned around, she found Eri's eyes on her and that dashing smile to shine at her. Risa could only stare this pure girl, for she was lost in words. She hadn't seen anything as beautiful in her life as Eri was now. Eri leaned a bit closer, taking Risa's hands in her own.

“Ai's out there. She's there, but she has just built a huge wall around her. All we can do now, is to be with her and not to let her fall deeper in that mask of hers.”

There was a long silence again, as Eri and Risa were staring at each others, while Reina and Sayu changed some surprised glances together. Eri had never said this kind of things to anyone, nor she had told about Ai's story. It was a secret which was not allowed to be told, but Risa had heard it now. Maybe Eri saw something in Risa they weren't able to see. Something more under that kind and gentle being of hers.

Risa in turn was very lost right now. She had decided from the start that Ai was jerk, then she heard a story which made her think that the leader was even more jerk and now her friend and Ai's subordinate, asked her to understand the leader and not to judge her by what she had done. If Risa could decide, she would immediately mark Ai a very cold, heartless and rude person, who only thought of herself. How could Eri still see light in that person, who had attacked her and clearly had no intention to chance her manners to better?

“Please Risa, believe me. I know it's not very easy to act all nice and polite and accept things like this, when the other one is so rude towards you, but please do it for Ai's sake. It surely helps more than acting rude as well.”

Eri said in a bit pleading tone. Risa frowned and looked to the ground.

“I don't know.... I really don't like her and for some reason, she makes me angry easier than others. And after hearing about her past, just thinking of her makes me want to strangle her...”

'And I would do nothing for her sake....

She mumbled. This was going to be very hard if not even possible. Accepting all Ai had done and to believe she had something kind and warm under that mask of hers? Risa believed more, that the war would end tomorrow than Ai had a kind being. But something told her to do as Eri had said. Her friends had known Ai for a long time and they said she was different before. Also they didn't let the rude actions of the leader scare them, but they still believed the "real Ai" would be out there.
Risa decided to try, but only because of her friends.  Ai she could care less right now, but her friends asked this so she would at least try.

“We try to not allow Ai to act rude towards you. It's a bit hard, for we are her subordinates and have to obey her orders, but we wont give in so easily.” Sayu said, as she laid her hands on Eri's shoulders now.

“Yeah, and one sure way to get Ai hold her tongue is to hang out with Goto and Miki. Ai really respects them and wont do anything against their word.”

Reina said now, a small smile playing on her lips. Risa in turn didn't accept all her friends had just said.

“But as a good leader, she should also respect you and your wishes. Of course, she has the right to command you as your leader, but in my opinion a good leader also listens to her subordinates and their wishes. No matter what has happened in your life....”

Risa muttered. For her surprise, she heard Eri giggle.

“Oh believe me, she has made our wishes to come true quite many times and she has also listened to us.”

Risa raised an eye brown and looked at Eri.

“Like I said, she is a good leader, though she gives a whole different image of herself. We just got to believe that one day, she will somehow comes back. So please, lets do our best with this.”

With that, Eri suddenly got up, dragging Reina and Sayu up with her and linking her arms with them.

“But now, it is a lunch time and I am hungry as a wolf! Lets go get something to eat!”

And with that, this dark subject was dropped, as the turtle started to lead her friends towards a place where they could eat something. Risa stayed in her place stunned, as Eri spun around with Reina and Sayu, almost bowling Risa down. If it hadn't been for Reina's fast arms, Risa would still be crouching in that spot, but Reina caught her arm and pulled her up to walk with them. Risa was lifted up like she was a feather and she almost fell, for she wasn't prepared to get up so fast. Luckily Reina was there to catch her again, as she linked her arm with Risa's, causing all the four girls to walk in one line, arms linked.

“I want to have companion too, for those love birds have each others.”

The warrior teased, causing Risa to blush a bit and punch Reina gently.

“Haha, sorry. You know I am just joking.”

Reina laughed and winked once again at Risa.

“You better be....”

The bean muttered as they kept on walking. Though the atmosphere had significantly changed, Risa had the story she just heard of the leader all the time in her mind. Could it be that under that mask of hers, laid a good person who all these girls truly respected and trusted? Could it be that acting nice towards her would help something? Was it possible to her ever change? For now, it seemed to Risa that it was not possible.

-----

Here some information of Ai's past to you~

For some reason it was very hard to write this chapter.  :fainted:
And it still feels a bit confusing. I hope you get something out of this and if you don't get something, just ask xD And hopefully I didn't mix Reina and Eri this time...

I hope you enjoyed this chapter and you all later!  :cow:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 10/ 1/02
Post by: kuro_808 on February 01, 2013, 05:15:11 PM
Ai wants to avoid any relationship because of the past and I guess warming up to her at this point seems impossible
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 10/ 1/02
Post by: rndmnwierd on February 02, 2013, 10:41:42 AM
Even though we learn a bit about Ai's sad past, all the Tanagaki flirting here kind of negates that for me. XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 11/ 7/02
Post by: MsSmigge on February 07, 2013, 10:50:15 PM
Kurosawa87: Weeelll... Kinda XD

rndmnweird: I knew it... XD

Thank you again for your interest people~

The next chapter. here we go!


Chapter 11 – Her wish was, she would not return alive


Risa had been in a good mood lately. She had spent a lot of time with her friends and got to know them better: Sayu indeed was the brain of this group, for she always had some kind of logic for everything plus she never did anything stupid. She must have had hard sometimes, for she had such reckless friends, like Reina and Eri. Sayu was also the most calm of these four and Risa had never seen her lose her cool. Sometimes, the bunny was even a bit boring for she started nagging about things so easily, even if there was no reason for it. Sayu also had very good manners and Risa had never ever seen her act rude to anyone.

Reina in turn was like a 5-years-old kid at times, for she always came up with ideas like “Hey, let's climb that rooftop or lets go in the woods were we might see some bears and then we must survive!”. But she also had her mature side when it was needed and never acted in improper way, if the situation was very serious or something. Reina was also the strongest of these three and she had told Risa that she used to spend a lot of time in the forest helping her father with his work and she still does, if she has time. That's why she has gotten so much power and could lift others like feathers and Risa too had experienced this few times. Reina was also very muscular, but she didn't seem very strong at the first sight, which was likely because she was so small and looked more like a little girl who would only play with dolls and so. But when she started to fight or do something physical that kind of pictures would disappear immediately.

Then there was Eri, the copy of an angel. She never blamed anyone, didn't see things in negative light and was friend with everyone. Also, it seemed like the whole village loved her for everyone always greeted her and asked her, if she had some time so she could talk. Eri was loved by everyone, and Risa could understand why. No one, just no one could hate that girl, for she was so pure and gentle. Someone had even said that Eri, she and LinLin were all the same, for they had so kind being, but Risa didn't agree with it. LinLin and Eri were the same, it was true, but she wasn't. She could lose her temper in no time while these two, would not harm a fly. It was quite an odd describing for a soldier but that was just the way it was.

Also, the reason why Risa was in a such good mood was that she hadn't seen Ai in many days. She hadn't been at the training area nor in the village's town. Eri and the others said they had seem her, but Risa was okay with it, if she didn't need to meet with the leader for she still couldn't accept all the things she had done and how she acted towards others.

The four girls were spending their time in the town again at the same place, where Risa had heard Ai's story. Reina, Risa and Sayu where sitting on the bench, while Eri was in Sayu's lap, once again. Risa had also found out that Eri and Sayu were together and well, she had eyes, she could also see it. She thought they were such a cute couple, Sayu being always the reasonable one while Eri in turn sometimes acted like a kid. But somehow, even Sayu's cool and adult being cracked when she was with Eri and sometimes, she was even playful with the turtle. But love made people change, right?
Reina also liked to tease them by telling things about the couple, ending to gain a punch from the couple and sometimes, from Risa too.

It was like any other day and the village was full of life, with the people taking care of their chores and children playing around. This reminded Risa of her own village and once in a while, she found herself recalling all those memories she had. She had been sad for weeks after the incident but with these wonderful people around her, she had somehow gotten over her sorrow almost completely. She knew she had people beside her and she would not have to live with her past alone. She got power to carry one from these people around her.

The girls had been spending some hours on the bench and just when they decided to leave in order to find something to eat, they were interrupted. A loud voice of horse running was heard and people on the street moved to the side, allowing the samurai pass through. Risa and the others also froze when they heard the noise and saw a white horse ahead, but they all froze even more, when they saw who was it.
Ai was riding in her full armor, her helmet hanging in her arm. She rode to the girls and everyone, except Risa of course, snapped in attention and saluted their leader, as she stopped the horse in front of them.

“We have a meeting in the training area in 10 minutes. Be there.”

All the three girls nodded and expected their leader to leave but Ai just turned her horse towards Risa, glaring the girl at the same time. Risa did the same and suddenly she remembered again, why she was so happy that Ai hadn't been in her sight for a long time. Just seeing her cold stare and that rude attitude made her blood boil.

“This doesn't concern you, so stay out. It would also be better, if you let my subordinates alone so they could practice better. You just disturb them.”

Before Risa could answer, Ai pivoted her horse and galloped away. She was furious again and all it took was some impolite words from one certain soldier. Damn, that woman really irritated Risa.

“Hey,”

Eri said, as she laid a hand on Risa's shoulder, immediately calming the other girl a bit.

“You can come with us, but this really doesn't concern you, so you can wait outside. But there's no way that you would be left behind!”

Risa smiled at the turtle and nodded. She would wait her friends outside, when they were having this meeting of their own.

“Yup, we just get through the meeting and then we will see you again.”

Sayu added, as she got ready to leave, taking Eri's hand in her own.

“And don't worry, these meetings wont take long. You don't have to be separated from me for a long time.”

Reina said, linking her arm with Risa's, but only gaining a punch in her ribs.

“Ouch! Hey, what was that for?”

Reina whined, while Risa just chuckled. The warrior always teased her and Risa liked to answer back. She usually punched Reina gently or did something else that didn't hurt the other girl much.

“How many times I have told you to not say things like that? We are not a couple, just for you to know.”

Risa tried to speak seriously, but her voice gave out, that she was just joking. Reina chukled a bit as she started to leave with the other girls.

“Yeah, yeah, do not do that. But you know, I am always joking.”

Risa rolled her eyes a bit, but didn't bother to answer. She would argue with Reina after this meeting was over. But Risa was oblivious of the dark gaze behind all the girl's eyes, as they walked on. They knew, that this meeting was not going to be so short, for Ai had came to gather them to the meeting. This wasn't a good sign indeed...

--------------------------

Risa had waited at least for one hour now and she was getting bored. They had said it would not take long, but now it seemed that this small meeting of them was going to take forever! What on earth were they talking about? Risa was just about to go inside the building, not caring if she was allowed or not, but just when she was about to open the door, it was opened and of course no one else than that damn leader of The Team Alfa had to be the one opening it. Ai glared Risa once again, only gaining an equal glare back.

“Are you stupid, don't you understand talk or what the hell is your problem?”

The leader growled as she stepped outside, closing the door behind her.

“Are you stupid, don't you have manners or what the hell is your problem with acting nice?”

Risa said back, not moving an inch as Ai came a bit closer. She had a very threatening expression and Risa somehow understood, why her friends sometimes were scared of this person. Ai's stare really felt like it could kill and Risa had an unsure feeling all the time, when she was this close with the samurai. It felt like Ai would any moment take her sword and attack her, the past of hers that was revealed to Risa a while ago, making the younger one even more unsure.

“You have no rights to talk like that to me....”

“And you have those rights then?”

Risa interrupted angrily, taking a step closer the samurai, who either didn't move an inch.

“I am higher than you.”

“I am not a samurai! Or well at least, not yet....”

Ai leaned a bit forward, meeting Risa's gaze once again as she stared deep in those brown eyes.

“And you'll never be, if it's for me to decide.”

This time, Risa leaned forwards too her anger giving her a bit more courage, staring back and sending daggers towards Ai.

“Well just for you to know, you oh so mighty and high samurai, I'll prove to you that I'll become a samurai one day.”

Her tone was mocking and even cold, which surprised even Risa herself. She never talked like this! It must have been the anger that made her talk like this and the person in front of her did not help at this situation at all. Ai snorted and laughed dryly at Risa's words and looked her once again like a trash.

“You, as a samurai? The pigs will fly sooner than you'll become a warrior.”

Ai took a step closer again and now she was really close with Risa, causing the other girl feel more uncomfortable. It was not that she was scared, but Ai being this close irritated her and made her blood boil even more. Damn, how much she wanted to just punch that arrogant face...

“Don't you dare to touch me.”

Risa growled, as she saw Ai raise her finger and point it at Risa.

“I wont touch weak and pathetic persons like you.”

Ai said, causing Risa to get even more furious. She was just about to start yelling something, but she did not get a chance to say something back, for Ai continued;

“Now, get lost and go home to your mom. Go tease the people in your village with your presence.”

The words sunk deep in Risa and they hurt. How dared this person to say something like that? Well okay, she didn't know what had happened to her in past, but Risa could care less now.Ai had said something she shouldn't and she would hear of that. It still hurt when someone talked about her family and when talking in this tone as Ai had done, it hurt even more. Risa was just about to say something, when she was interrupted but the opening door. Six persons exited the building behind them and entered the front yard of it. Yoshizawa was the first one, The Team Alfa following them with the trainers. The king examined the two persons outside very curiously, while the three younger girls all muttered at the same time “Oh no...”.

“What's going on here?”

The king asked looking first at Ai and then Risa again. Risa was just about to say something, but Ai got to speak first, walking away quite quickly and not looking at anyone.

“Nothing, my lord.”

And with that, the group leader walked inside the building leaving all the others behind her in the yard. Yoshizawa looked after her, sighed deeply and shook her head.

“She haven't changed at all...”

Meanwhile, Eri, Sayu and Reina had all walked to Risa, who was still glaring after Ai. She didn't move, even when Reina waved her hand in front of her and Sayu placed a hand on her shoulder. She was so furious and hurt of what Ai had said. True, she didn't know her past, but if she didn't know, she should keep her mouth shut and not say things like that, for she could do a lot of damage. Right now, Risa felt very unwanted and alone. She didn't have home to go, her mother was dead and all she had around was just mean people and...

“Risa.”
Finally, Eri's soft voice caught Risa's attention and dragged her away from the dark side of her mind, where she had wandered for a moment. She turned her gaze towards the younger girl, who had a very worried expression on her face.

“Did Ai... Did she say something to you?”

Risa was quiet for a while, before she nodded her head a bit. Yes, she indeed had said something to ther, something that really hurt.
Before Eri could say or do anything, the king started to speak to her captain and general, gaining everyone's attention

“So, we have a lot of things to do. Goto and Miki, please carry out my orders I just gave to you and inform all your men. Also, ask them to inform their families of this situation.”

With that the king turned around, smiled at the younger girls on her way and exited the area. She had a white horse nearby the fence and with that, she soon rode away. This caused Risa to frown; what was going on?
Miki and Goto saluted to their king and after she was gone, they went inside as well, probably to make some plans. Eri tucked Risa's sleeve gently, gaining the girl's attention.

“Come, lets go somewhere else.”

-----------------

They went to a nearby storage beside's the training area. Risa had sensed, how the others were very quiet and serious, which meant everything was not in order. Eri leaned the wall behind her as the three others gathered around her, Sayu and Reina walking on her both sides and leaning on the wall as well as Risa just stood in front of the trio. Everyone had very serious expression and it seemed like all the three warriors leaning on the wall behind them were deep in thoughts.

“Heng send a thread. There's going to be more bigger fights, for she announced she's going to attack with a huge force. Also, JunJun has seen with her team, how Heng has prepared massive troops to get ready to fight.”

“This means we are needed more on the field and with that, we are going to practise even more. We wont have much free time from now on.”
Sayu continued what Eri had started as Risa stared the ground with a blank expression, repeating all the words in her head. First, she was insulted and hurt by the person she hated the most and then, she heard that her friends were about to get on the battlefield again, this time more often and for longer periods. She would not have her friends beside her when she would need them and the risk, that they would not come back alive, also raised

'This really sucks....'

Risa tought, as she closed her eyes and tried to put her thoughts in order. But all she got in her mind were these negative things she had just heard. The tragedy at home repeated non stop in her head, Ai was everywhere with her sharp tongue and rude manners and all her friends were somewhere, but not near her.

“I don't want this...”

Risa whispered, causing her friends to get worried now. She could feel, how a single tear traveled down her cheek. All these things at the same time made her pain, which she was still carrying with her to get worse and Risa felt very uncomfortable right now. It was like the day when all she had had was taken away from her and all around her was just anger and hate and this damn war. Risa turned her head away from her friends, for she didn't want them to see how she was crying. But Risa couldn't muse long in her sadness, when she suddenly felt something wrap around her. When she opened her eyes, she was greeted with a shoulder and brown hair and at the same time she felt something warm on her neck as someone breathed against it.

“Hey, it's okay. We are here for you when ever you need us.”

Risa could hear Eri's soft voice in her ear. When Eri had noticed her friends state though she tried her best to hide it, the younger girl had decided she needed some friends help here. Immediately she had went to Risa and circled her arms tightly around her, oping she would make friend feel a bit better. Soon, Eri's arms were joined by a single hand on her shoulder and when she raised her head, Risa could see Sayu standing beside her, smiling warmly at her.

“We'll come back, don't worry. You wont be alone."

After hearing Says words, Risa could feel how something got behind her and soon there were another pair arms circling around her waist.

“Yeah, don't worry. We will always be here. Now Eri, go cuddle with your own girl, this is mine now.”

Risa could not help but laugh as she heard Reina's voice from behind. She had so great friends beside her that she wanted to cry just out of joy. She wasn't alone anymore, for she had these persons with her. Even Ai's venomous words could not reach her now, for she was safe with her friends.

“Thank you guys. Really, this made me feel a lot better.”

With that, Eri backed away a bit after giving Risa a gentle pad on back, but Reina kept her hold. She glanced Risa with a playful grin, but soon she got a pained look on her face and packed away, for Risa had stomped on her foot and punched her a bit at the same time too.

“And that, made me feel even better.”

Risa chirped as they all laughed a bit at the struggling warrior.

“Damn, you're violent. I made you feel good and this is the price?”

Reina muttered, as she tried to rub her side and somehow ease the pain in her foot.

“Again, deserves you right.”

Risa laughed. She could laugh now, for she had her friends here, but she had no idea how could she survive, when they were on the field. She could only pray that her friends would get back alive every time they left, till this war was over.

-----------------------------------

It didn't take more than one week, when it was reported that there had been an attack on the battle front, which automatically caused the troops to leave the village. Risa was watching on the street as the warriors exited the city, one by one. She also got a glimpse of her friends, who waved at her, smiling at the same time as if they were saying that they would come back and see each others again. After her friends, she also saw Ai, who for some reason didn't have her helmet on. Her gaze landed on Risa and they stared at each others for a long time, before Ai just snorted and turned her head away. Risa did the same, as she continued watching the warriors to leave the city. She glared Ai's back one more time, before the gates closed and all the warriors were not in the sight anymore.
Everyone returned to their work or whatever they had been doing, but Risa just stared at the closed gates. At first, her expression was soft as she thought about her friends, but then when a certain leader's head popped in her mind, her face darkened immediately and as if to emphasize her anger, Risa kicked a small stone in front of her. She was suddenly so angry again and all it had taken was to think about that damn Ai.

'I really wish, that you wont come back alive...'


----------------------------------

Yah, things start to get a bit serious again XD

I hope you enjoyed this and sorry again if there's a lot of mistakes but I am so damn tired again..... :depressed:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 11/ 7/02
Post by: rndmnwierd on February 08, 2013, 03:02:19 AM
Aww Risa shouldn't say that, she'll feel bad if something happens to ai now.
Title: Re: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 11/ 7/02
Post by: kuro_808 on February 08, 2013, 04:58:03 AM
Risa gets more irked every time ai comes around her

Posted by PWO fail artist

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 12/ 9/02
Post by: MsSmigge on February 09, 2013, 03:43:12 PM
rndmnweird: Anger makes people say and do things they don't really mean.

Kurosawa87: Yup, but soon, she might not do so~

Guess who has too much time when nothing has happened in here... Yup, me. XD

There might be few fast updates in the near future, because really, there's nothing to do right now. Or at least now, you never know what tomorrow brings with it XD

So, here's the next chapter.
Here we go~


Chapter 12 – But then, she got to know more of her story


It was raining outside and the whole village seemed very grey and depressing, as Risa watched outside from a huge window. She had spent one week in the Castle now, for she had been offered to do some tasks in there. Now that Yoshizawa was on the field with her troops, her wife took care of everything. Also, some people from the palace were on the field too, so there weren't many persons taking care of things in here. Since Risa didn't have a home yet and she had nothing special to do, Rika had invited her to the king's palace, where she could stay and do something useful at the same time. Risa had of course accepted, for she wanted to help and she didn't want to bother LinLin all the time. Poor girl should have some time alone once in a while, for Risa was all the time with at the nurseäs place,not giving LinLin much time to be alone. Though LinLin had insisted that it was okay if Risa stayed there, the bean had decided that she would give her friend some alone time.

Right now, Risa was having a lunch break, which she usually used watching out of the window from one of the Castle's room. It was on the top floor and when you looked outside, you could see far away. Risa ate her lunch rather quickly, for she didn't take much food with her. The work she was doing was not physically very hard, so she could go with a small amount of food. Her job was to deliver some messages, keep places in order and few times she had to make sure that Yoshizawa's son was okay, for he had had a fever for few days. Rika could not stay all the time in the Castle, so she has asked if Risa could look after him. It had been an easy task, for the boy had slept all the time. Risa just had made sure that if he woke up she would help him if needed.

When Risa was looking outside during her breaks, she always wondered how her friends were doing. They had been on the battle front for one week now and by the news JunJun brought yesterday, they would be staying out there for at least one more week.

Risa sighed as she followed the falling rain drops on the window. How she really hoped this war would be over and everyone could just live normally. She could spent more time with her friends, with Eri and Reina making up some great ideas, while Sayu would just scold them for being reckless.

She really missed Eri's bright smile and laughter, Sayu's wise words and Reina's whining. Yes, for some reason Reina's whining was cute and the whole girl was somehow cute in Risa's opinion. At the same time, she was so tough and a bit egoist but after she was scolded a bit, she was just like a little kid, who didn't get what she wanted. Reina really made Risa happy as much, as Eri's smiles and gentle being. Heck, the whole group made her happy. She really hoped that those three would come back alive and okay.

'But she... I don't care if you come back or not...'

“You're here again.”

“UAAAAHHH!!”

Risa screamed, as she fell to the floor surprised by the sudden voice at the door. Risa had of course turned into her reaction queen mode, jumped up and ended up falling down. As she was on her back at the floor, the young girl craned her neck a bit so she could see who had scared her.

“My apologizes, I didn't mean to scare you.”

The voice of the captain made the bean get up quite quickly. Risa groaned, as she got up for the falling indeed had hurt quite much. But she should get up fast because Miki was standing at the room's door and it wouldn't have had looked very good if Risa kept crawling on the floor.

“It's okay, I should not space out like that.”

Miki laughed a bit, as she made her way to the girl and helped her up. It seemed to be a bit painful to get up and Miki had also seen how Risa had hit her head quite hard on the floor. Besides, it was always polite to help others. The captain had followed Risa for a few days now and every time, the girl would end up in here on her lunch break. Miki was just curious and wanted to know what was she doing in here all the time and today, she had decided to go and find out what the girl did here from day to day. Also, she wanted to talk with her for she was now under the trainer's eyes like everyone, who wanted to join the training.

“I just got curious of what are you doing in here, that's why I came here. And I am really sorry If I scared you.”

“Oh...”

Risa glanced at the window as she got back on her feet, Miki following her gaze. The captain sighed a bit and smiled at the younger girl in front of her.

“You miss your friends, right?”

Risa didn't say anything, but she nodded her head a bit. After a while, Miki moved to a nearby chair and sat down. She had her dark blue samurai armor on, for she was required to wear it, if there would be some kind of conflict. She had to be ready to act if something happened in here. Always when the enemy was inside their borders or when the battlefront was attacked, one of the higher ranking samurai's would stay at the castle and keep it safe, just in case if the enemy got in here some way. It also made the people in village feel easier, if they knew that someone who could lead the situation, if some conflict showed up in here, was close to them all the time.

“You get well along with Eri, Sayu and Reina, don't you?”

Risa raised an eye brown and whipped around to face the still smiling captain as she heard the question. Again, she just nodded her head, this time a bit shyly. Miki was still quite an unknown person to her and her being a captain, didn't help the situation at all. Risa wasn't a samurai yet and she wasn't under Miki's command, but somehow the captain's tittle gained some respect. They were in the end the higher ranking person's in here and also, if something happened they had all the rights to give orders to anyone.

“That's a good thing you've gained friends in here, for it's easier when you have someone beside you, ne?”

Once again, Risa just nodded her head. Why was the captain of this army asking her questions like this? Didn't she have some other tasks to do than talk with some random person? Or well, half random...

“Ano...” Risa said carefully, but when she noticed that Miki was listening to her, she got some more courage to ask and speak more freely.

“Why... Why are you asking me questions like this?”

Miki was quiet for a while, before she chuckled. Risa was so sure, that she had done something wrong or funny and now she looked like an idiot. She was about to apologize, but Miki was faster.

“What? Am I not allowed to ask about my subordinates well being?”

“Eh?”

That was all that Risa could say. Subordinate? She? But she wasn't any kind of warrior yet! She was just a regular citizen right now and not any kind of samurai.

“But I am not a samurai....”

“But you want to be one, right?”

Risa looked at the captain with an amazed expression. Could she mean that...

“What do you mean by that?”

Miki chuckled again, as she continued on, taking a bit better position in her seat, leaning back and crossing her legs in front of her.

“I have heard, as you know, that you want to become a samurai. Well, lets test you then. Lets see if you're able to be a samurai.”

Risa was stunned, for this practically meant that she was allowed to join the training! Or well, that was at least how it did sound like.

“Well, we don't have any other way to test you now, do we?”

Miki smiled at the girl in front of her, who was still staring at the captain, like Miki had two heads or something. Could this be true? She could join the training just like that? It was this easy? Risa had prepared for some kind of hard test, where she would have to succeed in something very difficult or so. But now this captain was just saying that she could join the training and they would test her there. It sounded a bit too easy.

“But you don't know am I capable at all to be a samurai. Don't you take persons who look like they could be samurais? I know nothing about fighting and I am very bad in that. If you take people to the training and they turn out to be very bad ones, isn't it a waste of time?"

“You can't judge people by how they look like.”

Suddenly the captain rose and took one sword from her waist. She untied it and tossed it to Risa, who caught the weapon. It was a small katana with a scabbard, where dark blue ribbon's were neatly tied around. Risa examined the weapon, till he suddenly heard noises from the way Miki was standing. When she raised her head, she saw the captain to take one of her swords, a way longer than Risa's and pointed it towards her. Risa's eyes widened as she stared the woman in front of her. What was she doing?

“We can also test you a bit in here. Defend yourself.”

And with that Miki lunged forward, trying to hit Risa. The first thing that got in Risa's mind was not to use the small sword, but to escape because there was just no way she could blog anything with this! When miki struck, Risa crouched down and dodged the attack. The sword missed and Risa was safe for a while, but soon, Miki attacked again. The captain spun around, kicking Risa lightly in her legs and causing the younger one to lose her balance, Risa fell on her back and Miki pointed the katana towards her, but took it away quickly and helped the girl up, once again.

“Well, you can at least dodge.”

The captain said smiling, as she took her swords and put them away. Risa was shaking, for she was a bit scared of what she had just experienced. She had seen how fast Reina and Sayu were and was amazed then, but being a target to one samurai was a whole different thing. Risa had barely seen Miki when she had moved and when her legs were swiped away under her, she had had not clue for a moment what was happening.

“That's a good start. Not the best one, but better than many others have done.”

After the swords were neatly on her waist again, Miki went to the chair she sat before, sat down and patted the seat nearby indicating Risa to sit down too. For a while, Risa was a bit unsure, for she was a bit of scared the captain now. That kind of speed and strength Risa had never seen before and it was indeed very frightening. But soon, gathering her courage again, Risa sat on the seat the captain offered to her. She was still quite shocked for what happened a few minutes ago, while the warrior beside her was like nothing had happened.

“If we judge people by how they look like, we would have a way too small army. Everyone can be soldiers, if they want it and they get a proper training. That's all it takes”

The captain explained. Risa allowed herself to relax now, for Miki's tone and posture told her that the woman was just going to sit there and not attack her again. Besides, she didn't need to be afraid of these people, because they were nice and would not harm others without a reason. They also possessed quite high skills in manners and education, which they showed all the time when they were not on the battlefield. Being a samurai was not just fighting and killing, it was also manners and self-discipline.
 
'Ai should take some things form this woman....'

Risa thought, as she rolled Miki's words in her head. At least someone believed she could be a samurai and would not judge her just by the looks.

“How have you been with Takahashi?”

Like reading her mind, Miki asked the question. Just hearing the leader's name, made Risa frown and snort, which caused the captain just chuckle a bit. But the laughter Risa heard was not a happy one, it was more like a desperate and dry laugh. She turned towards Miki and saw the woman shaking her head slowly and lean forwards on her seat, placing her head between her hands.

“This is quite normal of her ne?”

Risa asked the captain, who turned her face towards the floor. She didn't answer in a long while and Risa was just about to repeat her question again, till the captain said quietly;

“Unfortunately, this is very normal of her...”

The information didn't surprise Risa. She really thought that Ai was indeed very rude person and she could not even imagine her as a nice one. Even though her friends said that Ai was not like she was now and that she was a good leader and all, Risa just could no believe it.

“But you may not judge her by her actions.”

“What?”

Risa stared the warrior in front of her in disbelief. She should not judge Ai by her actions? She should just think that it was okay and that she was all good in reality? What was wrong with these people? Ai had not shown anything positive to Risa and she was quite sure that the warrior would never do that.

“Ai has done nothing wrong,”

'Yeah, hitting your friend and subordinate is not wrong...'

“She is really a good person,”

'So acting rude is a good thing now days.'

“And the one you should blame for all of this,”

'Is Ai herself.'

“Is me.”

'Like I sa...' “What?”

Risa stared the captain once again with widened eyes and a shocked expression. What was this captain talking about? There was a silence, as Miki seemed to think something very deeply. Did she do right by telling this girl these things? Would this solve anything?

'Well I can at least try...'

“What do you mean by that?”
Miki was still quiet till she got up and slowly walked to the window, watching the grey picture in front of her. Talking about this was always so hard to her and she also had a small fear how people would see her after they heard this.

“It's partially my fault Ai is like that.”

She finally opened her mouth as she turned to face Risa, who was again very shocked by what she heard. She had started this and she would finish this now, no matter what happened afterwards. She could take it.

“You may not judge her for what she has become, because it's not her fault. It's my fault...”

The captain lowered her head a bit as if she was shaming something or being scolded. Risa frowned as she got up and walked a bit closer. She wanted some answers, for she didn't understand what the captain meant. Also, she was very curious about what had happened to Ai, for she remembered that Eri had said that these trainers might have some information which no one else has about this thing.

“Can you... Can you tell me more?”

Immediately, Miki turned her head away, hiding her face and Risa felt that she had asked something she should not know. It was not her thing to know what the captain had done and why was Ai like she was now. She should have just shut up and...

“It was during the time her father was murdered.”

Suddenly, the captain spoke again as she walked back to her chair, sitting down once again. Risa followed quietly behind, sitting down as well. She stayed quiet, for she knew there was more to come.

“Ai was very shocked of course, like we all were, but this hurt her the most. She had nothing now and no one was with her. She was so shocked that she tried to forget all this, so she went and drank so much, she didn't even remember her own name.”

The captain kept a pause, Risa waiting patiently for more. Till now everything was something she had heard before from her friends, but she was sure the captain was going to tell something more, something, even her friends didn't know.

“I found her after two weeks, wasted. She reminded me more of a pitiful person without hope, than a brave warrior. I took her to the training area and scolded her for what she had done. Ai didn't listen at all and I yelled at her. I said all kind of horrible things to her, for I was so furious. I was afraid I would lose her, I was angry because she had done something like that and I was angry to myself for I let this all happen. Ai was and is still like an own child to me and the general. She is very important to us, not only as a soldier, but as a person too. We, and especially I, didn't realize then that in truth, Ai was a very sensitive and vulnerable young girl and all my words then, made it all even worse. Finally, I made the biggest mistake and lost my control while ranting at her. I punched her.”

Risa gasped. Had the captain really done something like that? How could she... Then it sank to Risa. All the rude words, punching Eri, the empty gaze in her eyes. Could it be...

“I think you've figured out why she is like she is...”

The captain whispered sadly, till she continued on:

“After that, Ai went and drank even more. She was hurt, deeply hurt and all she had been looking for was someone to divide the pain with her. But all she got was cold words and violent treatment from a person, who she trusted. I heard she even hurt her friend and after that incident, she has been like she is now, rude and cold. I can never forgive this to myself....”

The two women had their heads down, as they both were deep in thoughts. Miki was musing all the mistakes she had done with Ai and Risa was thinking what she had just heard. Could it really be, that Ai was really a whole different person, for she had had wrong kind of treatment in wrong time. Had this really made her change totally? Now that Risa thought about it, if she had been treated like that after her own tragedy, she probably would not be so happy and all l right now.

“You have very same kind of stories...”

The captain continued on, causing Risa to frown. How did she know? And why in the heck did she always bring up the subject she was thinking about?

“I am not saying, that you had it easier than others. You just had more luck, when you got support from Ai's team, LinLin and the king. Ai got nothing of that because of me. They could not help her, for I was there before them, destroying that poor girl who had just lost everything she had and dragging her into darkness.”

Risa remembered the time just after her own tragedy. She had thought about giving up many many times, but somehow she had moved on. That was on her own then, but it was true that without Eri and the others, she would probably be lost in her own self pity right now.

“So don't judge Ai, she has done nothing wrong. If you want to blame someone, the person is right in front of you.”

The captain was now standing in front of Risa, watching the younger one with regret in her eyes. She was in pain, the Risa could see it and that pain would probably never end. There was a silence again, as if Miki was waiting for some kind of judgement for what she had done, Risa being the judge. Finally, Risa raised up too, the captain following carefully her every movement.

“I can't judge you and I think that no one can.”

Risa took few deep breaths before she continued. For some reason, she did not see Miki any worse person, though she had just heard of what she had done and how it had influenced so many persons.

“You didn't it on purpose and you regret this all, as you try to fix it. Though your actions have affected even others, including me, I wont blame you.”

Miki stared deep in Risa's eyes and she felt like she wanted to be swallowed by the ground, for the captain's stare was so powerful. Like she tried to drill holes in Risa, trying to make her take back her words and say that it was all the captain's fault.

“Why would you do that? Don't you want me to pay for what I have done? Is it okay to just let me go, though I have hurt your friends and even you?”

The older woman was now speaking louder, spreading her arms and waving them on her sides as she came closer to Risa. But the younger girl didn't move, she just stood there where she was. Miki didn't scare her, for she could see the sorrow and pain in her eyes even more clear. As the older woman stood in front of her, Risa took a step forward and placed her hand on the warrior's shoulder, surprising the captain and even herself.

“It's true that you have done wrong things and hurt more people than you thought, but you didn't do it on purpose. If you had, I would of course see this in different light, but even then, I would not seek revenge for you.”

The captain listened to the younger girl silently without showing any emotions, but Risa could still see the sorrow in her eyes. No, she could never ever be angry about this thing at her. Of course she felt a bit hurt that something like this affected so many people but it could not be helped anymore. All they could do now, was to try and fix these things.

“All I want now is peace and that we could live in harmony, every one of us. So, Instead of seeking revenge and making sure that you would pay your price for what you have done, I am going to find a way to fix this all.”

Risa smiled at Miki, causing the warrior to gasp. Risa's kind being and gentle look made even the captain feel somehow different. It was like she had been forgiven everything she had done and that all she had to do now, was to fix these things. But thinking about that made he frown again, for it would be easier said than done. Also, Risa probably didn't want to go even near Ai, for she surely had had enough bad experiments from that warrior. Miki was sure, that with others help, Risa would somehow get Ai out of her shelter and be the normal herself again. That had been the main reason why she had told Risa about Ai. Not becaus she wanted someone to judge her of what she had done, but the subject had somehow gotten in there, though it had not been the intention...

“I think this is going to be a hard mission, but I am at least going to try. I just have to change my way of thinking and also think how Ai might feel. But...”

Miki looked again in Risa's eyes, the pain back in there.

“I can't ask you to do anything like this, for I have made enough damage to you and your friends. That's why, I am going to do this myself and....”

For Miki's surprise, Risa just shook her head and patted her shoulder firmly. She looked deep in the captains eyes and smiled a bit at the same time.

“That's the first step to failure, soldiering on alone. Others can help as well, for Ai's team probably knows Ai the best, so they might be a priceless help. Also... Also, I think I can help too...”

Risa muttered the last part quietly, but so that Miki could hear her. She was not very comfortable with this but she could at least try, for she knew now why Ai was like this. She had been wrong when she had thought that it was just the leaders's nature, but she should not have done that. Also, she didn't want to hate anyone and if she wanted peace and harmony, she should be able to cooperate with Ai at least on some level. They didn't need to be the best of friends or even friends at all, but they should somehow be able to live and breath in the same room more than 5 seconds without fighting. She promised herself, she would at least try, for her friends sake.
Now, the captain shook her head in turn, as she placed both her hands on Risa's shoulders.

“You're just too good girl. Never lose that attitude and... Thank you. Lets make this all together. And when Ai acts rude, which she will probably do a lot in the future, just try to be polite and ignore all the rude words. I know it's hard, but that's how it worked out, when Ai was in a bad mood when she was a kid. Maybe, it will help now too. Now I am sorry, but I have to leave. I have to go check that everything is fine outside.”

And with that, the captain turned around and left the room, leaving Risa behind. Risa felt happy, for she was able to help somehow, but she was also very anxious, for she didn't know how she could be polite with Ai, for the woman angered her so easily.

“It just takes some self control and willpower, ne....”

Risa spoke to herself, as she walked back to the window. Just when she settled down, the voice of the captain was heard from the door again.

“Oh, I almost forgot. There's a training tonight at the main hall. If you're interested, be there.”

The now smiling captain said, as she left Risa once again alone. Risa could not help but smile a bit too, for she had a feeling that there had been something good done. And indeed, if she could help Miki get out of her burden about how she had hurt many people by her actions, she would have done something good. Risa sighed a bit, as she leaned her head on her hand and watched outside, where the rain was just about to end. The scene reminded her of the day, when she decided to move on and not to give up. She would do so now as well and she would face all the troubles, never giving up.

---------------------------

Walking down the stairs, the still smiling captain rolled all the things she had just heard in her head. It indeed had been a good thing to tell this to Risa, for now the girl got to know why AI was so rude and all. The captain had not told the younger girl, how she was all the time under their eye and the trainers knew a lot of things and what was going on. When they had noticed what kind of a girl Risa was and how she didn't get scared so much when Ai got angry at her, they had gotten some hope that maybe this would be the key to get Ai back. They knew it would be hard for Risa, but if she and the others would succeed in bringing Ai back everything would be better. Everything big needed always big sacrifices but if they survived this, their lives would be much easier in the future.

Some lower ranking warriors passed Miki and they saluted her, the captain answering and smiling at them a bit. She had hope this thing would work and as Risa had said, all they could do now was to try and fix this situation. It did not help at all, if all they did was to cry their pasts and not to anything for things. They should act now and do this together.

'If this works out, I think I may even be able to forgive myself someday....'

-----------------

Yah, more about Ai XD

Okay, this chapter just turned out to be quite confusing (or at least it was when I reread it), so again, should you have any questions about things, ask XD I am so sure i made something contradictions in this one...

Anyways, thank you for your interest and comments again! I hope you enjoyed this chapter and see you all next time~  :cow:
Title: Re: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 12/ 9/02
Post by: kuro_808 on February 09, 2013, 06:49:42 PM
Ai's past can lead into a lot of trouble although I find that Risa can do one of two things accept the situation or spar against Ai to gain respect

The latter seems unreasonable without the training but I think she bound to do the training with or without ai's permission

Posted by PWO fail master

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 12/ 9/02
Post by: rndmnwierd on February 10, 2013, 12:37:07 AM
Finally, the turn around. The point where Risa decides to be nice and now love can grow! But I have a feeling it will be harder to put into practice...
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 12/ 9/02
Post by: darkacex99 on February 10, 2013, 08:04:08 AM
heyyy yoooo!!! u have gotten urself another reader on your hands :peace: omg this whole story is juss sooo awesome XD

its gunna b interestin to see how risa's gunna try melt ai's stank attitude :cathappy:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 13/ 11/02
Post by: MsSmigge on February 11, 2013, 02:53:02 PM
Kurosawa87:  :shocked omg, have you gotten into my computer and read my files?? XD I can't answer all or I'll reveal too mcuh  :lol: Damn you mind readers.....XD

rndmnweird: Though I am a very bad sucker for romance and so on, I am also evil (to myself too.........) and wont let the love grow too fast  :twisted: muahahah!! There's still a lot go before that, but hey we have our ahocombi who are spreading their love~ XD

darkacex99: heyyy yooooo to yourself and welcome!!!!  :welcome And thank you so much for your comment!! Its always nice to hear that the story you're writing is interesting etc. Hopefully it will be that in the future too~

Because nothing happens here and I am slowly starting to transform into a plant which irrigates itself (lol, this is something one of my boss said once... XD), I decided to write more of this story~ Thank you again everyone for your interest and comments. They make me very happy~

The next chapter, here we go~




Chapter 13 – Don't fall for her, for she can never accept your feelings


It took two more weeks, before the troops were back in the Castle. They all had dirty and bloody equipment and everyone was tired, but somehow there was a relief in their eyes as they were able to be back at home. A battle like this had taken many soldiers, which some warriors were ordered to inform to the fallen one's families. Sorrow was everywhere but there was also joy, when the ones who returned home met their families after a long separation. Risa was also searching for her friends in the group of warriors and when she finally saw them she could not help but feel extremely happy and start to run, so she could get to them faster. She had waited for them and every night she was afraid that her friends would not return back safely. But they had and Risa was very happy and thankful of that.

“Eri!!”

Risa yelled, as she saw the little sunshine land from her horse. Eri spun around and a smile lit on her tired face as she saw who was running towards her.

“Risa!”

Though she was tired, she had still that happy spirit of hers in her voice, as she embraced the other girl when she ran into her arms. Risa hugged her friend tightly, as if she was afraid she would disappear, if she didn't do so. When Risa pulled away, she could also see Sayu and Reina, who had came closer when they had noticed Risa.

“Sayu! Reina!”

Risa went and hugged them both at the same time. Sayu just laughed but Reina yelped in pain, which caused Risa to pull away immediately.

“Oh my gosh, I am sorry!! Are you hurt?”

Risa asked concerned, as she saw the warrior clutch her left shoulder. Reina just waived her hand and tried to smile somehow, failing miserably.

“No, no, it's just a... Ouch... A scratch.”

“A scratch? You were hit in your shoulder by a sword and you say it's just a scratch! You go to the nurse immediately and that's an order!”

Suddenly, the sub leader roared as she watched her childhood friend with a firm look. Reina in turn had a shocked expression on her face, as she stared her sub leader in awe.

"Eri... You...”

“No buts! You go now! Risa, could you please make sure, that this damn stubborn and reckless brat goes to the nurse.”

For the team's surprise, Risa snapped an attention and greeted them like a soldier, placing her right hand against her temple.

“Yes, sir!”

Eri frowned a bit, but soon, she was chuckling with her other teammates.

“I think you have spent a bit too much time with us, for you act like a soldier....”

“But I am a soldier.”

This caused all the chuckling to cease and now, all the three warriors, where watching Risa in awe. What was she talking about? Risa just smiled broadly as she tucked her coat's collar a bit.

“Didn't you notice my clothes?”

She was wearing very same kind of clothes, as The Team Alfa wore when they didn't have their armor on, but Risa's clothes were deep brown, which gave out her student position.

“You're.... You're a student?” Sayu was the first one to speak, as Eri and Reina were still watching her with wide eyes. Risa nodded her head and suddenly, found Eri embracing her very eagerly, causing the bean to gasp in surprise as she tried to stay on her feet.

“You are a soldier!!! Or well, a student, but you will become one of us!! That's just so great!”

Risa laughed at her eager friend and patted her back gently.

“Yeah, I passed the first test, but they are still watching after me. I can till fail and not become a soldier, but I am doing my very best not to fail.”

“Oh, you wont fail. If this aho combi couple has passed this, then you've no reason to worry.”

“HEY!”

Both Sayu and Eri yelled at the same time, but they regained from hitting their friend, for she was wounded so they both just instead glared at her which caused Reina to laugh in victory.

“Hey, I got a cure to all that hitting!”

Risa chuckled at her friends and was happy that things seemed to be like they usually were. They were joking and celebrating, like they had always done on their free time. It had been a hard 4 weeks for these girls and Risa bet their mind was all full of war and stuff, so she was very happy that they could turn it back to normal so quickly.
Risa walked to Reina and hooked her arm in hers, minding her injury, and started to walk towards the nurse's place.

“Oh, we will remember all this, after you have gotten you arm treated."

“Mmm, well I don't mind if it's you who will remember that~”

Reina teased, gaining a glare from Risa as well, but soon, her face turned into a mischievous grin.

“Oh, I am sure that, that LinLin has that nice disinfectant, which stings a lot....”

Reina's face dropped immediately, after she heard her friends words and suddenly she was not so willing to go to meet the nurse.

“You would not... Please, ask her to use the one, which doesn't sting at all...”

“But then it wont be so effective and your wound might get worse! Yup, it definitely must be the one that stings!”

Reina made a face, as she was dragged by Risa towards the nurse's place. Eri chuckled, as she watched after those two with Sayu.

“She has gotten very close with Risa, hasn't she?”

Sayu nodded smiling, as she put her arm around Eri's shoulder, but didn't say a word.

“Maybe, the could be a couple in the future... Little bit like us.”

Eri said, as she leaned her head on Sayu's shoulder, the other girl nodding once again. What Eri could not see was the small frown on Sayu's face, as she watched after Reina and Risa. She glanced Eri without turning her head, before she turned her gaze back to one of the warrior's back, who were walking away from them.

'I hope she wont fall for her, for she can't accept her feelings...'

-------------------------

A white horse was stopped in front of the stables, as a young warrior hopped down from the saddle. She took of her helmet and whipped some sweat of, patting the horse beside her a bit. Ai gave the animal something to drink and sat down on a nearby fence. She had not gotten a proper rest in days, the dark circles under her eyes proving it.

'Heck, I haven't slept well in years...'

There was some laughing sounds heard nearby and when the group leader raised her head up, she could see one of her warriors walking with that newcomer... What was her name again? Risa? The leader raised an eyebrow, as she noticed the other girl's costume. She was a student now? So she was accepted in the training?

Ai wanted to snort, but for some reason she could not make herself do that. She just sat there and stared as the two women kept on walking and laughing, like some best friends. Ai's head fell again, as the warrior stared at her own hands, which had some drained blood on there. A memory flashed in her mind, which caused her immediately to close her eyes and shake her head violently.

The head raised again, watching the two friends in distance but this time, there was an empty gaze in Ai's eyes. The same painful gaze, she had had when Miki had scolded her. The same gaze which she had had that night.

'In the end, they will all betray you....'

-------------------------------

“Forward! Back away! Move to side! Attack!”

All kind of commands flew in the training area, as the warriors were once again practicing. The Team Alfa was not the only one training here today, for the general had wanted to take also some “normal men” in the training, so everyone could get good practice combats. Risa was also with them, for it was easier to take her at the same time with the others, than train her alone. Also, she would get very good practice too, if she would combat with warriors, who were better than her. It sounded funny, but it really made a person develop, when you got to give all you had and even more, so you could even dodge one single attack.

“Woah!”

Risa felt, how she hit the ground face first, as she got her foot tangled in something and she lost her balance.

“Are you hurt?”

Eri was immediately by her side, helping her up. The whole team, not including Ai, had made it clear to Risa that they would help her to become a warrior and that they were there for her, whenever she needed help.

“Stop. A break.”

The captain ordered, as she went to talk with the general about some things. Eri helped Risa up, who was soon surrounded by her friends.

“You okay?”

Reina asked a bit concerned, which cause Risa to just roll her eyes now.

“Thank you for your concern guys, but I am really okay. I just fell, nothing serious."

“Well you never know. Once, a soldier fell during a practice and in some magical way, got the sword hilt in her eye....”

Sayu said, as she turned her gaze towards Reina, who just spread her arms to side and looked hurt as she defended herself.

“Hey! It could have happened to anybody! You know, that's probably quite normal to happen...”

“Mmm... How did you do that?”

Risa asked a bit confused as Sayu and Eri just giggled. Reina frowned at the interruption and didn't say a word, just turned around and made a face.

“You wont laugh when that happens to you...."

“Oh, no worries, that wont happen.”

“Okay, the break is over! We will start the duels!”

This was a sign for Risa to move a side, for she had not taken any duels yet. Miki had promised, she would teach her immediately when they got good time for that. Just when all the warriors, expect Risa, had circled around their trainers, Goto walked to her, causing the younger girl to snap into attention.

“General.”

“At ease. You'll take part in this too.”

Risa was silent for a while, as she examined the general and then the group behind her, who were all listening to Miki now.

“General, I haven't taken any duels yet and...”

“Well you must start from somewhere. Come, you'll learn this only by doing this.”

And with that the general turned around, the younger girl following her. What on earth was she supposed to do now? She had never had a duel, only seen some, but that was not the same thing! These guys had also some experience from the field, so they would beat her in ten seconds! This was not good...

“Eri,”

Goto called, as the sub leader turned towards her in attention.

“You'll be paired with Niigaki. Go with Miki.”

Eri had quite surprised look as well, for she thought that her friend would not take part in this. But soon, the turtle had a very happy smile on her face, as she walked to her friend.

“Our little student has become a warrior.”

Eri laughed, as she put her arm around Risa and walked with her after their captain, who had by now given the lead to the general.

“Well I am still a student...”

“No you're not.”

Risa watched Eri surprised, as the turtle explained.

“This is your first duel and that means, they will take your training go one level up. After you have had some practice duels, you're a soldier. That just how it goes, so congrats.”

And with that, Eri patted her friends shoulder and went to Miki, who was taking some wooden swords from a closet. But just when she was giving one to Eri, A metal a metal ones where put in her hands. Or well, not metal ones but the swords Risa had seen Reina and Sayu use when they had had a duel.

“Take these and give them the magic covers.”

Now, even the captain was surprised. She had agreed with the wooden swords, for she tought that Risa could really be an useful and able soldier, but using these ones...

“Are you sure?”

The captain asked the general, who slowly turned to face Risa. She had no idea what they were talking about, but if she could infer from Eri's reaction, this was something a bit more serious, for the sub leader wasn't smiling anymore.

“You do understand what soldiers do and what we are expecting from you, as we give you a tittle, soldier?”

There was a silence, as the whole training area was now listening to the general. Even Ai had paused her actions and was now following Risa's movements. Not that she was interested, but she had nothing else to do now, for everything was frozen because of that snotnose. What was so special in her anyway? She was just becoming a soldier, nothing else. Just another man to die on the field.

Risa didn't quite catch the generals words at first, but then she somehow fell back on the earth and faced the older woman, nodding her head firmly. She wasn't very sure in truth what she was asked to, but she just nodded her head so they would get forward in this thing.

“I do, General.”

Goto watched her in silence for a long while and Risa was sure, she had said something wrong or that her unsure thoughts were revealed, but was surprised even more, when the general threw her a sword. It landed with a thud in Risa's feet, while the other one was given to Eri.

“Then, let's see if you're worth of your words.”

Before Goto did anything else, she put her hands, palms upwards and fingers open in front of her and seemed very concentrated. In seconds, there were two red light's on her hands. She released one and then the other, both lights landing on Eri and Risa. The impact felt nothing and Risa didn't have any different feelings than seconds ago. What was this?

“Fight.”

Suddenly, there was the sharp command of the general and immediately, Eri struck forwards, wielding her sword and trying to hit Risa. Instinctively, Risa tried to raise her sword but lord, how heavy it was! When Eri go closer, and the sword hadn't moved an inch yet, Risa did the second best conclusion; dodge. She crouched down, keeping her hands on the sword and somehow dragging it with her. Eri's attack flew over and she missed, but immediately, when her foot hit the ground, the turtle spun around in unnatural speed and Risa was under fire again. This time, she had no time to get away, for she had just ended her own dodge and was prepared for nothing. She raised her hands up, crossing them in front of her face, when Eri's sword hit her. Risa felt like something had scratched her hands and jumped back in surprise, but she got even bigger surprise, when she saw two hands on the ground, cut from the wrist.

“EEEEH?”

Suddenly, she remembered how Sayu's and Reina's duel and how all the wounds and blood had seem so real, but there really was no damage. When she looked her own hands, Risa could see how they were cut, but there was still the feeling, like she had both of her limbs. After few seconds, the missing hands came back into view, the ones on the ground disappearing.

“Stop there.”

Goto ordered and walked beside Risa. Eri stopped her actions, took few steps backwards and got on one knee, waiting for more orders. The general lifted the sword she had given to Risa with one arm and handed it to the younger girl. Immediately, the younger one took the sword, which dropped to the ground, Risa following behind. But she didn't give in and only dropped on her knees. Then, she got up very fast, trying to lift the sword. The weapon raised somehow, but Risa's hands were shaking and her position felt unsteady.

“Fight.”

Again, Eri was on the move and Risa was on her attack line. Risa dodged at first and Eri did the same as a few seconds ago, attacking her friend again. But this time, Risa had made a smaller dodge and was now more balanced than before. Though she had the heavy sword in her hands, she somehow managed to move out of the way and keep the weapon ready. When Eri attacked again, Risa but the sword in the attack's way blocking it, but the next one was too fast and she could not even think about moving the sword. From the head level, Eri sifted quickly to the stomach level, slicing Risa's stomach open. Again, there was very unpleasant scene as Risa's stomach was bleeding badly. But in few seconds all was back like it had been and all the blood was gone. This "attack and dodge battle" continued on and every time, Risa got one more block or dodge. She was tired, but somehow, she got energy from somewhere and she was able to do better and better each time. Finally, after the tenth round, she was so tired she could barely stand, while Eri just started to sweat.

“Okay, that's enough.”

Goto boomed again and walked beside the tired girl. Meanwhile, Miki had taken the others and was dueling with them, so this whole training would not only be watching how Eri and Risa fought. The time they had had to be used effectively.

The general reached the panting soldier, taking the sword from her. Risa tried to get up, but she was so tired that all she could do, was to be on her knees. Her vision was blur and all she wanted to do was rest. She was thirsty, hungry and exhausted, but somehow she managed to see what the general was doing in front of her. She saw something raise in front of her and then suddenly fell towards her. Some flashbacks came back into her mind and Risa automatically closed her eyes, but the hit never came like it didn't the last time. When she opened her eyes, Risa could see how Goto had placed the sword's blade on her shoulder.

“You've still a lot to learn...”

The general said sternly, which caused Risa to sigh in defeat. Had she done so badly? She was not accepted as a soldier, for she had been so bad against Eri and now...

“But so do we all.”

The blade was taken away from her shoulder and the sword was handed back to Risa, who in turn was watching the general with shocked expression. What did she mean?

“Welcome to the group soldier. Remember your mission and always give all you have, but never give up.”

The sword was still in the general's hands, till Risa slowly grabbed the hilt, lifting the sword which felt surprisingly light now. After that, the general nodded to her and left for the other troops. Risa stayed on her knees, stunned as she examined the sword. It looked real and all, but this was this weird material which hurt but would not cause a wound when it was used in the duels.

“Great job there Risa!”

Suddnely her friends voice came from beside her and Risa whipped her head around to see her friend smiling at her.

“You're now a soldier! This is so great, congrats! Or well... I am not sure if it's okay to congratulate for you just got an access to the battlefield....”

Eri said scratching her head a bit, but Risa just smiled. Maybe it was indeed a bit ironic that with a lot of practicing and suffering, she only managed to get a ticket to hell. But this was what she had chosen and she would travel this road till the very end.

'I'll do my best, so I can reach the peace. Even if it takes my own life, I am ready for this.'

Risa tought, as she examined the sword in her hands. She lifted it and watched the blade, when something caught her eyes. She could see Ai's reflection on the sword, watching her with that dark gaze of hers. Risa just watched back, till she lowered the sword down, Ai's face disappearing from it, but not from her mind.

-----------------------------

After the training, everyone had taken care of their equipment and themselves, leaving the training area empty and quiet, except one person was lurking around. Risa had stayed behind, for she had so many things in her mind and she didn't want to leave quite yet. The training area was a place, where she could surely be alone and have room for her thoughts now. She had become a soldier today and she was supposed to be ready to battle, if needed. Of course, she needed a lot more training than this but in theory, if she was needed, higher ups had all the rights to send her on the battlefield. The thought on one hand scared her but on the other, it also made her a bit exited. She could finally fight for her dream and for peace, though her stakes were not very high, she would at least do something more useful than hope for better days.

Everything would feel so easy now, but Risa was sure that she was going to face all kind of trouble when she would see what kind of a place the battlefield was in truth. But she was ready for that, she could face the troubles like she had done some months ago.

“Yosh....”

Risa whispered to herself as she got up. She took the sword, now light as a feather and was about to leave the training area. It was still a bit mystery, how the weapon got lighter than it had been in the beginning. Maybe it was some kind of magic thing again....
Looking out, Risa noticed that it had become quite late and that she should hurry, or she would worry her nurse friend again. Just when she was about to leave, the training's rooms door was opened and someone came inside. Whipping around, Risa noticed the person at the door, but could not recognize her, for it was too dark. But soon, the person revealed herself by talking with that oh, so familiar curt and cold tone.

“What are you doing here?”

Risa just stayed silent for a while, because she wanted to say something she should not to say. Summoning all hell willpower and calmness she had, Risa tried to recall Miki's advice and solve this without losing her cool. She could do this, she could do this...

“I was just spending my time here and I was just....”

“Get out of here.”

Risa frowned, but kept her cool as she walked closer to the door, the other warrior still standing still.

“Yes, I was just about to leave. Could you please move aside?”

There was a silence as the two women looked at each others, Ai with a frown and Risa with restless expression. She could survive this well, if the group leader could just act nice and keep her mouth shut. Ai moved and Risa quickly exited the room, but just when she stepped over the threshold, the cold voice was heard again.

“And stay away. You're not a soldier.”

Risa stopped and bit her lip, for she wanted to yell so badlly to the leader. But she could keep her cool and not give up. She could do this.

“I am a soldier now, as you might have noticed earlier today, so I have all the rights to come here and practice.”

A snort was heard and Risa could feel Ai's freezing stare on her back.

“No, you're not one of us. You're just a sissy outsider, who has survived with a luck. Get out, this is not your pla....”

“it is as much as it it's yours.”

Risa got irritated again and ended up interrupting the leader, though she knew it was never a good thing. Interrupting others usually just made them even more angry than they were earlier. Risa tried to calm herself down again, for she didn't want to ruin this. She turned a bit to face Ai, who was still glaring at her.

“And....”

Risa gulped a bit, as she tried to talk in a polite way. Damn, this was so hard when Ai was the one she was talking to for all she wanted to say to this warrior was some insults.

“Could you please talk in a bit more polite way to others. It's not nice when you just yell and snap all the time."

Now, the leader had a very confused expression on her face, as she was staring the other woman. What the hell was going on?

“I bet it feels nicer for you to..”

“You know nothing about me and about my feelings, so stop advising me and get out, now!”

Suddenly Ai snapped and took few steps towards Risa, causing the younger one to turn around and take few steps backwards. Now, the leader got a furious expression and Risa was sure she was sending arrows through her eyes. But there was also something else in those brown eyes. Behind all that rage and hatred, Risa could also see pain. She wasn't any kind of mind reader or she could not see in people's souls, but this woman had all those things written and hidden behind her eyes. Risa wasn't sure, had the others seen this in their leader, but somehow she could see it.

As the two stared at each others, Risa somehow calmed down and she was not as irritated as she was some minutes ago. Actually, she felt very calm now and it scared her a little bit. She really didn't like Ai and always got very angry when she was around her, but now, she was like there was a possibility she could talk to this woman without acting that she was nice and polite.
 
Ai was still staring at her like she wanted to kill Risa, but for some reason, the leader did nothing else. As if she was waiting for something to happen, ready to snap some more and dissolve her anger to someone.
What happened next, surprised both women; Risa nodded her head a bit and took few steps backwards and then stopped. She was still looking into the warrior's eyes, not showing any kind of fear or submission, but she wasn't arrogant either. She watched the leader as equal.

“If you want to, I'll go. I was just about to leave myself. But next time...”

Risa turned around and walked to the outdoor, Ai following her with her eyes, now a frown decorating her face. What the heck just happened? There must be something else to come than just polite words, there just had to be....

“Next time, I would really appreciate, as would your friends too, if you were a bit more polite towards others. See you around and good night.”

And with that, Risa went out of the door, leaving the now stunned leader in the training area. Ai stared the door for a long while as the words she had just heard spun around in her mind.

'Appreciate.... More polite.... Your friends....'

Suddenly, some images flashed through her mind again and Ai almost fell to her knees. She gripped her head with both hands and shook it violently, as she tried to get those pictures out of her mind. No one would appreciate her more, no one had never done that. People didn't deserve to be treated politely, they deserved to be treated like Ai had treated her friends.

A strange feeling made the leader suddenly freeze and open her eyes as she turned her gaze to the ground
below her. The funny feeling continued and soon the leader could feel how something traveled down her cheek and when she looked down, there were small moist spots on the ground.
This time, the leader just gritted her teeth and hit the wall beside her, leaving a small scratch on it. Ai turned around and briskly walked to the training area, where some weapons and training equipment were kept. In no time, the leader was furiously beating one of the practice targets with a wooden sword, dissolving all her pain into that. Being polite would not solve anything. It was for weak one's and Ai was strong. She had no friends, for they just ended up betraying her in the end. She didn't need anyone's help or advice, she would do better on her own.

The leader kept on beating the target, not noticing how the tears didn't stop at all. They just kept on falling down as the pain inside her heart got stronger and stronger after every hit she did.

--------------


There you go~ Maybe you got something to think about after this one.  :lol:

Hope you enjoyed!!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 13/ 11/02
Post by: kuro_808 on February 11, 2013, 05:13:25 PM
Risa is moving on up and now Ai has to accept it that everyone have been supporting her.  It will be tough until they actually face each other
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 13/ 11/02
Post by: darkacex99 on February 11, 2013, 07:02:54 PM
oh my goodness Risa is a soilder now :w00t: kooooool! and i too wanna know how it is possible that reina got the hilt of the word in her eye :lol:

aw man Ai's still being mean as ever :catglare: but i love how risa kept her kool while talking to ai :cathappy:

ai bettah start realizing that being mean isnt the answer  :smhid  but thank for another awesome chapter :thumbup
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 13/ 11/02
Post by: rndmnwierd on February 12, 2013, 01:43:20 PM
Risa is training, now~! And being nice to Ai. Ai is like a little robot who has programmed herself to hate everyone and think the worst about them and, now that Risa has gone against her expectations, its screwing up her programming.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
Post by: MsSmigge on February 15, 2013, 10:32:50 PM
Kurosawa87: Oh, it will be a long while, before they will face some easier times. muahaha  :twisted:


darkacex99: And that hilt thing will stay unknown to us all~ xD


rndmnwierd: I could not have said that any better. Great description!


Cause I had time, I decided to get this shorter chapter out of my way now. Next one will be longer and something interesting will happen. Uuuu~
But that update will be after I have survived my updating training, which starts on monday and last for 5 days. If I survive it... We'll see XD

Anyway, the next chapter.
Here we go~


Chapter 14 – But she could not see everything going around her


A deep sigh escaped Sayu's lips as she stretched her tired limbs. She was spending her morning in the town at the very same place where she used to hang out with her friends. The small water pond behind her had some leaves in it, which were colored in all kind of beautiful bright colors. The fall was coming, but the weather hadn't cooled yet, so it was still nice to come outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Sayu took a bit more comfortable position on the bench and closed her eyes. All the warriors had had a very rough past week and it was continuing, so she tried to get all the free time she had and relax as best as she could. There was rarely time for this, so Sayu was going to enjoy this.

However, she was very oblivious of the other person, who was approaching her from behind. The person tiptoed very quietly and though Sayu was a trained warrior, whose senses were ultra sensitive, she was too tired now to notice the approaching noises.
When the person got behind Sayu, she raised her hands very quietly and then slammed them hard on the black haired warrior's shoulders.

“SURPRISE!!”

“UAAAAAAHHH!!!”

Sayu jumped at least two meters upwards and landed on the ground face first. When she was about to get up and draw her sword, she heard soft giggling from behind her. She recognized the person who had scared her immediately. Sayu sighed again and put the sword she had drawn out a bit, back in it's sheath.

“Eri....”

Sayu growled and got up, facing the other girl who had a very innocent and “What I did now?” smile on her face. She had her hands behind her back, like she was waiting for something special to happen.

“You know I hate when you do that...”

“Oh, no you don't! The turtle interrupted shaking her head. “You like it! And I definitely like it too!”

Sayu just rolled her eyes. That turtle was just one aho one, but she was also rather cute with her innocent an childlike being. No one could never hate that girl, no matter what she did.

“And that only encourages you to do things like that, for you know I can never get angry to you...”

Eri nodded her head and walked to Sayu, placing her hands on the other woman's chest.

“Partially yes, but I also do it because it's so damn funny to see you get scared like that. You're always so cool, serious and all and it's rare to see you get loose like that.”

Sayu frowned a bit, but soon a soft and somehow twisted smile plastered on her face.

“You know I can't get angry at you, but I can always do something else..."

The turtle raised her eyebrow in confusion and backed away a bit. Whenever Sayu had that kind of a smile it would only mean one thing and that was never anything positive..

“What do you... HEY!!! Let me down! SAYU!”

The turtle was swooped in Sayu's arms, who had caught her bridal style and was now moving towards the small pond behind the bench. She stopped at the edge of the pond, lowering Eri a bit, which caused the turtle to scream in panic.

“Sayu! What are you doing??”

“I am going to give you a lesson, why it's not a good thing to scare others like that.”

She lowered Eri again and this time, the turtle wrapped her arms around Sayu's neck and hugged the other woman with all her might. Her coat was already drenched a bit in the water and if the turtle didn't come up with some kind of idea how to get away from this, she would have a very refreshing experience in the pond.

“Sayu no! Let me go! I am sorry, I'll do anything, but please don't drop me in the water!!”

“Hmm... Anything?”

The lowering stopped as Sayu watched Eri with a curious face, the turtle sighing in relief. Though it was not cold yet, the water was not very warm anymore, plus it would be very uncomfortable to get wet in these clothes.

“Yes, anything! Please, get away from the water now.”

There was a short silence, till Sayu suddenly took Eri better in her arms, marched back to the bench and sat down. The older girl was about to get up and away from the bunny's lap, but was soon stopped by Sayu's lips. Eri gasped and tried to get away, but Sayu had a better hold of her, as she wrapped one of  her arms protectively around Eri's waist while the other went around the turtle's shoulders, keeping her still. The kiss grew deeper and deeper as Sayu explored the turtles mouth eagerly. Meanwhile, Eri was trying to get away from the grip, but soon noticed it was impossible, for Sayu had managed to trap her so well in her arms. She had no choice but to stay still and wait for the bunny to stop her assault.

Soon, Sayu parted her lips from Eri's, both women breathing a bit faster than normally. Eri was the first one to recover from the kiss and she slapped Sayu quite hard on her shoulder.

“We are in public! What the heck are you doing?”

But Sayu only grinned and gave Eri another kiss, this time a lot more gentle and shorter one.

“I got to do anything, so you would not get a swimming round in the pond.”

Eri huffed and slapped the other woman again. It was not a secret that they were together, but Eri was still a bit shy about showing their relationship status in public. She really loved Sayu and all, but she was not very comfortable to show it to everyone just yet.
Sighing, Sayu buried her head in Eri's neck and hugged the woman tighter, her hot breath tickling the turtle's neck.

“It's not just because of that...”

Sayu whispered, causing Eri to sigh as well. She didn't need to explain why she had done like that, for they both knew the answer. It had been stressful times lately and they had had not much time to spend their free time together. Sayu had also said, that being with Eri calmed her down a lot and helped to forget all the bad things in the world. Eri was not far behind, for she felt the same with Sayu.

“I know... I just hope this all could end and we all had time for everything else than fighting...”

Eri whispered back and wrapped her arms around Sayu. The fear of showing their relationship in public was long gone and both women just concentrated on holding each others close and saving this feeling for later days. They didn't know when they could be like this again next time, so they were going to savor this moment as well as they could.

Sayu raised her head a bit so she could see Eri's face. They both smiled and Eri reached up to give a kiss on Say's lips, which the bunny eagerly answered. When the kiss ended, both ended up cuddling again, holding each others close.

“I love you....”

Sayu mumbled and kissed Eri's neck gently, causing shivers to run down her spine.

“And I love you too...”

Eri whispered back as she closed her eyes and enjoyed the warmth Sayu gave to her. How she wished she could stop the time and be like this forever, accepted by someone and being able to show her love to someone. How she wished, this all would never be taken away from her.

----------------------------------

Risa was slowly walking down the almost empty streets. People where not out yet, for today was some kind of a holiday. In her village, there were no such things and people worked everyday and took breaks when they needed to, but always continued on working. It felt a bit weird to Risa walk streets as empty as they were today, but it was also quite nice too. It was very calm and silent as there were only few people on the streets. But though it was a holiday for everyone, the ones who were somehow involved in the war, were working. This was reminded to Risa, when she passed a blacksmith's place and heard  a steady clank of a hammer hitting metal. Now that Risa was a soldier too, she either didn't have any kind of holidays, but today everyone had the morning free. Yoshizawa had ordered that, for she needed to keep her warrior's minds fresh and motivation high. If they were always on the battlefield or training and never got to rest, they would end up burning out and then there would be no soldiers to protect this land.

Risa kept on walking ahead, deep in her thoughts. She had all the time thought what had happened between her and Ai few days ago. It had surprised Risa a lot how she had managed to keep her cool and act politely towards the rude leader. At first, she had been about to answer Ai back, but the painful look in that warrior's eyes had made Risa soften and change her mind somehow. She had no idea why she had done what she had. She didn't feel any kind of pity towards the leader, but something just got her to act more nice. Maybe it was the conversation she had had with Miki, where it was revealed that Ai didn't act rude in purpose, for she had something bothering her mind all the time and had had quite a rough past. Maybe it was that.

Soon, Risa entered the town square, which had some people walking around it. Usually this place was full of life and sounds, but now it was very calm and quiet. Examining the open, Risa's eyes landed on a certain spot she was about to go, but decided against her plans. On the bench beside the small pond were her friends, cuddling close to each others and Risa thought it would be better to let them be alone. They probably did not have much time to spend together, so she would not go and ruin this moment of theirs. Risa smiled a bit and turned around to leave, but bumped into someone. Looking up, Risa found “the power of the Team Alfa” standing in front of her and smiling broadly at her.

“Reina! Ohayoo gozaimasu!”

“Ohayoo, Risa. What brings you here at this time?”

“Well I could ask you the same question. I just wanted to walk around a bit and go to our usual place, but it seems it's occupied right now.”

Risa chuckled a bit and pointed towards the cuddling couple on the bench. Reina looked the same way, smiling a bit.

“Oh, yeah.”

That was all the warrior said and then there was a silence. Risa watched her cuddling friends for a while, before she turned back to Reina.

“So anyways, what are you doing here this early?”

She waited for the younger girl's answers, but Reina just looked ahead, not saying a word. Risa frowned a bit and watched where Reina was looking at, only to find the cuddling couple once again. Turning back to Reina, Risa waved her hand a bit in front of the other warrior's face, causing her to snap back on earth.

“Wha... What did you say?”

Reina asked quickly, like she had just woken up.

“I asked why are you here so early?”

“Oh, that! I was just about to....” Her eyes traveled back to the couple and it was silent again, till Reina just shook her head and smiled at Risa.

"I was just walking around, just like you.”

Risa watched Reina with curious eyes, for it felt like the other woman was hiding something from her. But Risa let go of her doubts soon. Maybe Reina was just tired and that's why she answered a bit slow and all.

“Well, you continue whatever you were doing. I go fetch something to eat.”

Risa said smiling and with that, she left Reina behind, but didn't get far when a hand grabbed her arm and stopped her.

“Ano...."

Risa spun around to face Reina, who was again staring towards Eri and Sayu. Risa did the same, only to find the couple in the same position as they were a while ago. When she turned back to Reina and question her what was wrong, the warrior had turned her face back towards her.

“I was about to go get something to eat too, so maybe...”

Again, Reina glanced at the couple, but this time she almost immediately turned back to Risa.

“Would you like to go with me? To get something to eat, I mean.”

Risa blinked, but soon smiled warmly at Reina. It was a bit weird behaviour from her, but she blamed again the stress and tiredness these warriors must have felt right now.

“I'd love to.”

Risa answered and soon found herself being led by Reina. They walked along the street and at some point, Reina put her arm through Risa's, linking them together. Risa just chuckled as she watched the grinning kitten beside her.

“You better not try anything, you hear me.”

Risa said smiling, which caused Reina only to grin even wider.

“You know I could never.”

With that, the two left for hunting some breakfast for themselves as the gentle autumn wind blew through the opening, taking some leaves with it and flying them around. The ground was covered in all kind of colors by the leaves, but one color was more dominating than the others. The deep red color gave a vision of the future, which was still very unknown to everyone and which only the creator knew right now.

-----------------------

There. Thank you everyone for your interest and comments again! I appreciate them a lot.

Now, good night!!  :yawn:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
Post by: kuro_808 on February 16, 2013, 01:13:08 AM
Poor Kamei, in trying to be childish Sayu got her back :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
Post by: darkacex99 on February 16, 2013, 04:17:27 AM
heck yeah! new chaptah :cow:

eri n sayu hangin out  :deco: and reina.....is she jealous of the two? or is she herself lonely? hmmm :?   
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
Post by: rndmnwierd on February 16, 2013, 05:59:32 AM
Tanagaki ~! Bad comment, hard to you're on my phone lol
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
Post by: MsSmigge on February 22, 2013, 09:03:22 PM
Kurosawa87: Sayu may have one of the best manners, but she can be cruel too  :twisted:

darkacex99: Well there's something for you to think about~ You will find out later, I promise XD

rndmnweird: Comment is always a comment for me~  :)


I'M ALIVE!!! I AM FREAKING ALIVE!!! I SURVIVED!!  :cow:

Yeah, my training is over now and I am finally at home~ It went surprisingly well and I got even good feedback from my boss. Yay~ But damn am I tired now....  :depressed: But I have always energy to write/read fanfics!! muahahaha XD

Thank you again everyone for your comments and interest~ They make me very happy   :)

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 15 – She made those blind eyes open

A training katana slashed through the air, as a fully armored samurai practiced in the training hall, battling against an imagine enemy. She blocked, hit, moved to the sides, forward, backwards, like she was in a real battle. Her movements and sword wielding were professional, she was fast and she had power in her doing. After a good 10 minutes, the warrior finally stopped, put her practice sword away, bowed and took a break. She walked to the fence and took her helmet off, when her brown, short and sweat drenched locks came to view. She put the helmet away and walked slowly around the area, shaking her tired legs and arms as she tried to recover her powers back. It would have been easier, if she had had more sleep than what she did, for her body cried for a good rest. But she could not for she didn't have enough time and all the time she got, she needed to use into training. Otherwise, she would never ever reach her goal.

'No pain, no gain...'

The warrior thought as she took her helmet again and put it in her head. But before she continued, something caught her eyes. Behind the fence, on a small table nearby was some kind of a piece of paper. Ai crouched a bit so she could reach the thing and took it in her hands. It was the drawing Eri had found from the burned village. She must have forgotten it here when she was training last time. Ai examined the persons in it, remembering her own family. She too had had a younger sister. Actually, this family had exactly the same persons as her own, parents and two daughters. Somehow the other sister caught Ai's attention, for the girl looked very familiar. Where had she seen her?

Soon, Ai snapped back from her thoughts and tossed the picture back on the table. She had no time for this, she had work to do. Ai started her practicing again, tough she was tired as hell but she could not stop now. She had to do this, for she had chosen this path.

------------------------------------

“Oh my, no way!”

“Believe me, that's how it went...”

Reina tried to provide Risa as they were walking towards the training area. After the breakfast incident, these two had spent quite a lot of time together for the last two weeks. They were usually just chatting about all kind of things and found out that they got very well along. Reina was very polite and energetic, maybe a bit egoist but in the end, a very nice person. She in turn claimed all the time, how Risa reminded her of Eri and maybe that was the reason, why she got so well along with her. Risa had denied that, for she thought that she was nothing like Eri, the said girl being much more bright and nice than what she was.

“You really mixed some dog food in her dinner and she didn't notice?”

“Well, that's our aho kame... She doesn't notice some things at all...”

“Did she even get angry?”

“Eri did not, but Sayu did. Eri only laughed and blamed herself for not being very observant, while Sayu almost ripped my head off...”

“Oh, well I thought it would have been vice versa.”

Reina shrugged a bit to Risa's words as they kept on walking. They were going to have a practice this afternoon, where they would meet with others. Sayu and Eri would come together and Ai would probably come half and hour late as she always did. The leader had her own schedule and it was okay for the trainers. She also needed to do some plans for the incoming battles and sometimes those took all her time.

“Sayu is just overprotective towards Eri from time to time. She usually calms down, when Eri says that everything is okay.”

“Well, that's what couples usually do, ne?”

Reina chuckled a bit and turned her head so that she could see Risa.

“Well... Yeah, I think it's like that. Oh, we are here.”

They had arrived to the training area by now. Just when they were about to enter, Reina suddenly stopped and cursed.

“What is it?” Risa asked confused.

“Ah, I forgot my helmet at home...” Reina grumbled

“Well can't you borrow one from here? You have all kind of equipment in here too.”

But Reina just shook her head and started to walk away.

“No, I have to have my own helmet. Sorry, but I will be late. Tell the others where I am and what happened, please?”

Risa smiled at her friend and nodded her head.

“Un, I'll tell.”

“Thank you. Well then, see you soon!”

With that, Reina waved at her and started to run the way they had came here. Risa turned to the outdoor and went inside, only to be greeted by Eri's happy face.

“Risa!”

“Well hello there. Reina will be a bit late for...”

“Yeah I heard... Actually, Sayu has the same thing, for she forgot her training suit at home. Aho...”

Risa could not help but chuckle a bit after she heard Eri's words. That turtle was one to call someone aho, while she herself was quite silly from time to time. But what surprised her was that Sayu had forgotten something. Usually that woman was so organized and never forgot anything. Well, no one was perfect.

“We have to start a bit late, but I think it's okay.”

Eri said, as she stepped outside an started to walk away, causing Risa to frown.

“Eri, where are you going?”

“Huh, me?”

The turtle spun around, facing the frowning bean. Soon, a nervous smile crept on Eri's face as she scratched her head and started to slowly walk away.

“Ano.... I kind of forgot one of my swords at home...”

Risa almost fell as she heard her friends words. What was wrong with everyone forgetting something today?

“Eri!”

“What? Hey, I live the closest here, so it's not such a big deal...”

“It still doesn't cancel that you forgot something...”

“Yeah yeah, I'll be back soon. See you at the training!”

And with that, Eri started happily run towards her home and fetch the forgotten weapon. Risa could not help but chuckle at the aho turtle. She really was goofy and silly but at the same time so carefree. It seemed like nothing bothered that girl. Risa entered the building and but her own equipment on her own shelf. Just when she was about to start changing, she heard some noises from the training room. Was someone already here? She thought that this place would be empty, plus her friends didn't note her that someone was here already.

Curious, Risa went to the training room's door and opened it. At first she saw no one but as she peeked further, she could see a warrior without a helmet, leaning on the fence and panting heavily. The warrior's back was towards her, so Risa didn't recognize her immediately, but when the warrior raised her head and turned it towards her, Risa knew immediately who was there. Ai had her whole head covered in sweat and all the textile under the armor were drenched as well. She was panting like she had ran a marathon and there were dark circles under her eyes, which told about sleepless night. The leader watched Risa for a long while, the reason being, that she simply could not see who was at the door. Her vision was blurry and she hadn't had any water in long time, so she felt a bit dizzy too.

“Hey, you okay?”

Risa got a bit concerned now, as she saw the warrior's state. Her voice made Ai recognize who was the new comer and she snorted immediately.

“Get... Get out of here....”

Ai snarled, as she fumbled with her helmet and tried to put it back in her head, only to drop it down. Risa frowned and went closer, but kept in her mind what the other woman could do. She knew Ai wasn't very fond of her and it was also the same other way, so Risa kept a bit distance. Ai tried to reach for her helmet, put crouching down was very painful and uncomfortable right now. The leader growled and looked up at the frowning Risa, her vision still a bit blurry and unclear.

“I told you to get out. Obey my command.”

In truth, Risa should have obeyed, for she was a soldier now too and Ai was her superior, but she could not just leave her to be like this. The leader was in a bad condition, lord knows why, and Risa had to help her.

“Oi, you're not okay. Let me help you...” Risa sighed and went carefully closer, but suddenly, Ai shot up and growled at her, which caused Risa to immediately back up.
Again, the other warrior was panting heavily, for she had done a sudden move which caused her vision spin like a carousel. But she would not give up.

“Get out of my sight...”

Risa felt how she got irritated again. Damn that woman was stubborn and stupid! She could barely stand and still it seemed like she was going to continue practicing. Though Risa could care less about Ai, she was a human in the end and leaving the leader in this condition would be cruel. She could not do that to anyone, not even to the persons she didn't like at all.

“Okay, you hear me now.”

Somehow, Risa got courage and went closer to Ai, so she could touch her. Immediately, when her hand came to contact with the leader's shoulder, Ai spun around and tried to swipe Risa. Luckily, the younger warrior's skills had gotten a lot better, thanks to the training, and she could dodge the attack. Though Ai was in a bad condition, she was amazingly accurate and strong and if Risa hadn't dodged that hit, she would look like a panda now.

“Oi!! I try to help you!!”

“I don't need your help! Get out! Get out! GET OUT!”

Somehow, Ai had gotten very furious and she had even taken her sword out and it was not the practice sword she wielded a while ago, but a real one. She was always very angry and hostile but now she was indeed angry. When Risa saw the sword, she instinctively took her own from her waist and faced the other warrior. They stood there, staring at each others, both swords ready to hit. Ai was the first one to do something, as she started to laugh dryly,  lowering her sword at the same time. Risa frowned, but did not lower her weapon.

“What's so funny?”

She growled at the leader, who kept on laughing, like she was over tired which she probably was.

“You look ridiculous.”

She snorted and turned her back towards Risa, which only made her even more angry. Risa had no idea why she was doing this, but she got closer to Ai and shouted.

“Don't you dare to turn your back towards me! If you're about to fight, then fight! Finish what you have started and don't run away, like a coward.”

Some kind of an unknown power made the younger girl say things which she would never say in truth. Maybe her anger got the better of her and Risa was doing something she would normally never do. Challenging Ai was dangerous and she stood no chance agains the leader.

Her words stopped the older one, who slowly turned around and faced Risa. Ai had very threatening look in her eyes, which was made even more scary by the dark circles under her eyes. She looked at Risa and it seemed like she was deep in thoughts, her gaze wandering to the ground and then the younger girl could see it. The pain in those chocolate eyes was there once again. The pain that was torturing the other woman's mind, the pain which had probably changed her.

Suddenly, Ai raised her head and took her sword. She faced Risa and took a better stance. The leader was about to take the challenge Risa had thrown at her. But now, Risa was a bit nervous. She had just said those words in a whim and really didn't mean them! Heck, she could never fight seriously against any of these warriors, not with this education!

But Ai was not backing away. She was standing still and waiting for Risa to do her move. They didn't even have those magic protection things on and what she knew and saw about Ai right now, Risa was sure that if she made a mistake, the older woman would probably kill her. She took a deep breath and steadied herself. She had declared a fight and now, she was paying the price of her words.

Suddenly, Ai lunged forward with an ultimate speed and tried to hit Risa from above. Risa barely blocked the attack, but then she felt how air escaped her lungs. Ai had kicked her in her stomach with her knee and had now Risa gasping for Air. It hurt a lot, but thanks to the training, Risa managed to somehow keep herself in order. She looked up and saw, how Ai raised her sword up and hit down. She had no time to block the attack, but then Miki's words popped in her mind.

'Well you can at least dodge. It's a good start'

In no time, Risa felt herself drop down and doge the attack, surprising both herself and Ai. The leader probably had thought this was here and was not prepared for this sudden change. Using the situation for her benefit, Risa, now crouching, kicked her other leg out and swept one of Ai's legs from under her. The leader swayed and took few steps backwards, which gave Risa some time to get up and have a better position. Her stomach hurt, but adrenaline was now running so high in her veins, that she could not feel the pain. Meanwhile, Ai had recovered from this sudden strike and was approaching Risa again, this time a bit slower. She had to admit that she was in a very weak condition now and could not get Risa by attacking straight forward. But attacking was probably her only chance, for Risa seemed to be very passive. She too knew her own skills and attacking without a plan, which she didn't have any, was like giving Ai the katana and asking her to kill her. The leader had so much more experience than Risa did and though she was in a weak condition, her actions were automatic, for she had practiced so much.

After a while of circling around, Ai decided to move; She struck forward again and just when she was about to hit, Risa dodge again to the side. This time, Ai was prepared and she turned her way after Risa, causing the younger one to curse. Ai hit and Risa merely blocked the attack, which was followed by another. This too was blocked by Risa, who was now fighting for her life. She had noticed the power Ai put in the hits and if she didn't dodge or block them, the leader would not stop the strike; she would hit till she reached her goal. Risa was so stressed and even afraid, that her body stretched in unbelievable performances. She wanted to live, she would not give up.

After one block, which Ai hit a bit slower and less power, due to her strength straining, Risa hit back. When Ai drew her sword back, the younger girl got immediately after her, startling the older one. Risa swiped the sword so that it would hit Ai's abdomen, but the leader dodged it just and just, the swords edge slashing her armor a bit. She stared at Risa with a bit shocked expression, which the younger warrior answered with a same kind of look. She had almost hit Ai, which she really didn't mean to. She only wanted to help her, but then her rage got her and made her challenge the leader in this duel and now she was trying to hurt her! She had never ever hurt anyone in her life and now she had tried to hit a warrior who she didn't like much, but was in any case on her side.

'Oh my gosh...'

Ai was staring at her with a blank expression. She had gotten surprised by this woman, who she thought was a bad fighter. Of course, she was in a bad condition, but still, she should have been able to finish Risa off. Maybe the other one got some guts in the end...
Ai shook her head violently and gathered herself again. She would end this now, they had played too much.

The leader lunged forward, giving signals, she would hit from above once again. Risa prepared to dodge, but instead of hitting her from above, Ai kicked Risa's leg causing the younger girl to stop in surprise and concentrate in her lower body instead of the attacking leader. After that, Ai got closer ans swept Risa's legs from under her. The younger girl screamed as she fell on her back to the ground, Ai hovering above her immediately. The leader pressed her legs on Risa's arms immobilizing her upper body. But that was not enough, for Risa still got her legs.

With good aiming, she send a hard kick towards Ai crotch, causing the leader to to howl in pain. She backed away immediately, freeing the younger one. Risa got up as fast as she could and watched the woman in front of her, who was now crouching a little bit, her hands protectively on her private area.

'Works every time...'

Risa thought as she steadied herself once again. Ai would recover very soon from that, for she had gotten used to endure pain. Warrior's had to be able to act even when they were wounded and that of course meant doing things in a lot of pain. After a while, Ai was still in the same position, which caused Risa to frown. Did she use too much force? Did she really hurt the leader? Slowly, she lowered her sword and walked closer to Ai, still a bit wary. Every time, she took few steps, stopped and examined the woman in front of her. When Ai did nothing, she would go a bit closer. When she was few meters away, suddenly, the leader's head snapped up and she attacked, pointing her sword's edge against Risa's neck. Risa yelped and stood still, her weapon lowered, for she had had no time to raise it up. One wrong movement and Ai would slice her throat open. Was this it? Was the leader going to kill her now? Though Risa was very afraid right now and could barely breath, she kept her eyes on the leader all the time, not showing her fear too much.

Ai stared darkly in Risa's eyes, like she truly wanted to kill the other woman, but then Risa saw a change: The pain was back in the leader's eyes and she seemed a bit... sorrowful? Risa wasn't sure what it was, but as the leader's gaze softened, her sword got lower and lower, till it hit the ground. Risa stayed still, as she stared back at the leader. They stood there for a moment when suddenly, Ai swayed and almost fell. Risa gasped and ran to her, her fear suddenly forgotten. But the leader only hissed in anger as the bean got closer.

“Don't you dare to come any closer....”

Risa sighed and shook her head, as she got closer, disobeying the leader's command.

“You need help....”

She said as she tried to approach and help Ai up, but the leader fought back.

“No! Don't touch me!”

Risa crouched and took Ai's arm, the older woman struggling all the time. But now, all the practicing, sleepless nights and this fight, had strained the leader's power away and she was too tired to even raise her sword. Even though the leader was no threat now, Risa was all the time very aware, for she knew Ai could still be dangerous. She led the tired samurai to the fence and sat her down, Ai trying to wave her away all the time.

“You need to rest....”

“No I don't... Get out of here and leave me alone!”

Ai hissed and tried to get up, but every time she fell down, which caused her to growl. Damn, she was in a bad condition...
Risa bit her lip a bit. She really wanted to leave this rude samurai here and wait that someone else could come and help her, but she could not. Something in her denied her to leave Ai in here like that. She got closer and examined the leader, who had now closed her eyes and tried to catch her breath. She was thin and she looked much older than what she probably was. Risa estimated that she was about the same age she was, year or so younger or older. She could see small scars around her neck and face, some even continuing under the armor. Sighing a bit, Risa tried to get closer to Ai once again and place her hand on the other woman's shoulder.

“Hey, I know you don't like me, but at least let me help you..”

Her voice snapped Ai back on earth and she raised her head up, a furious expression on her face.

“I don't need your help! Get out of here!”

Risa shook her head, but didn't falter back. Ai could not get up and she could barely move her limbs so there was no real threat right now.

“Just be quiet and let me help you damn it....”

Risa placed her hand on Ai's shoulder, which Ai immediately tried to dodge once again.

“Don't touch me!!!”

The leader raged and tried to hit Risa with her head, managing to caught Risa by surprise. Her forehead hit the younger girl's nose hard and made her fall on her butt. Immediately Risa brought her hands up to her nose, which started to bleed. Again, anger rose in her and Risa got on her knees as she faced Ai letting her hands fall down from her nose. She could live with the bleeding now and in truth, she did not care much. All her focus was in that woman sitting in front of her who had awoken the anger inside her once agaon.

“Damn with you! I am just  trying to help!”

“I don't need your help!”

“I don't care if you need it or not, but damn it stop being so rude and stop hurting others around you! You're not the only one in here with problems and anguish!

Ai growled and glared at Risa.

“You know nothing about me or my problems! You probably doesn't even know what pain is. Go back to your place to cry to your mom about your problems, you wimp.”

Again, she was deeply hurting her. Risa stared the woman in disbelief as she balled her fists. Always, when Ai talked about her mother or family in the way she did, Risa got even more furious. She got also very sad, which probably was the reason she could not control her rage so well. It felt like her heart was stabbed again and again, the wounds in there being teared open just when they were about to recover.

“You....”

She whispered, as the leader kept on staring at her like she was a peace of crap.

“You... How dare you to talk like that...”

Ai just snorted, not breaking the eye contact with the bean.

“What, going to cry because your mom is not here to comfort you when the people and world show it's true sides. And you even dare to call yourself a warrior, you....

“My mother is dead....”

Risa whispered angrily, causing Ai to stop her talking immediately. As the younger girl raised her head, Ai could see her own face mirrored on Risa's face. She had pain, the exact same pain in her eyes, as the leader had when ever she saw her reflection. The pain, which would always be there, which would always keep one dark piece in her heart conquered and never vanish away. Risa had some tears falling down now and she was sure Ai was going to mock her again, but the leader was speechless. She just could not utter a word. It was like that night again, like she was watching herself...

“For you to know, oh your highness, I can never ever again feel my mother comforting me, though I wanted to...”

Risa didn't know why she opened like this, but she had had enough. She could take rude words which concerned herself, but if someone talked about her family in that way, it was too much, for it was still a very sensitive subject for her.

“And so are my father and younger sister. I saw them dead and watched as my mother passed away from my hands... I watched as the place I had grown up and lived for my whole life, the place which I loved more than anything, to get destroyed because of some damn war... I fucking moved on and luckily got some people around me who made me forget, but you....”

Risa hissed the last part as she tried to swallow her tears, which were now running freely down on her cheeks, mixing with the blood which was still dripping down from her nose, and made small moist and dark spots on the ground.

“You always bring me back those memories and though I tried to be polite towards you and help you.... You fucking bastard just keep on making my pain worse and hurt others, though we just try to help you over your own pain!!!”

Risa yelled and hit the fence beside her with her fist. The fence shook and caused the table nearby it to shake too and the piece of paper on it landed to the ground in front of Risa. Both women stared at the picture that had flown down. The realization sunk in Ai, while Risa in turn could not believe what she saw. It was the drawing of her family that was always kept on their wall. It was the only picture of her family ever drawn and Risa was sure it had been destroyed during the attack. But there it was in front of her. It was a bit burned and the colors were not so bright anymore, but you could still see clearly who were in the picture.

Risa reached out to the paper with shaking hands and almost dropped it, when she took it. She examined the picture with a sad smile and touched the person's in it with her fingertips, as if trying to touch them once again. When Risa looked up, she found Ai staring at her with wide eyes and mouth a bit open. Now the leader knew why the girl in that picture had seen so familiar. It was a picture of Risa and her family, the family which was... Memories of the village and the burned people came back into Ai's mind and at the same time, her own memories flashed in her mind too. She had the same past as this girl had, at least partially and what had she done? Of course, she didn't know Risa's past and what all kind of horrible things she had experienced, but it was still not a reason to act like she had. No one, no one had reminded Ai of her own past or talked about it. They had respected her pain and all she had done was to swell in her self pity, while Risa had fought on. She had tried to live with her pain and act like it never happened. She had also tried to get along with Ai, though the leader had just made the pain worse inside her heart. That girl indeed was a strong one, but now Ai had indeed ticked her off.

'Oh fuck... What have I...'

The two warriors stared at each others, Risa crying and Ai staring blankly at the younger girl. Suddenly, Risa snapped back on the earth. She watched Ai once more, shook her head a bit, got up and left the training area and the now very stunned leader behind. She ran, she ran as fast as she could, like she had done that night, when all she had loved in her life was taken away from her.

--------------------------------------

“I can't believe that we all forgot these equipment at the same time...”

Eri claimed as the three friends with their forgotten equipment traveled back to the training area.

“Yeah. But the most weird thing is that Sayu had forgotten something! Heck, you keep everything all the time in great order and never forget anything.”

Reina said a bit teasingly, causing Sayu to just roll her eyes.

“Hey, no one is perfect. Even genius do mistakes....”

“Genius do, you don't....”

“Okay you two, stop there!”

Eri laughed as they reached the front door of the training area. They were just about to step in, when the door suddenly burst open, making all the three girls falter back. Risa emerged from the building, stopping to face the trio. Everyone gasped when they saw her condition, the tear strained eyes and a bleeding nose.

“Risa!”

“What hap...”

But Risa didn't listen, she just kept on running. All the three stayed stunned for a while, before Eri got into the action, her leader senses kicking in.

“I'll go after her, go check the insides. Hurry!!"

And with that, the turtle sprinted after her friend, while Reina and Sayu went inside obeying their sub leader's command. They examined every room and when they came to the training area, they were met by a strange scene in front of them.

Ai was sitting against the fence, staring ahead with an empty glance. Reina and Sayu watched each other worriedly and then rushed to their leader. Ai didn't react at all as her subordinates came closer and even put their hands on her shoulder. She just stared blankly ahead, like she was hypnotized or something.

“Ai.”

Reina called softly, which finally got the leader to do something. She glanced the person's around her slowly and stared them with a painful expression. Then, out of nowhere, she started to cry uncontrollably, burying her face in her hands. Both her subordinates watched their leader helpless as she cried like there was no tomorrow, for they were just too shocked to do anything. It was like five years ago when Ai had broken down and changed totally. Then, Reina could hear Ai mumble something; she was apologizing again, like she had done that night back then.

'What the hell happened here...'

Both Reina and Sayu thought, as they stayed with their broken leader having no idea, what they could do. The crying died out slowly and soon the leader was just weeping very quietly, her back twitching up occasionally. Then out of nowhere, Ai started to fall on her side and finally Sayu and Reina snapped out of their thoughts. Reina moved so that she could catch her leader and Sayu was immediately on her side, shaking Ai by her shoulder and trying to call her out. But the leader could not hear them. She was so tried that her body finally gave out and she could not stay awake anymore. Her breathing was quite fast and her face was very white.

"Ai! Wake up! Ai! Can you hear me??!!"

After trying to wake her up and not succeeding, Reina scooped the leader in her arms. As Ai was resting on Reina's shoulder, Sayu felt her forehead. Damn she was burning! When the bunny's hands traveled to Ai's neck, she started immediately hit Reina's back so that the younger warrior would understand to start running or at least move forwards somehow, for Sayu had no clear thoughts how she could get what she wanted. She was just too panicked right now.

"She's not breathing! Hurry!! Get her to the nurse's place!!"

----------------------------------------

Here you go  8) This came out a bit different than I had planned, but nah... Who cared  XD

I hope you enjoyed this and if you have time please leave a comment or something~
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
Post by: kuro_808 on February 22, 2013, 09:13:25 PM
Risa finally took on  a strained Ai and escaped with remorse on ai's side but Ai is taking it quite personally, must be a sign of weakness in her armor
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
Post by: darkacex99 on February 23, 2013, 03:46:17 AM
oh mi gawd new update XD , risa duked it out wit a tried ai, man ai is beastly to b able to fight in such a bad condition

poor risa :cry: she had enough of trying to b nice, ai crossed the thin fine line this time  :smhid   

oh man awesome chapter  O0 :peace: i am eager to know wat happens next, thnx for sticking wit ur fanfic  :thumbup AND im glad u survived ur training, now u can do da survival dance  :yossi:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
Post by: rndmnwierd on February 23, 2013, 08:27:30 AM
 :shocked Breaking point! Oh god, now what?! :panic:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
Post by: alwaysYou on February 24, 2013, 08:40:36 AM
Things are getting more and more interesting.
I wonder will gaki still try to change aichan.
I think it's a good thing that aichan break down, like finally.
Is this the turning point for aichan and both aigaki relationship?
Looking forward to the next chp.   :twothumbs
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
Post by: MsSmigge on February 25, 2013, 08:45:25 PM
Kurosawa87: Something's cracking there, that I can tell for sure  8)

darkacex99: Yes, I am indeed doing a victory dance! XD it's always a one kind of a victory when I survive my training in here, lol.

rndmnweird: You will find out soon~

AlwaysYou: Hey there and  :welcome here!! About that Aigaki.... Nah, I am just going to shut up XD But yeah, Ai's breakdown is going to have some consequences~

There is going to be few fast updates again (probably). I have to study some things and though I am going to have my "vegetable shift" (Yes, I made a great name for that shift, for it suits it so well....) in few days again and I am trapped inside four walls for a week, I am not going to spend all my time on computer (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH, yeah right.).

Anyways, thank you everyone for your interest again!  :wub:

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 16 – Please, give me strength to go through this all


Risa ran as fast as she could. She had headed towards a small forest which was near the training area, for there was too many people in the town right now. She could not run among people while she looked like this. Risa wanted to be alone, she didn't want anyone else near her now. All memories rolled still in her mind and all those rude words Ai had said to her were gnawing her brain so much that Risa was sure she was going insane. Ai had hurt her, hurt deeply and though Risa had seen how the leader was as shocked as she had been when the picture had landed between them, she could never forgive her. Never. The pain in her chest was just so damn tearing with all the memories, making her wounds deeper every moment.

“Risa!”

Eri's voice was heard from behind and Risa cursed. Damn, she hadn't been able to get her friend lost. She just knew that someone would go after her, for she would have done the same if she saw one of her friends in this condition as she was now. Despite Eri called Risa over and over again, the older girl just kept on running. She had nothing else in her mind than getting away form all this pain and bad things and running seemed to be the only escape right now.

“Risa! Stop!”

Now the other warrior's voice could be heard much closer. Risa had totally forgotten that Eri was the fastest in this team and could outrun anyone. Risa kept on running, for she didn't want to stop, but soon Eri reached her and forced the other girl to stop. She grabbed her shoulder and for a while she ran beside the bean, till she pulled with a force and made the older one to stop or at least slow down.

“Risa! For God's sake, stop!”

But Risa didn't want to listen, she just tried to punch Eri away, but the younger girl got a better hold of her friend and in the end took her down by sweeping her legs from under her, causing the bean to fall on her back. Risa tried to struggle and get back up, but Eri pinned her down immediately. She used her body weight to keep the struggling girl down as she straddled Risa's waist and held her arms above her head. She rooted her legs in the ground so that no mater how much Risa would squirm or lift her hip upwards, Eri would keep her down.

“LET ME GO!”

Risa screamed, now a bit hysterically, but Eri didn't loosen up. She held Risa tightly, watching, as her friend struggled to get free. It hurt to see her like this but there was no other choice. Something had shocked the bean totally and if she just kept on running wildly around and no one would dissolve this, the consequences would be very bad. Eri had seen what had happened to Ai and she didn't want to lose another friend like that. She had to calm Risa down and talk to her.

“Let me go! Damn it, LET ME GO!!”

Eri kept her position and finally, Risa started to calm down as her powers were slowly drained. She just laid there crying loudly, her face now dirtied in blood and tears. Eri watched her friend with pain in her own eyes, for she didn't like to see others suffer and especially, not her friends.

“Risa..”

Eri called the girl gently, causing Risa to calm a bit more. She was still crying, but she didn't try to get away anymore. This caused Eri to loosen up her hold a bit and she dragged Risa into a sitting position. Immediately she wrapped her arms protectively around her friend, who kept on sobbing, this time leaning on Eri's shoulder. The younger girl caressed her friends back gently and pressed her head against Risa's. She felt how the bean gripped her coat, as if she was trying to get hold of something, but could not reach it.

“It's okay. I am here, Risa...”

Eri whispered quietly, as she patted the older girl's head. This calmed Risa a bit more and soon, her hands dropped down in her lap. Eri sighed deeply and pulled away a bit, so she could see Risa's face. She looked horrible, with all the crying and bleeding nose. Risa didn't look up when Eri examined her face. Her head hung, making her long hair cover almost her whole face. Then out of nowhere, Eri pressed two fingers just beneath Risa's nose, causing her to raise her head up and watch what the heck the other one was doing. Eri just smiled a bit and soon, Risa could feel something travel inside her nose, erasing all the pain she was feeling right now. After a moment, Eri pulled away and wiped the blood away from Risa's face with her sleeve. The bean felt her nose with her hand and for her surprise noticed how the bleeding had ended. How did Eri do that?

“Some basic magic, which all the warriors are taught. It can only end small bleeding, but it's better than nothing.”

Eri explained, smiling sadly at her friend, who was still a bit lost. Not only because Eri had just healed her, but also because what happened earlier. Risa was calm now, but she wasn't very stable yet, for everything still repeated in her mind over and over again. Thanks to Eri, Risa had somehow gotten control of herself and was not jumping around anymore.

Eri sighed again and patted Risa's shoulder, when she noticed something in her friends hand. Very carefully, Eri pried Risa's fist open but the older girl shut it immediately and pulled away. However, Eri had seen what was in Risa's hand and she gasped in shock.

“Oh my... You... You found the picture?”

Risa didn't answer, she just clutched the paper against her chest like she was trying to protect it. Why was this picture here? Why didn't anyone tell about this? Why hadn't Eri told her about this?
Eri scratched her head a bit as she tried to think what to say. Risa probably took this situation in a wrong way, for Eri had nothing against it that Risa saw the picture. It was just that, she wanted to protect her friend. The picture would probably kick some memories on move in the bean's head and the turtle was sure that it had something to do with Risa's state right now, it just had to.

“Risa...”

“Why didn't you tell me?”

Risa's sudden question surprised Eri a bit, for she thought Risa didn't want to speak at all right now. The warrior shook her head a bit and sighed once again. She really hoped that she would convince her friend in this.

“I didn't want you to see it, because I thought it would bring some memories back to you.”

She kept a pause and noticed, how Risa had turned her head a bit towards her. She was listening what her friend was talking and that was a good sign.

“I immediately recognized you from that picture and I also saw your hometown. You must have had rough in there and you recovered so well when you came here, that I didn't want to ruin that. I was so afraid that something bad would happen to you if you saw it before you were fully recovered....”

Eri said sadly, looking away from her friend. Risa stayed quiet and waited if Eri continued on. It was true that the picture indeed had brought back some nasty memories but it wasn't the only reason now. The peace of paper had just flown in her sight in the wrong time at the wrong place. If Ai had not hurt her so much before she saw the picture, Risa would have probably been a lot more calmer than she was now.

“It's not just the picture...”

Risa whispered, causing Eri to Raise her brow in surprise.

“It was.... It was Ai...”

A shiver ran down Risa's spine as she said that name. Lord, how she hated that woman right now. Even saying that name now felt like poison and Risa tried her best to vanish the leader's face away from her head. Eri's eyes widened as she heard her friends words. Had Ai done something? Had she... As Eri counted one plus one in her head, she realized what might have happened.

“Oh my, Risa did she hurt you??!!”

Eri was very alarmed now. She had no idea that Ai had been in the training area when Risa had been in there and lord knows what had happened between those two when Risa was in this condition. Eri only hoped that nothing bad had happened to Ai, for she too was probably in a quite bad state right now, at least mentally.The older girl nodded her head a bit and sniffed once.

“She was there, and I tried to help, for she was in a very weak condition. She refused and we ended up dueling...”

"WHAT?”

Eri exclaimed, startling Risa a bit. Had she really dueled with Ai? All kind of things rushed through Eri's mind, but she didn't start to rant about them, for she was sure there was more to come and she needed to hear it.

“Yes. Well, I lost, but then something got in her. I tried to help again, for she almost collapsed and when I tried to examine her, she hit me with her head. That's why my nose was bleeding.”

Risa had calmed a lot now, for Eri's presence gave her a safe feeling. No one would hurt her now and she would be okay with her. It was like she had someone nearby her, protecting her from all the bad things.

“She said something rude things to me again and.... and insulted me and my family. Then the picture flew from somewhere and... Well, here we are.”

Risa finished. By now, Eri had a very deep frown on her face. Why had Ai acted like that? Last time their leader had been violent towards other than enemy had been when she was wasted. It was also that time, when Ai lost her father and sister, but now, nothing like that happened. She was sober, for Eri knew the trainers had put up very strict rules with alcohol and such. Also, Eri didn't know anything what would have ticked Ai off like that.

“You said she was in a bad condition?”

“Yeah... It was like she was overtired or something. Her coordination was very bad...”

Gears moved in Eri's head as she tried to think. Then it hit her; Ai must have been training too much again and neglect all kind of rest. Eri had heard from somewhere, that if a person was awake for 24 hours, it would equal with one per mil drunkenness and it would not surprise her at all, if her leader had not slept in one week at all. Ai was just too work holist when she truly wanted something. She would not give in and she would even made some huge sacrifices so that she could get what she wanted. Too bad, she had decided to give her health and gain in turn something Eri knew she didn't truly want.

'It must be that...'

All the warrior's knew, that Ai had had problems with sleeping and resting, for she was haunted every night by her nightmares. The poor warrior trained a lot, for she wanted her revenge and could not sleep because of her traumas. It was not a very good combination.
And what came to the violence, though Ai was rude and cold, Eri knew she could never ever hurt her friends. Never.

'The old Ai would never do something like that...'

“Hey, feel any better yet?”

Eri asked carefully, trying to make eye contact with Risa. The older girl nodded a bit, though she didn't feel much better. If Eri hadn't been here, she would still be in that hysteric state.

With that, Eri got up and helped Risa on her feet as well. She knew the other warrior was not okay, but they could not stay here. She needed to get Risa to rest somewhere and she needed to see Ai. Of course Risa needed some attention too now, but the turtle just had a very bad feeling of what was going on. But first, she would make sure that Risa would end up to the nurse's place and get LinLin to be with her.

“Come on. Let's get you to LinLin's place.”

Risa nodded and started to walk with Eri, who supported her all the time by wrapping her arm around the other girl's waist. The pictures still flew in Risa's mind as they walked to the nurse's place. It felt like that day when her village had been attacked. She was alone and no one was there for her. She felt cold and like she was in a dark place without anyone with her. The only thing that reminded her of where she was, was Eri's protective arm around her waist and her calming and gentle words.

The sub leader kept musing things in her head as they walked on. She had really feared this, but she wasn't only worried about Risa. Her leader and friend was probably in a bad condition too and Eri truly hoped, her friends could help her somehow.

------------------------------

The next day, Risa stayed in her bed and didn't leave her room at all. She felt a lot better than yesterday, thanks to her friends, but she was still processing things in her head. She had kept the drawing in her hand all the time, examining it from time to time and smiling sadly, as she saw her family's happy faces. Oh, how she wished she could see them for real one day...
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and someone entered the room.

“Sorry, can I come in?”

It was Er and she was carrying something in her arms, which seemed to be food. The turtle had stayed at the nurse's place, for she really wanted to make sure that Risa would be okay. She had gotten permission from Goto, for there weren't any bigger conflicts going on right now. Eri had taken care, that Risa would eat properly and get rest. She knew how people liked to act in this kind of situations and knew, that it would make everything only worse. If people stayed in good condition and had people nearby them, they would recover faster.
Eri sat the tray she was carrying on a nearby table and sat down on the edge of Risa's bed.

“How are you?”

She asked smiling, causing Risa to smile a bit too.

“Quite fine thanks...”

Risa answered, fingering the picture in her hands. Eri turned her gaze towards the picture and thought for a while, before she opened her mouth. She was moving now in a dangerous water and one wrong word would make Risa's recover harder. She had to be very careful whit this now.

“How old are you in that picture?”

Risa's hands froze immediately and Eri cursed in her mind. Maybe it was not so good idea to ask about the picture yet, while Risa was still in this condition...

“I was.... I was about 13...”

The sub leader watched her friend with a surprised expression as she heard the bean's whisper. She had truly waited that Risa would shut up and not talk a word about her family, but she did. It was a good sign and that made Eri smile even wider.

“You look still quite the same. Okay, you have gotten more mature, but I think you still have a bit child face.”

Risa looked at Eri with a frown, but when she saw that angel smile, her frown changed into a warm smile in no time. Damn that girl and her smile. No matter how down or angry Risa would be, Eri's smile was always something that made her melt.

“Yeah, so I have been told. I wish, I looked a bit more mature, for everyone thinks that I am a much younger than I truly am...”

“Well how old are you then?”

Risa was a bit surprised by the question but answered after a small pause.

“I am 18.”

“EH? Really? You're the same age as me?”

“Yeah... What did you thought then?”

Eri scratched her head a bit and smiled nervously.

“Ano... I thought you were like 14 or 15....”

“WHAT? No way!”

“Hey, you really look that young!”

Risa huffed a bit and turned her head away, causing Eri to chuckle.

“See, this is exactly what I mean....”

The turtle chuckled a bit more, till she calmed down and smiled at her friend.

“Yeah I see, but if I should judge you by your nature, I would say you're much older.”

“Well if I had to judge you by your nature, I would say that you're around 10 years old.”

“HEY!”

Now it was the bean's turn to chuckle at her friend. But in truth, Eri was sometimes like a little kid and especially when she was with Reina. Eri in turn pouted now and huffed. In her opinion, she was very mature person and not a child. But soon, The turtle's pout turned into a warm smile. Risa noticed this and watched her friend with a questioning look.

“What now?”

“You're laughing and smiling again.”

Risa raised an eyebrow when she realized herself what had just happened. Though she had smiled at Eri earlier it was more like a painful and forced smile. This was a whole different thing now and that made Risa feel good. It always felt so great to get over hard things and though she was not over of this incident yet, she knew she would be soon, thanks to Eri.

“Yeah, I guess so... But it's all thanks to you, Eri.”

She smiled at the turtle, who smiled back at her. Indeed, if Eri had not been in here, Risa would still be very depressed and dwell in self-pity or something. She was truly lucky to have Eri in here with her.

“That's why friends are. But if you'll excuse me now, I have to go check our leader now.”

When hearing what Eri said, Risa's smile dropped immediately. Her bad mood was back when she just thought about Ai and Eri could see this. The turtle sighed and placed a hand on Risa's shoulder.

“Hey, I know how you must feel right now and I know you're angry and all, but...”

Eri sighed again as she turned her gaze to meet whit Risa's. The older girl had quite angry face right now and Eri thought her next words carefully. Her friend got angry just by hearing Ai's name, so she had to think how to explain this, without Risa exploding to her.

“This might sound stupid now, but please, don't be mad at Ai. She really doesn't deserve this all...”

“And I am supposed to de....”

“No. No one is.”

Eri interrupted Risa, before she could yell anything she would later regret. The sub leader placed both her hands on Risa's shoulders and looked deeply in her eyes.

“This is not the real Ai we used to know. She's not doing this on purpose.”

Risa didn't say a word. She just turned her head down and glared the bed sheets. She really didn't want to understand what Eri talked right now and she wanted to be mad at Ai. But Eri knew Ai better and if that woman truly had something good in her, Eri would not be defending her like this. Though Risa was very angry and she was sure she would hate Ai for the rest of her life, she was also surprised how she was able to think this thing on other side. What if Eri indeed was right? What if Ai truly was a whole different person than what she was now?

“And also remember what I said to your earlier.”

Her friends words made Risa to lift her head up and face the younger girl who was smiling again, but this time, her smile was a bit sad.

“Ai is out there. She is there, inside her own walls. We just have to find a way to break those walls and let the true Ai free. Remember that. Now, get some rest.”

With that, Eri leaned a bit forward and gave Risa a tight hug. When they parted, Eri patted her friends head a bit and smiled. After Risa had smiled shortly at her and shown that everything was okay, the turtle got up and left the room, giving Risa one last smile at the door before closing it behind her.

Risa sat silent for a long while, before she turned to watch what Eri had brought to her. A smile lit immediately on her face as she noticed the meal. It had rice and all kind of vegetables, which were chopped in some kind of animal figure. There were a bunny, a cat and a turtle, which caused Risa to chuckle a bit. That Aho kame had spend her time in this, so she would make her friend feel better. Well, it had worked and this was rather cute in Risa's opinion. There was also one animal, or at least Risa thought it was an animal, which she did not immediately recognize. As she picked up the carrot, which the animal was made of, a monkey popped in her mind for some reason. Yes, this could be a monkey. It had round ears, a long tail and human like hands. Now that Risa examined the vegetable animals, she had to admit that Eri was quite skilled with these. She had done a lot of small details, like eyes and toes for the animals and they were very well done.

Taking the food, Risa watched outside from a window. For it was fall now, the evenings got darker earlier and Risa could all ready see some stars in the sky, though it was only early noon. As she chewed her food she kept thinking all the words Eri had said to her. She had wowed she would not forgive Ai, but now that she had calmed down and heard her friend, Risa thought this situation again. Reason one for this was, that she really didn't want to hate anyone. The reason two was the fact, that everyone was saying Ai was not her true self, for she had pulled a mask in front of her true being and that she shouldn't be judged by her actions. Of course, no one just accepted all she had done but they just knew, that the leader did not do this all on purpose. It was like she was possessed by something and she just could not control herself and that made her do all kind of things she would never do in reality.

'Could it really be, that you're hiding something under that mask? Something, that everyone around you have loved and still love, for they keep on telling how you should not be blamed? Could it be....'

-----------------------------------------

Eri entered a house, which had a very dim lighting. There were all kind of training stuff around the house and it seemed like the person living in here didn't keep her things in order. All the curtains were closed and only some small light rays got through them.

'This is almost as bad as my room...'

Eri thought as she hopped over some armor, which laid on the ground. She went to strais, but before she could take a step, someone came in her view in the end of them.

“Who's there?”

“It's just me, Eri.”

“Oh, hi. Come up.”

Eri went to her friend, who had some kind of rag in her hands.

“What's that for?”

“Ai has a fever...”

Reina answered and waved Eri to follow after her. They entered a small room, which didn't have much furniture or other things inside, just one single table, a bed and a chair. Sayu was sitting beside the bed and watched the person laying in it. She turned around and smiled a bit, as she saw Reina and Eri. Reina went to Ai and put the cool texture on her leader's forehead. Ai frowned a bit, but didn't open her eyes. All her subordinates watched her with concern in their eyes. They had feared something like this would happen, for Ai would never rest enough and kept training too much. She would also never listen to what others said to her and even if she did, her past kept on haunting her, preventing the needed sleep. Her current mental state did not help the situation at all and now the leader had came to the point where she had totally collapsed, because of all this stress and her tormenting past.

The reason Ai was in her own home instead of the nurse's place was that when Sayu and Reina had ran outside from the training area, they had almost immediately met LinLin. The nurse had had a patient in the town and it was their luck that she was also close to Ai's home. They had decided to bring her here where the nurse could treat her better. Luckily it had not been anything very serious, for they got help so soon and Ai's breathing had gotten back to normal very soon after LinLin had treated her a bit. The leader had a very high fever and her body and mind was a mess but she would survive, if she rested enough.

“How was she?”

Eri whispered as Sayu and Reina changed some dark glances.

“It was like I had watched that evening again....”

Reina answered, while Sayu just nodded her head in approval. Indeed, it had had very same kind of aspects as that night, when the Ai they knew was lost.

“Do you know what really happened there?”

Sayu asked quietly, turning to Eri. The turtle told what Risa had told to her. Reina and Sayu both stayed quiet and said nothing. They felt sorry for both their friends, for something like this had happened and they were extremely worried about their both's condition.

Suddenly, a groan was heard and when the trio turned to watch, they could see their leader toss her head, like she was in pain or tormented by something. Immediately Sayu turned to her leader and tried to somehow keep her in one place. Ai calmed down a bit, but she was still very restless though Sayu was holding her hand.

“No.... No, don't go...”

This was also like they had watched some evenings again. When they had “lost” Ai, she had been dragged in bed then too and she had been the same as she was now.

“No... Please.. No... Forgive me...”

Eri could not just watch this and she went beside her leader, kneeling down and taking Ai's other hand in hers. Immediately, the leader held the hand tightly, like she tried to take some support from. She kept tossing around and Eri held her hand not letting go. Finally, Ai calmed down. She had some sweat on her forehead and she was panting a bit. Eri let go of her hand and swept Ai's moist bangs away from her forehead, which was burning. When she got up, Ai whined again quietly. Her voice was weak and hoarse, for she had cried so much. It sounded more like a dying animal than a brave and strong warrior.

“I am sorry... So sorry... Eri.. Father...”

All the three looked down to floor. They wanted to help their friend but they all were very helpless right now. They could just watch this scene, which they had already seen and experienced, repeat itself. It was painful for all of them, but they could only imagine, what kind of pain Ai was feeling right now.

---------------------------------

That night, Risa spent quite a long time watching the sky, which had a lot of stars showing tonight. She was tired and wanted to rest, but for some reason, she had a feeling that she wanted to watch the stars for a while. It was quite chilly, but she had wrapped a blanket around herself, so she would not freeze when she would stand by the window. She had been doing this now for at least 2 hours and decided that this would be enough for this evening. Just when she was about to leave the window a bright shooting star flew through the sky. It was very fast and disappeared soon, but Risa had had time to see it properly.

'Nagareboshi... Aren't you supposed to make a wish when you see one?'

Risa gazed at the sky once more and closed her eyes. She put her hands together and wished. No, she more likely prayed. She opened her eyes and for some reason, her hand started to reach out to the sky, like she tried to catch the star she had just seen.

At the same time, another person saw the flying star too. She was in her bed, which was half occupied by a black haired woman, who had fallen asleep in her chair and was using the bed as a pillow now. The woman laying in the bed had woken up some time ago and was now gazing out of the window. She felt dizzy and empty, but somehow she managed to stay awake, just when the flying star flew through the sky.

Ai kept her eyes open the best she could and reached her shaking hand towards the window. She felt how tears started to burn her cheeks once again as she made her prayer.

That night, two wishes were sent with the flying star, as two woman prayed for a better tomorrow. Tomorrow, where they could finally live without pain and sorrow and where their tormenting past would finally leave them alone.

'Please, give me strength to go through this all...'

----------------------------------------

There you go~ For some reason I was very confused (once again...) when I reread this. I should keep my thoughts more simple when I am planning some things, dammit.

Anyways, hopefully you enjoyed this chapter and see you all next time!  :cow:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
Post by: kuro_808 on February 25, 2013, 09:50:16 PM
Luckily eri came in time to save her from hurting herself further, I do wonder if the rift will even be fully healed and Ai in that situation cannot help but to feel helpless
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
Post by: darkacex99 on February 26, 2013, 02:32:55 AM
wow this story juss keeps gettin better and better, i am also glad that eri immediately went to help risa and calm her down she is such a good friend  :cathappy: risa wuz funna go cray cray XD

poor ai is like...trapped in her head and bad memories Dx wow....i am eager to see what happens next XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
Post by: rndmnwierd on February 26, 2013, 03:19:11 AM
Now, I think maybe things can get better. Right? Please? :cry:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
Post by: alwaysYou on February 27, 2013, 02:27:20 AM
You can't just shut up :( hahaha

Poor aigaki. Gakisan should be fine soon, love her strong character. And with the help of her friends, she will soon be cheerful again rite?
As for aichan, will this shut her up more. It's time for her to let go  :(
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 17/ 02/03
Post by: MsSmigge on March 02, 2013, 08:26:19 AM
kurosawa87: Well, lets say that nothing will heal very quickly after this kind of events.

darkacex99: Eri is a caretaker~ She's like the mother of the whole group.

rndmnwierd: What will happen next doesn't have many happy moments... But there's always some light at the end of tunnel~

alwaysYou: Oh yes I can! XD It's much more fun to keep people in dark than tell them everything beforehand~


Hi again guys and once again, thank you everyone so much for your comments! :kneelbow:

The next chapter, here we go~



Chapter 17 – She realized, her battlefield was somewhere else



After what happened between Ai and Risa, both were ordered to rest by their general. They were mentally unstable right now, so they were no help on the battlefield. Risa recovered quite quickly, again, thanks to her friends. Eri visited her everyday and Reina and Sayu went to the nurse's place whenever they had time. Just seeing those three made Risa smile and feel a lot better. Of course, her past haunted her more than earlier, but it didn't bother her daily life as much as someone would have thought. In three days, she was happily walking with her friends in the town, chatting all kind of things like the whole incident never happened.

But Ai was another story. The leader's fever lasted at least for one week and even after that, she was in very weak condition. She didn't want to eat, move away from her bed or talk to anyone. The leader just laid still and stared in space, like she was hypnotized or something. Everyone were very worried of her wellbeing, for nothing like this had never happened to Ai before. When she had changed five years ago, she had had this same kind of thing, but it had lasted only one day. Maybe 5 years lack of sleeping, mad training and haunting past finally caught the strong but at the same time, very fragile leader. Even Risa was a bit worried of the warrior. She didn't still like Ai and was hurt of what she had said to her, but she was a human in the end. She had wished all kind of bad things to happen to Ai and once, she even wished she would die in the battle but later, she had regretted all those thoughts. No one should never ever wish something like that, no matter how much you hated someone. Also, Ai was her friends friend and many people loved her. The leader's suffering affected her friends too and Risa didn't want to see them sad. She would help them to get the leader in better condition as well as she could. It would be hard, but she would do it for her friends sake. Though Eri and the others did not show it, the bean was sure that the leader's condition bothered the team all the time.

Then, an announcement came: The battle front was once again threatened and that meant of course, that the army had to go defend their home once again. Families were saying good byes to their warrior, who was about to leave for the battle. Some knew, this would be the last time they would ever see their loved one and some prayed, they would meet again.

This time, Risa was wearing a samurai armor too. It was dark green with a black helmet. She had three swords on her waist, two long and one shorter. It felt quite odd to wear this costume and it was kind of heavy too, but luckily, she had had very good training to this all and now, the armor felt like she was just wearing some normal clothes on her.

As Risa got prepared, someone approached her with a horse. When Risa turned around, she saw no one else but the king's over polite counselor, dragging a night black stallion behind her.

“Hi there Gaki-san.”

JunJun greeted and stopped with the horse, which at first seemed very nervous but somehow calmed down immediately it got closer to Risa.

“Hi.”

Risa nodded back. JunJun smiled and gave the reins in her hands to Risa, who took them hesitating.

“Here, you may have Fuego, for you're the only one who knows how to handle it. Believe me, it's a lot easier to go in your first mission with a horse. I got to go now, I have work to do. Please, be safe.”

With that, JunJun patted Risa's shoulder quickly and left the animal and the girl alone. Risa stared after Junjun a bit confused, but turned her attention soon towards the horse, which was watching her with curious eyes. Smiling, Risa scratched the animal's forehead, causing it to lower it. The night blackt stallion wagged it's tail lazily and it did not react to anything around it. It was just sternly enjoying the attention she got from Risa, who was still scratching it's forehead.

“I'm not sure if this is your first time, but I bet you have more experience about these things than I do. Please, take care of me there...”

Risa didn't know why she was talking like this to a horse, but her father had once said, that these animals were incredibly wise and could sometimes understand people very well. Like answering, Fuego pressed her head against Risa's body and stayed there, causing the bean to smile a bit.

“Eh? Why is Fuego with you?”

Turning around, Risa found Eri riding towards her with a brown horse. She was wearing her whole armor, with helmet and all. When she got closer to Risa, she moved her face mask out of the way so the bean could see a deep frown on her friend's face as she stopped beside her.

“I will go with him.”

Risa answered, causing Eri to look her in awe.

“Fuego? You know how stubborn that horse is? Really, no one has never gotten it out of this village after one battle.”

Risa watched the animal, which seemed to be now sleeping against her, and patted it gently.

“Well, I think he has had just a wrong kind of rider...”

By now, Eri had noticed how calm the stallion was. Usually it was jumping up and down all the time and would only cause problem. Now, it was calmly leaning against Risa and no one could even doubt that this animal was a true fire soul in truth. Suddenly, a smile crept on Eri's face as she watched the girl and horse beside her.

“It must be because of you.”

“Huh?”

Eri rode a bit closer, still smiling.

“I think your gentle being affects everyone around you, even animals. Fuego probably sense's it and that's why it's so calm. He knows, you can be trusted.”

Risa watched her friend with a frown, before she turned back to the sleeping animal.

'One to be trusted...'

“Get ready to leave!”

The generals voice boomed through the area, causing all the warriors to get in their own places. Risa patted Fuego once, causing it to wake up. The bean mounted and immediately she felt how the stallion got some extra energy out of nowhere. It tossed it's head up and down and even took few steps, but immediately when Risa leaned a bit backwards and relaxed, the horse stayed still.

"Easy there, boy...." 

“Risa.”

Raising her head up, the bean was met by her turtle friend's serious face. But no matter how serious Eri tried to be, she had all the time some kind of a kind being radiating from her.

“Be safe.”

Risa was silent for a while, before she nodded her head, smiling a bit at her friend

“Un. You too.”

They took their positions, Eri riding in front of the Team Alfa now, for Ai was not taking part in this battle. Risa found herself being placed behind the captain's troops. She was the only one riding a horse in this group besides Miki. Fuego got some energy when it sensed what was going to happen, but Risa kept a firm, but not too strong hold of the reins, keeping the animal calm. It moved forward vigorously, but it would do nothing Risa hand't ordered it to do. As the gates opened, Risa could see the outside world for the first time in a long while. Of course, she had seen it behind the village walls, but it always felt different to be outside fromt he village. It seemed like any other place, but as she looked in the horizon, she could see how smoke raised from far away, telling where the battle was being fought. She looked around her, watching the expressions of all warriors. No one showed any fear and they were walking on bravely, not afraid to die. And so, Risa turned her head forwards placing the same kind of expression on her face. She would not be afraid. She would do this and fight.

--------------------------------------------

Screaming, explosions, fire, smoke, death warriors. That was all Risa could see in front of her, as the troops were hiding in the safe of forest. They would not show their whole army immediately, so the enemy would not know their number. They had to give an image, that they had a lot more soldiers, than there in reality was. Also, if they sent all their troops into attack, they would not win much. They had also have some kind of tactics.

Suddenly, the captains hand rose, which caused all the soldiers to get ready. Then quietly, very quietly, they started to approach their enemy in the woods, trying to get to their side. Both Risa and Miki were crouching a bit, for they were on horse back, which made them be a bit higher than other warriors. After approaching at least for half a hour, the captain stopped her army and pointed forwards. They had succeeded, they were now in the side of the enemy. With few hand signals, Miki made her troops move forward, but they were still moving very slowly, for they were too far away from the enemy and if they now gave out their location, they would lose the element of surprise. Warrior's indeed had to have very good nerves, for they had to fear for their life all the time and at the same time, they had to think all kind of tactical things. If Risa had been leading this right now, she would be very stressed and tired by now, but the captain seemed like this was something she did everyday. She didn't show any kind of tiredness, fear or uncertainty. She was calm and all her actions made Risa feel more safe, for she knew that no matter what happened, she would have a leader who would take care of things.

After another half an hour of approaching, the group had finally reached their goal. They were at the edge of the small forest and their enemy's troops were about 20 meters away from them now. Risa could recognize a very familiar looking armors fighting against the ones who had same kind of armor as she was wearing. Immediately, she remembered the day when she was attacked by the enemy and save by the Team Alfa.
 
Risa watched the scene in front of her; A warrior hit down it's enemy, but was immediately killed by another one. This scene played a lot on the battlefield, till something else caught Risa's attention.

Three horses, followed by a small group of soldiers on foot, ran out of nowhere and attacked the enemy from other side. Risa could recognize those three riders immediately, for they were her dear friends.
But Risa did not have much time to watch after her friends, because suddenly, Miki's hand rose again and this time, her signal made the deadly silence among this group vanish. Everyone let out a battle cry and started to run towards their enemy, Miki being in the front, keeping her sword pointed up upwards, ready to hit anyone who dared to come in her way.

Risa did the same and encouraged Fuego to move forwards. The horse did as asked and soon Risa was galloping forwards with her sword pointed upwards. But what happened next, changed the whole situation on her part. A soldier, who had ran in front of her was shot down by an arrow. He was hit in chest and stomach an as he fell, he rolled a bit on the ground till he stayed still. There could only be heard some quiet wheezing as the warrior tried to ask help and breath. Soon, one warrior ran beside him and tried to help. But nothing was to be done. The fallen warrior's arms fell to the ground and his head relaxed with his whole body, indicating that he was not alive anymore. The warrior who had came to help just closed his eyes and but his arms in cross above his chest. Then, the warrior who had came to help bowed quickly and continued the attack, leaving the dead man lay still.

Risa of course saw this and suddenly, she got very unpleasant feeling. She pulled the reins, causing Fuego to stop, as she watched the scene in front of her. The enemy ahead of her seemed suddenly very scary and impossible to beat. Also, the fire running free around her and other dead bodies made all kind of pictures fly in her head again. She was not in the battlefront anymore, she was in her village. Burning village, which soldiers destroyed and everyone was killed around her.

'No...'

Risa gripped her head, as Fuego danced nervously under her. She tried to get those images away from her head, but could not. She was surrounded by flames and people were dying all around her, people from her land, killed by the enemy. Soon, the death ones changed into her friends and family which made the pain in her head feel even worse.

Just when Risa was about to truly get insane, something dragged her back from the depths of her mind. She felt like falling and instinctively, she tried to grab something, getting a grip of Fuego's hair. The stallion had jumped on it's back feet, for it had seen an arrow shooting towards them. Risa was back on earth immediately, as she tried to figure out what had just happened. The enemy troops were retreating bit by bit and so did Miki's troops and the rest of the army. As Risa did nothing, Fuego decided to take the lead now. It started to follow the troops in to the forest, moving her rider to a safer place.

As they got in the woods, Miki took her group in order and checked everyone. Many were saved but some were lost forever, which the captain just took calmly. She had to show that she was okay and cool all the time, though inside she was torn every time as she heard how many had fallen. Every single name on the death list was too much and it affected her a lot. But she had to be strong and not show fear or sorrow, or she would spread it in her men and it would lead to nothing.

“We are going to stay here for a while.”

“But captain, they are retreating. Why don't we go after?”

Miki rode towards the soldier who had spoken and gave her a spyglass.

“Look, where they are retreating.”

The warrior did as ordered, but saw nothing but a hill where the enemy was running. She stared at his captain with confusion, but Miki just suggested her to look again.
This time a gasp escaped the warrior's mouth. On the hill and maybe behind it too, were soldiers, covered under all kind of plants and grass, which made them almost impossible to notice. There were a lot of them, at least one hundred and behind the hill was probably more. If they had followed the enemy, they would have run to an ambush.

“I have once fallen to that trick and that almost cost my and my whole group's life...”

With that, the captain went to give orders to the rest and deliver a message to the other group. Risa repeated all these things in her head and tried to calm down. She had barely seen the enemy and she had already frozen. Luckily, she had had Fuego, or she would have been as good as dead.

“Niigaki.”

The captains voice snapped Risa back on earth, causing her to turn her face towards the older woman.

“Everything alright?”

“No.”

Risa answered immediately. She was not okay, she didn't want to be here, she wanted to go home.

“It's the fighting stress.”

Miki said calmly and rode beside Risa, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“It will go away with a time and it's very normal in the first battle. You stay in here and take care of the wounded ones and guard this place. You're no use on the battlefield now, so we use your other skills right now.”

With a firm pat, Miki rode away to her other soldiers. Risa was a bit sad but at the same time very relieved. Sad, because she had been given a chance to take part in this fight and someone even trusted her, but all she had done was to freeze. Relieved, for she really was no use on the battle field right now. She was better in here, were she could help others. She didn't belong on the field, for her battles were to be fought in somewhere else.

-----------------------------------------

To Risa's fortune, this battle was not as big as the earlier ones and lasted only a bit over one week. Apparently the bad guys were planning something, or then they just didn't have enough men to send in battles. Risa had heard a rumor, that the leader of Heng clan would kill mercilessly all who made mistakes or stood against her. Also, if you irritated her enough, you would end up death, though you had done nothing wrong and were a very good warrior. That woman was indeed insane.

As they rode back to the Castle, the gates already in view, Risa thought everything that had happened in that one week. She had helped the wounded ones and guarded the area when others had rested, as she was ordered to. She had not killed anyone, which she thanked God, for she really was not ready for this thing yet. But Miki had explained that Risa had so little experience and she had also a lot of traumas, so it was no wonder she didn't succeed well in her first battle. But the captain had assured her, that it was okay and she would only get better by practicing. Risa in turn was a bit against this thing now. She wanted to fight, but she knew her place was not in the battlefield. She would be more help here in the Castle, where she could help with wounded warriors and take care of messaging and such. It would also release one of the leaders, who was always watching over the safety of the Castle. True, Risa was not a leader, but she could learn to be. Maybe she could suggest something like this...

Finally, the big gates in front of them opened and all the people who were able to, ran to meet the warriors. Again, tears of joy and sorrow were changed, as Risa rode through the people. She went straight to the stables and gave Fuego something to drink. The stallion had indeed taken care of her, for it had saved her when she had frozen on the battlefield. It had also been a good help at night, for it could hear the enemy easily. One surprise attack was prevented thanks to Fuego, when it got alarmed by the sneaking enemy. Risa had noticed the horse's nervous state and immediately got a message forwards, that something was not right. And indeed, there had been an enemy group trying to sneak in their camping area. By Fuego's actions, Risa alarmed help and they made a surprise attack for the enemy. They had pretend that everyone was sleeping, but once the enemy had been close enough, they had attacked from the shadows mercilessly, not saving any life. They could not, for the enemy had gotten information from them and it would be a bad thing to let them go back. It was cruel, but war was just like that.
Repeating this all in her head, Risa patted the stallion, which tossed it's head happily up and down, pleased for the girl's attention.

“Thank you boy.”

Risa whispered and kissed the horse's nose gently. Then, she could hear another horse approaching and soon, her dear friends came into view.
Immediately, the three women landed and went to their friend, hugging her tightly.

“Thank God, you're okay....”

Eri whispered.

“Same to you...”

Risa chuckled back. They had feared for each others on the field and being in different groups made the situation even worse. But they had survived and were alive, that being the most important thing now. Risa pulled away from her friends, but once again, one of them kept holding tightly on her.

“Umm... Reina, you can let go now.”

The kitten raised her head and smiled mischievously at the bean.

“But I don't wan to...”

Eri and Sayu just chukcled at this and just when Risa was about to scold her friend and order her to let go, she felt how Reina's arms let go of her. The next thing she saw was how the kitten was on the ground in a sitting position and glaring behind Risa.

Suddenly a loud neigh was heard and fuego was jumping up and down, causing all but Risa to back away. It took a moment, before the bean realized what had happened. She burst into laughter, the horse beside her joining in. The trio in front of them stared them with fear in their eyes, as the girl and horse kept on laughing.

“Damn animal...”

Reina muttered as she got up.

“You better not do that in front of Fuego. He seems to be very fond of me, nee?”

Risa cooed to the horse, which immediately calmed down as she went closer to pat it. Seeing the animal now calm, Reina approached it a bit, but when she went too close to Risa, the black stallion started to toss it's head and tried to poke Reina with his head again. Risa had tied it very loosely on a fence which allowed the stallion to move around quite much. The kitten jumped away and didn't go any closer anymore. She knew what kind of horse Fuego was and she really couldn't handle him. Also, she didn't want to get poked by the stallion's head again.
Meanwhile, Eri and Sayu found the scene in front of them very amusing and they were laughing like there was no tomorrow, gaining a glare from Reina.

“Haa haa, very funny... “

Reina muttered, causing Risa to chuckle as well.

“Now I know how I get rid of you, when you get too clingy. I just have to take Fuego everywhere with me.”

“You don't even feel sorry for me?”

Reina whined, while Risa just tilted her head to the side and watched her friend like she didn't understand what she meant.

“Feel sorry for what?”

“Your horse just poked me with it's head and made me fall down!”

“But you truly deserved that and it didn't even hurt, now did it?"

“What? You're defending the horse?”

“What, of course.”

“Oh, please come on...”

Reina took few steps closer and immediately, the black animal started to protect Risa. It came forwards, which caused Reina to halt and back away.

“Easy now, easy.... I didn't mean to do anything...”

She said nervously as she backed away. Then she heard some giggling from behind her and found Eri and Sayu laughing at her. The kitten started briskly walk towards her laughing friends and when they noticed that, both started to run away.

“Oh no you don't!!!”

Reina yelled and started to chase her friends. Risa just watched after them with amusement and started to take Fuego's equipment away and treat the horse, while Reina was giving the certain bunny and turtle a lesson.

------------------------------------

After everything was taken care of, horses and equipment treated and orders taken from the general, the four friends headed to Ai's place. Though Risa said it would be okay, if she was left behind, her friends had insisted that she should come too. She didn't have to meet Ai at all, for the bean could just stay downstairs and spent her time there. Finally Risa had agreed and now they were at the leader's front door. They went inside, the place being cleaned now, for Sayu could not stand the disorder in here. She had with Reina's help put things in order, while Eri took care of Ai. The turtle was not very fond of cleaning, so she offered to watch after her leader's condition, while Reina and Sayu cleaned.

Ai's apartment was not very big, but it had enough room for one person. She had all kind of war things and equipment on the wall and the whole house reminded Risa more of a warehouse than someone's home. The curtains which were still closed, made the place even more darker and even a bit creepy.

Eri went immediately upstairs while the others stayed down. They went to a small table in the living room and sat down on the cushions around it, waiting quietly for Eri to return. Soon, the turtle came down with a dry rug in her hands. She went outside and Risa figured out, that the turtle went to moisten the texture. After that she went back upstairs to treat her leader.

“How... How has she been?”

Risa asked quietly, turning to Reina and Sayu. In truth, she could care less, but she asked for she knew how important this was to her friends.

“She has calmed down a lot and the fever is almost gone too. It gets up and down all the time and it really drains her energy. We hope it will stay down now and wont get up again.”

Sayu said and Reina continued after her.

“She wakes up at nights to cry and scream, for she has those hallucinations and bad dreams. It's partially the fever's and partially her past's fault.”

Reina added quietly, staring the table in front of her at the same time. Risa felt bad for her friends, for they really were concerned about their leader. Ai must have had rough times, because what Sayu and Reina had just told her, sounded like the leader was truly in pain right now. All the time, Risa's hate towards Ai got weaker and weaker, but she was still quite uncomfortable, when she even thought about the leader. She didn't like her at all, but she was determined to get along with her, though the leader would never accept Risa as a warrior or one of this village's people. She would do this only for her friends, nothing more.
Suddenly, there was a loud thud and all the girls were alarmed immediately. The sound continued, till they heard Eri scream.

“Come up here! HURRY!”

In no time, the trio got up and ran to the room, Sayu in front. When they entered the room, they were met by Eri sitting nervously on the chair and trying to get a hold of the leader, while Ai was tossing around in her bed so violently, that the headboard hit the wall behind it. She had her fingers tangled in her short hair and face covered in sweat. She kicked, like she was trying to get something away from her and occasionally, her arm flew through the air like she had tried to hit something. Sayu and Reina went immediately beside their leader and tried to call her out, but with no result. Eri had grabbed Ai's hand by now too, but that did not have any effect either. The leader was still moving like she was tortured by something.

Risa watched the whole scene from behind, feeling very bad for Ai and especially for her friends. At first, the image of seeing how the warrior was tortured made her feel like she finally got her punishment from all the wrong things she had done, but very quickly, the bean vanished those thoughts as she watched how serious this situation was right now. She really had thought that this leader was made of iron and would never ever get wounded by anything else than enemy's sword. But now, the leader was suffering, though she had not been in a battle for weeks. She had pains deep inside her soul which were torturing her, for no one had never taken care of them.

'You're lucky to have Ai's subordinates nearby you.'

The captain's words echoed in her head once again. When she had had her wounds after the tragedy of her own, she had had someone to sew them closed. She had had Eri and the others, helping her to get back on her feet again and move forwards. Ai in turn had gotten a knife in her wounds, which were made even bigger and they had never healed. Now, they were teared open once again, causing pain to her and her friends.

“Ai, please wake up!”

“Ai, it's okay, we're here. Ai, it's okay...”

“Please Ai, wake up...”

Risa saw the desperate look in her friends eyes and it hurt her deep inside. Now she realized that Ai truly must have had something good under that ice mask, for her friends look right now told her, that they were very concerned. Then she noticed something in Eri's eyes. It glistened a bit in the moonlight which peeked inside the room from outside.

'She's crying....'

Then, her promise came back into her mind and Risa decided to do something. She had had enough of this pain and all suffering around her and she wanted it to end. Right now. The bean walked beside the bed, pushing her friends gently away from her way. She caused some confused looks from them, but Risa didn't care, she would do this.
Gently, she pried one of Ai's hands away from her head and took it in her own. Gosh, she had a cold hand! But Risa kept holding it and gently called the leader.

“Ai.”

It hurt to say the leader's name but somehow, Risa managed to do this. She had to, because it was too late to back up now. For everyone surprise, the leader calmed down a bit. She was listening to Risa now, though she kept still tossing around. Summoning all her willpower, Risa held the hand a bit tighter and called the leader again. In no time, uncomfortable feeling rose in her mind again, but the bean pushed it away firmly.

“Ai, please wake up.”

Suddenly, the leader stopped moving. She was breathing heavily, but her legs stopped kicking and her other hand dropped down from her head. Everyone was stunned by the scene in front of them, but they didn't get to wonder it for a long time.

Out of nowhere, the leader jumped into a sitting position, crying something out and facing Risa. All the three jumped back, but Risa could not, for Ai was using her hand as a lever. The bean gasped and raised her other hand up for protection, as the leader brought her face closer. Her eyes were red from all the crying and the dark circles were under her eyes once again. But instead of looking scary or threatening, Ai looked more like wounded and sorrowful. Risa frowned as she looked deep in those chocolate eyes, seeing the pain in them now very clearly. She forgot how she probably should get away, for Ai's free hand was up and balled in a fist, ready to punch someone. But the look in her eyes... Gosh, Risa had never ever seen such pain in her life.

It was silent for a long while, before the leader made a face and it seemed like she was about to hit Risa. Her subordinates moved forward immediately, but Risa stopped them by holding her hand up. She had no idea what she was doing, but for some reason she didn't want the others to inter in this. Something was going to happen soon, she could see it but it was not something everyone was expecting.

The hand, that Ai had raised waved in the air, like the woman did not know what do with it. Then it found it way towards Risa's face, but it approached slowly and on the way, Ai opened her fist, the hand now moving towards Risa palm open. Risa didn't falter back and just followed what the hand did. It landed on her cheek and caressed it gently. Ai's hand was cold and rough, but somehow Risa did not have a feeling to swap it away. They stayed like this, the leader staring deep in Risa's eyes and the bean doing the same to Ai. Then out of nowhere, Ai broke down. She felt forwards, her head landing in Risa's lap while her hands still stayed on Risa's cheek and other hand. Rough fingertips caressed Risa's cheek, but it did not hurt at all. Also, the pressure in her other hand was very gentle, though Ai was in unsteady state and could not control her body very well. She had some uncontrollable twitches, but not once did Risa feel pain in her face or hand.

'She could never ever hurt anyone....'

Her friends words repeated in her head, as the bean looked at the weeping warrior in her lap. Ai probably had recognized her and Risa knew the older woman did not like her and had tried to hurt her earlier. But now, she was just gently caressing her cheek and keeping a tight, but at the same time very gentle hold of her hand.

Nothing happened in a while, as the leader cried in Risa's lap, her friends watching the scene from behind. What they just saw was something which made them totally freeze. Yes, Ai had broken down few times before, but they had never seen her in this bad condition. The pain she was feeling right now radiated from her and even the people around could see and feel it. But what surprised them even more was how the leader acted towards the bean. They had been so sure that Risa would soon have a black eye, but something had stopped the leader from harming her.

'Could she... Could she recognize Risa?'

Eri thought as she watched the weeping leader, who had still her upper body in the bean's lap.
After a while,Risa took her free hand and very slowly and gently patted the leader's back, where she could feel some bones. Ai had lost weight a lot, for she hadn't wanted to eat at all. As Risa caressed Ai's back the leader calmed down a bit and after a while, all the person's in the room could hear her speak between the sobs.

“I am... sorry.. So sorry... Please forgive me.... Please.... Please....”

As the hoarse and very weak voice kept on apologizing, Risa closed her eyes and kept on stroking the older woman's back, leaning her head a bit on the hand on her cheek. Sober or not, Ai had apologized, though Risa was not sure if it was for her. However, this was something new from the leader and it made Risa change her thinking towards Ai again. She closed her eyes and let her head fall down as a very hard but at the same time somehow very relieving decision was made.

'I'll forgive you, but please... Forgive me as well...'

Risa said in her mind as she kept on holding Ai. At the same time, she felt something burn her own eyes and soon, something wet traveled down her cheeks and Eri and the others could see small moist spots on their leader's back, as tears fell on it. Outside, where the evening had come, a shooting star flew through the sky, flashing quickly and then fading away.

----------------------------------------------

Okay, I know that spyglass was not invented yet during that time but lets just play that it was. Also, you will come to notice that I like stars... Lol XD

Anyways, hopefully you enjoyed this chapter!!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 17/ 02/03
Post by: kuro_808 on March 02, 2013, 08:34:46 AM
This is an alternate version of history so it doesn't matter too much at the moment :lol:

Risa took on a mission and succeeded with a stubborn horse.  Ai is still in a weakened state but the battle is when she finally face Risa with a clear, healthy mindset
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 17/ 02/03
Post by: darkacex99 on March 03, 2013, 02:41:45 AM
oh snap!!!! risa got to go in the field for the first time O0 omg reina and the horse was wayy too funny :rofl: a horse and kitty fighting for risa's attention

oh lord ai is a huge mess :bleed eyes: at least she apologized to risa, thanks for another awesome chapter :thumbup
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 17/ 02/03
Post by: rndmnwierd on March 04, 2013, 08:50:24 PM
As expected, Risa's first time in the field is hard. I hope she will get better and fast!

Ai-chan~! Snap out of it! We need you back too!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 18/ 07/03
Post by: MsSmigge on March 07, 2013, 03:13:08 PM
Kurosawa87: I know it is, but it always bothers me if I write something "against true history".... XD


darkacex99: Animals which are very devoted to something/someone are hilarious~  :lol:

 
rndmnwierd: What if I don't make her do that?  :twisted:


Thank you everyone for your interest and comments~
I am off to some training again in few days, so I decided to update this chapter a bit earlier than I had planned to.

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 18 – She wasn't sure about her feelings anymore


That night, Risa spent at Ai's place. The older woman seemed to calm down for some reason, when Risa was holding her hand. Every time she moved away, Ai would start tossing around and only a hand in her own, calmed the leader down. All the girls decided to stay, for they could not leave Risa alone with this and also, they wanted to help too. They took turns, everyone keeping an eye over their leader. There had to be someone all the time beside the Ai, or she would not sleep at all. They did not know if she slept well even if someone was holding her hand, but at least she was not moving around as wildly.

It was almost morning and it was Risa's turn to watch after Ai now. The leader had a lot more peaceful expression now and it seemed, she finally got those nightmares away. Risa watched outside, where the morning sun was raising slowly, making everything with the colorful leaves seem like in a dream. Sighing a bit, Risa turned her head back towards Ai. She had thought a lot of things during this night. Even, when it had not been her turn to stay awake, the bean could not have fallen asleep, because she had kept on thinking all the things that happened earlier. They just could not leave her mind, though she tried to think all kind of other things.

Small creak was heard and Risa spun around to find Reina entering the room. They smiled at each others as the younger girl came to check her leader. A bit sad smile crept on her lips as she noticed her leader finally sleeping without pain. Though it seemed Ai was quite okay now, the kitten knew that she still had a lot of pain she would have to endure.

“Yokatta... Any bad dreams?”

Risa shook her head, smiling at her friend. Ai indeed had slept like a baby, not moving an inch. Only when the hand disappeared from hers, the leader would start to squirm almost immediately.

“It's my turn, you can go to sleep.”

Reina said, as she gently pried Risa's fingers away from Ai's and put her hand in there instead. Even the small loss of contact made the samurai in bed twitch a bit, but she calmed as soon as Reina gave a gentle squeeze to her hand.

“Thanks, but I think I wont get any sleep tonight...”

“Too many thoughts in your mind?”

Risa could only nod and smile at Reina. The Team Alfa knew the relationship between their friend and leader and now, that everything had turned around, Risa must have had a lot to think.
Reina placed a hand on Risa's shoulder and smiled at her.

“Go get some rest. You will solve things better if you have had a good sleep well.”

Again, Risa just nodded. She got up and watched the two woman for the last time before she went downstairs, where Eri and Sayu were sleeping soundly together, leaning on each other as they were on a couch. Risa chuckled a bit and went to put a blanket over them. They were just too cute together.
After that, she sat on a pillow on the floor and in a while found herself on her back, staring at the ceiling. Thinks were still running in her head, but the tiredness got Risa this time and slowly, she drifted to sleep. But even in her dreams, the past evenings kept on appearing. The most odd thing however was, that no matter what dream Risa was having, Ai was always there and even if the bean could not see her, she somehow felt her presence or just knew that the other warrior was nearby. The last thing she remembered before waking up, was Ai's stern face staring straight into her eyes, but there had not been any pain or hatred in her look. She had just came closer and closer, her face only inches away from Risa's and then...

The bean jumped up in panic, hitting her head with Eri when doing that. She was sent immediately back down, some flashbacks from the nurse's place returning in her mind.

"Ow..."

Eri's whining was heard nearby as the turtle tried to ease the pain in her head.

"Eri... what on earth were you doing?"

Risa growled as she held her head between her hands.

"You were mumbling something and I wanted to listen what you said... That's why I leaned over you in order to hear better your mumbling, ouch..."

Suddenly, the bean remembered her last dream and as she but two and two together in her head, she suddenly jumped up and stared the whining turtle in front of her.

"What did I say Eri?"

"I don't know... That's why I leaned closer to listen..."

Satisfied, that she had not said anything improper, Risa sighed in relief and fell backwards on the pillows. But quite soon, a frown appeared on her face as she recalled all the dreams she had seen last night. Why did they all had included Ai? Why was she in her mind all the time? And what the heck was the last dream she had seen?

Weird....

--------------------------------------------

Ai was ordered to bed rest and would not take part in training for at least for one week. She was moved to Lin Lin's place, for it was easier to watch her there and also, the nurse got something to do. She had already treated all the wounded ones, but they did not need 24/7 attention from her, so the nurse had enough time to watch after Ai too. Risa was a bit unsure of this for she was not very comfortable yet, if the leader was so close to her. But she recalled the evening in her head again and again, remembering, how Ai had acted. If she wanted to help her friends, she should let go of those bad memories she had with Ai and focus on getting the leader in better condition. Risa had no idea what living under the same roof with Ai would bring with it, but at least she got Lin Lin with her in this. The nurse was so good with people that she would help if Risa and Ai would start fighting again.

Risa was walking in the town, doing some shopping for Lin Lin, for she had to stay and watch after Ai. She could now sleep without someone holding her hand, but from time to time, she would have those nightmares and the only way to stop them was to be with her. Also, Lin Lin had said that some examination was needed to do after what had happened to Ai. This was just in case, cause the nurse knew that sometimes after this kind of fit, there could be something even worse to come. That's why she wanted to check Ai and make sure that nothing like this would happen, cause the sooner she found something alarming, the better she could prevent it.

Just when Risa was about to enter a shop, someone tapped her shoulder, startling her. As she spun around, she found Reina smirking at her. As she looked more around, Risa could notice Eri and Sayu nearby, holding hands and waving at her.

“We thought you would want to spent some quality time with us.”

Reina said, offering her hand to Risa. Chuckling, Risa punched Reina gently, causing the younger one to frown.

“I have shopping to do, so if you could wait a bit. This is my last shop and this wont take very long.”

Reina's pout disappeared and was replaced with a smile as she heard Risa's words. With a nod, she let the bean go and waited outside the shop as Risa took care of her chores. When she emerged from the shop, she was immediately greeted by Reina's arm, which was offered to her.

“Shall we then?”

The warrior smirked at her playfully, while Risa just laughed, taking the arm.

“You're silly.”

They walked back to Sayu and Eri, who were now cuddling and kissing with each others. They all had their casual clothes, the black pants and coats with their sword belt around their waist. Risa carried only one, while the other girls carried two.

“Hey, get a room!”

Reina said waving her hand, as they got to the cuddling love birds. Eri got a bit panicked, while Sayu just proudly hugged her tighter against her.

“Oh, no we wont.”

The bunny laughed as she continued kissing Eri, causing her to stop prying and just enjoy the attention she got from Sayu.
Reina huffed a bit and suddenly, took Risa in her arms, surprising the older one totally.

“Then we will start to cuddle up too, ne, Risa?”

Once again, Reina got a hit in her ribs from the bean. This time however, the punch was a bit harder than normally, for Risa was very surprised and foremost, embarrassed by Reina's words an action.

“N-no! We wont...”

Her cheeks were like tomatoes, as she pried away from the kitten's hold. Eri just chuckled at the scene, but Sayu was frowning. She watched Reina with a weird look on her face, as if she didn't understand at all what the kitten had done a while ago.

“Well... Well how about we just hold our hands then?”

Reina suggested, which Risa answered only with a huff as she started to walk away briskly. Eri pried herself off from Sayu and ran after Risa. When she reached her, she spun around and yelled at the two younger girl's left behind.

“Come on you two! Lets go!”

Both Sayu and Reina stayed where they were, as Risa and Eri kept on walking away. After their friends were enough far away, both turned their faces towards each others, Sayu having the same expression as she had had all the time, while Reina watched her with a blank face.

'Why did you do that... Aren't you supposed to...'

Sayu thought as she tried to understand what had just happened a while ago.

'I don't know what has gotten into me... Maybe, maybe I just trying to forget...'

Reina thought, as she straightened her back and started to walk after her friends, Sayu following after her. As they walked on, they soon reached Eri and Risa, who were chatting happily about something.
Reina's look wandered at the two girls walking in front of her, her expression still blank. After a moment though, her eyes locked to on one of them and it stayed there. The kitten was not able to look away, though she tried few times.

'Maybe I am just trying to forget, but I think I am not doing it very well...'

----------------------------------------------------

“So, there's this festival coming!”

Eri explained enthusiastically to her friends, who were now sitting in Risa's room at the nurse's place. Lin Lin was also with them, for Risa had asked her to join. She thought that the nurse did not see other people too often outside her work, so it would be refreshing for her too to have some free time. Also, she did not have any patients now and Ai was asleep in the next room, so she did not need so close "guarding" at the moment.

“What kind of festival?”

“The red leaf festival! Don't you know it?”

Risa shook her head slowly, causing everyone else but Lin Lin to gasp in shock. Didn't they have it in that village? It was the biggest and also probably, the best known festival in this land!

“Oh my, you have missed a lot...”

Reina said in shock, as Eri and Sayu just nodded in approval.

“Well, what kind of festival is it then?”

“It's a festival of love!”

Eri exclaimed, causing Reina and Sayu to sigh deeply and roll their eyes.

“Hey! But it is!”

“No Eri, for the hundredth time, it's not a festival of love...”

“Then what is it then?”

Sayu just shook her head and hugged her girlfriend beside her. It seemed that Risa was not the only one who had missed this festival in her life...

“It's a festival of harvesting and when we welcome winter in here. It's also the time, when almost all the tree's leaves have turned red. That's where the name comes.”

“I really thought it was a festival of love...”

Eri pouted, which caused Sayu and the others to chuckle. The bunny pulled Eri a bit closer and gave a gentle kiss on top of her head.

“Honey, just that we got together during that time, doesn't make it a festival of love...”

“It should be....”

Eri kept on pouting, till she was once again pulled in Sayu's lap, the younger one hugging her tightly.

“You're so aho...”

Risa chuckled at her friends, till she turned to Reina and Lin Lin.

“What do you usually do during this festival then?”

“There are all kind of things," Reina started, as she turned towards the bean. "We decorate places with red leaves and light candles, for we are beginning the most dark season.”

“Then, the king invites everyone to the Palace, where we will celebrate. They have all kind of shows, for example dancing, singing, acting and so on. And of course, we are eating well.”

Lin Lin finished. It really sounded fun to Risa and it reminded her also of her own village's festivals. They were quite the same, though with a bit different names and dates. But one thing was still bothering the bean's mind.

“But how about the war? You can't just forget that.”

“Well, as funny as it sounds, our enemy is having a festival during that time too.”

Lin Lin said and was soon followed by Sayu.

“Yeah, even Heng rests during that time. It's a very important festival for everyone in here and though Heng is cruel and all, she obeys historical things, for example festivals. She haven't attacked us in years during this time and I think she wont do it this year either.”

“But we have to be prepared all the time.”

Eri added in suddenly, gaining everyone's attention.

“That's why, we have to keep our swords with us all the time, even when it's a festival time.”

Well, that didn't surprise Risa. War was always war and they could never know anything for sure. A festival time was very good time to attack for both sides, for people were forgetting war for a while and concentrated on celebrating, lowering their guard at the same time. Risa truly hoped that Heng whatever, would stay in her own land and would not ruin this festival. It was surely a freeing experience for warriors too, to get some free time and celebrate for once.

“But we will be all celebrating with all our heart, no matter what kind of war is going on.”

Reina said smiling, everyone nodding their heads in approval.

“Yeah, we are not going to get some war ruin or love festival.”

“Eri....”

“Oh my, you're so boring!”

The turtle huffed and punched her girlfriend gently, pouting at the same time. Sayu just rolled her eyes a bit, before she cuddle up again with Eri.

“It would be much more cute, if it was a festival of love. Ne, Reina?”

A silent felt in the room after Eri's words, as everyone waited for the kitten's answer. Reina however, did not answer immediately for she was busy staring off into space. Risa watched her with waiting eyes and turned her head, examining everyone else around her. Eri was also waiting for the answer, while Lin Lin and Sayu had somehow a bit darker expression on their face, which caused Risa to frown.

“Reinaaa? Earth is calling Reina.”

Eri said waiving her hand in front of the other warrior, which finally caused her to snap back on earth.

“Huh?”

“What do you say?”

What do I say? About what?”

The kitten was like she had not listened at all and was really out of what the others were talking about.

“I asked about the festival's name. Would it be better if it was a festival of love instead of the red leaves?”

Eri asked happily, tilting her head to side a bit, waiting for her friends answer. Reina just watched Eri with wide eyes for a while, before she smiled. But it was not a happy smile. She more likely looked very sad.

“Yeah... I think... I think it would.”

Again, a silence fell in the room, not including Eri's voice saying, how even Reina agreed with her. But Sayu was not really listening to her girlfriend now, for she was frowning at Reina again, who still had that sad smile on her face. Risa could sense this too, but she was soon occupied by Eri, who asked her all kind of question about her own villages festivals and stuff. During this time, she didn't notice, how Reina turned her glance at Risa, then back to Eri and finally, she met Sayu's frowning gaze, which she answered with her own blank stare.

'You indeed are not doing very well at this....'

'I know... I know.'

-----------------------------------------------------

After a good two hours chat, the trio left the nurse's place, leaving Lin Lin and Risa alone. But soon after they had left, Lin Lin got a message that she was needed in town. This meant that Risa would stay here and look after the leader, who was still asleep. Before the nurse left, the she checked Ai and put some pills on the table beside the bed. This was in case, if Risa would face some problems with calming Ai down. However, the leader had been so calm lately, that Lin Lin dared to leave Risa alone with her. What were the changes that she would wake up and try to get on her feet just when Risa was alone in here?

“This wont take long. I'l be back in less than two hours.”

“Yup. I'll manage in here.”

“I know you do.”

Lin Lin said, smiling that knowing smile of hers, as she waved to her friend and left for her business. Silence fell in the building as Lin Lin left, calming Risa down. Sometimes it was very good thing to get her own time and just stay alone. She of course liked her friends and enjoyed spending time with them, but alone time was good from time to time.

Risa went to her room and flopped down on her bed, taking a book from a nearby table. She started to read this adventure novel she had gotten from Lin Lin and soon, she was lost in the book. It told about brave warriors and how they saved lands and their people from the evil. But it was not all war, it was also full of love and friendship moments and from time to time, some humor was added in too.

'I wish this novel would happen here too someday...'

Just, when Risa was getting in an interesting part, she heard a loud thumb from somewhere. She was immediately up, listening carefully if the sound would occur again. Did it come from outside? Was it just some bird or something like that? After listening for a while, Risa decided to go back to her book, for nothing happened, but just when she settled down, the noise was heard again. This time, Risa was sure it came from inside the building, it was so near...

'Oh no...'

Realization washed over her as she located where the sound had come. Sighing deeply, Risa put her book away and walked to the room next to hers, which was one of the resting rooms. And as she had guessed, the only other person in the building had decided to wake up and try to get out of the bed.

Risa watched quietly, as Ai was trying to find her balance on the edge of the bed, only to fall down back on the sheets, causing a loud thumb voice. The leader tried one more time and this time, she somehow managed to stay in the sitting position. Just when she was about to get up on her feet, Risa decided this was enough, for the leader clearly did not have enough power to stand on her own.

“Don't even think about getting up.”

Ai paused immediately, turning her head towards the voice. Her actions were slow and she reminded Risa of a zombie more than a warrior.
The bean walked closer, all the time minding her actions and watching how the older woman would react. When Ai just followed her with her gaze, stopping when Risa did, the younger girl decided that this warrior would stay calm. She was not one hundred percent sure, but she just had a feeling that Ai would not try anything in this condition.

“Back to bed.”

Risa said sternly, while Ai just kept on staring her. Though her hair was still quite short, it had grown so, that Risa could not see the leader's eyes very well. It was quite hard to tell, how Ai was looking at her right now. When nothing happened in a while, Risa said her command again. This time, Ai moved her head towards the table beside her, not saying a word. Risa followed and noticed the food that was left on the table. Realizing what the leader wanted, Risa took the tray and came closer the bed.

“Sit in the bed.”

Ai looked Risa for a while, before she slowly slid back, propping her back against the head board, causing the sheets around her fall down a bit. She was wearing a very loose white shirt, which seemed even more loose, for the leader was so skinny right now. She truly had lost a lot of weight in these days.
As Ai had settled down, Risa placed the tray in her lap and sat down a nearby chair.

“Eat then.”

The leader just stared at the food, till she slowly reached for the chopsticks beside the rice bowl. Her hands were shaking and when she tried to take them in her hand, they only dropped down. Ai tried again, only gaining the same result as a while ago. But she did not give up, but reached for the chopsticks again. After the third time, Risa got enough of this and took the chopsticks from the tray. Ai turned her head towards Risa like asking, “Aren't you going to let me eat?”.
But what Risa did next shocked both women; she took some rice from the bowl and held the chopsticks in front of Ai's mouth.

“Open up.”

There was a dead silence, when both occupants in the room thought what the hell the younger one was doing.
When nothing happened, Risa moved the rice a bit in front of Ai's face, causing the older woman to turn her attention back to the food.

“Open up. You can't eat by yourself.”

When nothing happened and Ai turned her head towards Risa again, the younger girl got frustrated and stood up, still holding the chopsticks in front of Ai's mouth.

“Damn it, don't make me do it with force.”

Ai stared ahead for a while and just when Risa was about to do this the hard way, she felt how a soft hand landed on her own. Ai had raised her hand up somehow and guided the sticks in her mouth, taking the food in it.
Risa was a bit stunned, but as Ai had eaten the first bite, the bean immediately realized she probably wanted some more. When she moved to take some more rice, Ai would not let her hand go, but held it firmly. This made Risa's job a bid harder, but instead of shaking the older girl away, Risa just took the rice bowl in her other hand, raising it a bit higher. This continued, till the bowl was half eaten. Ai hadn't eaten well in times and if she now wolfed to much, she would soon vomit all she had eaten.

“This is enough for this night.”

Risa said, as she put the bowl and chopsticks away, Ai still holding her hand.

“Go back to sleep. You need to rest.”

Risa said quietly and tried to get up, only being stopped by Ai's hand holding hers firmly. When she turned to look, Risa could finally see the leader's eyes, for the moonlight outside illuminated on her face and somehow, her hair had moved away from in front of her face too. She didn't have those dark circles under her eyes anymore, making them look more bright. But the pain, it was still there.
Risa felt a bit sympathy towards the leader as she sat down and helped the warrior to lie down properly. Ai did not resist, she just did ad Risa guided her to do. When she was settled down, the younger girl could see how the leader kept on staring at her. For some reason, Risa smiled at her shortly and squeezed her hand gently.

“Sleep now.”

The bean whispered. Ai blinked few times, before her eyes fell shut and she was in the dream land again. But her hold on Risa's hand did not let go.
The younger girl watched the sleeping samurai, as she thought about things. Somehow, she did not feel irritated by this warrior now, as she usually did. Maybe it was because Ai was too weak to say anything rude to her now, but that did not explain the hand holding.
Maybe Ai still needed someone beside her when she was sleeping. Holding someone's hand might have made her feel that someone was beside her all the time and that she was not alone with her nightmares.

'You're like a baby...'

Risa muttered in her thoughts as she laid her head down on the matters and closed her eyes. She didn't intend to fall asleep but she did, for it felt somehow so good to stay in here right now.

---------------------------------------------

Lin Lin came back after one hour and half, finding the house very quiet. She guessed that Risa was sleeping right now, so she did not bother to call out her friend. But she would go check everything was okay.

Lin Lin went to her friend, grabbing a blanket on her way. But instead of going straight to Risa's room, she went to the resting room. As she entered the room, Lin Lin smiled as the scene she thought would happen was in front of her; Risa was sound asleep on Ai's bed, leaning her head on the matters, while she sat on the chair. Ai was also asleep, a peaceful expression on her face. They were still holding each others hands and it seemed like they would not let go anytime soon.

The nurse smiled and walked beside Risa, putting the blanket on her which caused the girl to stir in her sleep and snuggle closer to the warm sheets.
Before she left, Lin Lin watched the two warriors, sleeping peacefully, like there were no worries in this world.

'I knew you would manage in here on your own.'

And with that Lin Lin left the room, leaving the two sleeping beauties in their own dream land, where was no war and everything was like they had always dreamed.

--------------------------------------

This might have a lot of mistakes again, cause my throat, head and eyes are killing me an I am not thinking very clearly...

Anyways, hopefully you enjoyed this chapter!!  :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 18/ 07/03
Post by: rndmnwierd on March 07, 2013, 05:21:29 PM
Risa and Ai are getting closer, but what is up with Reina? Did I mention I like Tanagaki?

Hope you feel better!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 18/ 07/03
Post by: kuro_808 on March 07, 2013, 05:36:58 PM
^ Pretty much what I was thinking :lol:

Reina was trying to get Risa but got ribbed.  Ai and Risa are slowly warming up to each other while Sayu and Eri are playfully raburabu-ing each other

Although the festival would be a nice setting for Ai to come out to :nervous
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 18/ 07/03
Post by: darkacex99 on March 07, 2013, 09:24:47 PM
wow risa and ai have some peace between them for the moment, i wonder wat happens next

and wat da heck is going on wit reina and sayu :? is there sumthin dat reina is not allowed to do?


thanks for another update mssmigge and i hope u survive ur training again  :grin: then u can dance :yossi:  XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 19/ 14/03
Post by: MsSmigge on March 14, 2013, 07:35:47 PM
rndmnweird: No, you have never mentioned how you like TanaGaki... XD And thanks, I felt better for few days, but now my whole body is killing me...

kurosawa87: Lets see what I will make them do when it's time for festival~  ;)

darkacex99: Weeelll.... It's not like she is not allowed to do something. You will find out soon what is going on ;) And I indeed would do my victory dance, but I am way too tired to do it now XD


Hi again everyone and thank you once again for your comments and interest!! I really appreciate it =)

I really should be sleeping right now (This week, I have slept about 10 hours, thanks to my training...), but I can't go to sleep yet because I have something to do in few hours and if I go to bed now... I will never get up XD

So once again, endure all the mistakes I have done in this chapter XD
Here we go~


Chapter 19 – She was like a whole new person


“What now?”

An annoyed voice of Heng was heard in the big hall which scared all the servants around, causing them to hide in shadows. Heng was walking through the hall, three women following behind her. When she reached her chair, the leader sat down heavily, glaring all the three in front of her. She wasn't very happy, for she had not heard anything new or useful from the battlefield and on top of all this, her subordinates were asking for her to take a break from the battle! This was ridiculous.

“Master, really. You don't have to keep on going all the time. You're just tiring our troops and...”

“We should have the strongest warriors in her which can go nonstop till I order them to stop.," Heng spat suddenly, as she interrupted the woman in front of her.

"Also, we have a lot more men than Kibo has, so we can just use the ones who haven't seen the battlefield yet.”

All the three women watched each others quietly. It seemed no one hadn't wanted to deliver the bad news to their leader.

“Master, there just is not enough men," One of them spoke very carefully, a bit afraid of how her master would react to this. "Everyone is tired and they want to rest....”

This time, Heng banged her hand on the arm rest and stood up furiously.This indeed was what they had feared...

“Everyone wants to rest! I want to rest too, but I can't do that before I have gotten what I want! My men have vowed to follow my orders till the very end and so, they are going to do in the future, too!”

She yelled, causing the big hall to echo. One of the women stepped closer and it seemed like she was not afraid of this crazy woman. She walked beside her, placing a hand on her shoulder, which Heng only glared, but did not say a word.

“My dear sister. I know, you want to get that land under your control and so does everyone else in here. But, if we keep going on like this, we just end up burning our men out and then we are a way too easy target to hit away.”

Surprisingly, Heng was listening what her sister was telling to her. Usually, she would immediately yell and call everyone around her stupid and coward, but maybe it was that it was her sister talking now. She was almost as valuable as she was and she could listen to her a little bit.

“What do you say," Heng's sister kept on talking with her calm voice. "if we rest during the festival time and recover our powers. Then, after all the festival fussing is behind, we attack again. But this time, we shall do it with more force than before.”

Heng turned to look at her sister, who had almost the same looks as she did. She only was a bit smaller and her face looked more friendly than hers, but she was no less evil than she was.

“But then they have rested well and they can take us easily. No, we are going to attack during the festival, when they expect it the least....”

“Sis, listen to me.”

This time, the younger woman took a hold of her sister's both shoulders and turned the leader to face her.

“It's true, that we lose the surprise if we attack after the festival. But, if we attack during it, our men wont go very far, for they are too tired. Let them rest over the festival and then, you'll have a well rested army, probably with some new members. Then, we are ready.”

Heng frowned a bit. She wanted to attack during the festival, for it was the best time to strike. Those kibo fools would probably be celebrating all the time, forgetting there was war going on. Besides, festivals were only bunch of some old and foolish traditions and it was highly offensive, if someone launched an attack during that time.
But what her sister had said was also true. She needed well rested men and they were tired now. When there was a festival time, it was almost one hundred percent certainty that Kibo would not attack. Those people would keep their festival and not fight.

'Stupid tradition keepers... This is war damn it!'

“Are you sure this is going to work?”

Her sister smiled very evilly, patting her shoulders. Now, her soft features were gone and her face was almost identical with her elder sister.

“Oh, I am sure of this. I can put some men to work over the festival and do some investigating. After the festival time is over, we have all the information we need and it's easier to strike.”

Heng thought this for a second, before she slowly nodded in approval. The enemy would be so focused on the festival, for it was so important to them and during that time, she would investigate the land more and find their weak points and all. Then, she would attack with a huge army and surprise them with her new information and refreshed army. The Kibo would get ready after the festival of course, but when they celebrated, Heng would make her men work and practice hard. They would be better prepared than Yoshizawa's samurais. Yes, this sounded good.

“Min,”

Heng said, putting her hands on her younger sister's shoulders.

“I knew I could always trust your thinking and tactics. Put the army to rest, and make some slaves do some double work if needed. Put some small groups to investigate the places in Kibo, we have no information yet. Plan our strike and this time, make one which will gain us our victory. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I do sis.”

With that, Min spun around, facing the two woman in front of her.

“Ju and Sayaka. Lets go, we have some work to do.”

----------------------------------------------

“It's quite weird we got this thing through. I would have bet that Heng-sama would not lower her weapons even during the festival time.”

Sayaka only nodded her head, as the army's general kept on ranting how they got to rest during the festival time. It was true, that their men needed some rest but it was also that they leaders needed some rest as well. The festival time was also very traditional time and they wanted to spend that, though they had a war to fight at the same time.

“It's a good thing Min is her right hand woman, or we would not get so many things so easily in...”

Again, Sayaka only nodded her head in response, but didn't say a word. They were at the stables and while Ju took care of one horse, Sayaka sat on the fence, turning something in her hands.

“It's also a good thing that Min is not as crazy as Heng is. Heck, that woman would have killed us all a long time ago, if Min hadn't been there. That leader really doesn't have any kind of tactic head, she just goes forwards with a force, till she gets what she wants....”

“Why are you following her then?”

“Huh?”

Ju looked up from behind the horse, so she could see Sayaka, who was still spinning that thing in her hands and looking like she was deep in thoughts.

“Excuse me?”

“If you think, she is not a capable leader and her sister is the one leading us, then why are you following her?”

Ju was silent for a long time, before she laughed dryly at Sayaka's words. The other woman did not respond in any way, but she stopped moving the item in her hands as she listened what Ju would say next.

“Oh, come on Sayaka! Don't take all I say so seriously. She might not be a good leader in the battle field and stuff, but I still respect her, for she finally was the one to open her eyes and tried to get kibo under her control. That land should really be vanished and put under our control.”

Again, Sayaka did not answer. Her head got a bit lower as she looked the item in her hand. It looked like a coin which had some kind of eagle wings spreading on it. It had a small hole in the middle of it, which had a black rope through it. It was some kind of necklace, which she had taken years ago from one person she had wanted to revenge, for she had betrayed her trust.

Clenching her fist shut tight, Sayaka brought it near her mouth and turned her gaze up to the darkening sky. She really hoped she would face this person someday, so they could settle all the things between them. But there was no way things would get done by talking. No, this would mean only a battle between them.

'She will never accept what I did to her. But, I wont forget her betrayal either.'


------------------


“Sumimasen!”

A voice boomed in a silent house, as the Team Alfa members entered the nurse's place. They had came to check their friends, but it seemed like the place was empty. But it couldn't be, for Ai was still resting here and she should not be left alone. So, there had to be at least two persons in this building right now.

“Is anyone out there?”

Sayu asked as she stepped inside after her friends. Reina was already walking to Risa's room, while Eri entered the resting room.

“Nothing here...”

Reina said as she came back to Sayu. They waited for Eri, but when the turtle did not return, they decided to go check what was she doing.

“What is that aho doing now...”

Sayu's words got cut immediately she opened the door and Reina was speechless as well. They saw Eri standing in the middle of the room, but it was not the main point. On the bed was their leader, sleeping peacefully and she was holding Risa's hand, who in turn was sleeping on the nearby chair, using the bed as a pillow. The trio watched this scene in front of them in disbelief. Okay, they knew Risa and Ai were not friends, but somehow this last incident made them both tolerate each others a bit more, but what was this hand holding thing now? Was their leader still having nightmares?

“Maybe.. Maybe we should wake them up...”

Eri mumbled as she moved forwards. Sayu realized what her girlfriend was about to do and immediately, she tried to stop her.

“Eri, no!”

The bunny hissed as she tried to reach Eri's hand, which was just landing on Risa's shoulder. This caused her to collide with Reina, who had followed just behind Eri, curious to see what would happen after these two would be waken up.

“Hey, watch out....”

Reina said in, but it was too late. She had been in front of Sayu and the bunny's sudden rush had caught her by surprise.

“Reina out of my, WOAH!”

Somehow Sayu got tangled in Reina's legs as she tried to move forwards and the kitten tried to dodge away from her friend's way. They both fell down, Sayu catching Eri's arm and dragging her down too. A loud thumb was heard as the trio fell, causing Risa to wake up immediately.

“HUH?”

“Oh great, now she woke up....”

Sayu mumbled as they all watched upwards where they saw Risa's shocked expression.

“mmm... Hi.”

Eri said smiling nervously, Reina copying her her, while Sayu just watched Risa with a stern look. They were piled up in front of the bean, Eri on tope of the trio, while Reina was the one kissing the floor. Sayu had somehow managed to get Reina down before her, so she ended up between her two friends.
Blinking, Risa examined this friend pile of hers on the floor, not quite catching what was going on.

“Mmm... What are you doing in here?”

Eri was the first one to get up, Reina ans Sayu following soon after her.

“Well, we just came to check you guys and then we saw you and Ai....”

The talking stopped suddenly, as Eri watched in Ai's direction with wide eyes. Everyone frowned, looking the same way Eri did and having exactly the same expression as their aho friend.
Ai had awoken too and was now sitting in the bed, looking her three subordinates and friends with a blank stare, like she had seen three ghosts in stead of friends in front of her.

“Ai....”

Eri whispered, as she slowly got closer. She made her way to the bed, climbed in and faced her leader, now straddling her legs. By now, everyone else had snapped back on the earth and realized what Eri was about to do. But no one dared to stop this, thought they had a very bad feeling what would happen next. After a moment of silence, Eri's face melted into a huge smile and she jumped forwards, hugging Ai tightly.

“Ai!!!”

Everyone were shocked as Eri hugged Ai, the leader having the same blank stare, which had now some shock mixed in it. Eri kept her hold, but soon she seemed to realize what she was doing and pulled away suddenly. She stared Ai with an apologetic gaze, for she knew how much the leader liked about physical contact. But Ai did nothing. It seemed like she didn't even breath, she just stared at Eri.
After this little dead moment Eri took Ai's hands very carefully and held them, causing the older girl to turn her gaze down. They were quiet again, till Ai raised her head up and looked Eri with a frown. Slowly, the older warrior shook her head from side to side as she kept her eyes on Eri.

“Why?”

She asked, her voice hoarse for she had not talked in a long time. She had only cried and screamed so it was no wonder, that her throat was a bit sore. Risa was sure, that soon Ai was going to yell at her subordinates or something like, “get away I don't need your help!”.
But Ai stayed silent, waiting for Eri's answer, which the turtle soon gave. She smiled gently and held Ai's hands even firmer. She was just too happy, for she knew what this meant. Ai had not said lot, but this was enough for Eri to know, that they had finally gotten something very important back. Something, that they had lost five years ago.

“Can't I give my dear friend a hug?”

And with that she was again on Ai's neck, not caring at all, if the leader wanted this or not. Though Eri knew she would not reject this. She could see in her friend's eyes the same glistening she had seen before these long five years. She was sure that Ai was returning to them.
Reina and Sayu were a bit unsure of what to do, but the leader's next action made them throw their doubts away.
Ai was stunned and didn't move for a while, but then, she slowly raised her arms and wrapped them tightly around Eri. She buried her face in her friends shoulder and held her closer, like she didn't want to let go at all. They stayed like this for a moment, until the leader raised her head and smiled a bit at the two other warriors left. She had still her arms around Eri, for she did not want to let go of her friend.

Reina and Sayu were immediately by their leader's side, hugging her as well. It was again like it had been at the beginning, four friends together again.
Risa watched this scene in front of her with amazement but at the same time, she felt very guilty. She had indeed thought that Ai would be very bad person and she had really doubted her friend's words when they had told her that Ai was a good person. She didn't know what had happened to the leader, but she was like a reborn human and not that rude and cold she had seen at first.
Suddenly, Ai started to cough quite violently, which caused her friends to pull away and watch her with concerned look.

“Ai, everything okay?”

Suddenly, a glass was brought to the leader's lips and her head was tilted back. Ai did not resist, for she had gotten used to this by now. Risa had gotten the water glass and was now giving the liquid to the leader. Ai would probably be able to drink and eat by herself already, but this thing had just grown to be a habit for them both. The trio watched the two warriors in front of them with a surprised look. What on earth was going on between these two?

When Ai had drank enough, Risa took the glass away and put it on a nearby table. When she turned back, she faced the leader who was staring at her blankly. There was another silent moment, as they stared each others, their friends waiting for something to happen.

“I think you guys got some kind of a deal already?”

Eri asked after a while, causing Risa and Ai to turn their attention to her. She was smiling like the sun at her friends, for she really thought these two had made peace with each others now.

But it was not like that. Risa and Ai had had these staring competitions quite a lot and it started every time Risa helped Ai out with something. The older woman would just start to stare at her with that blank look, which Risa could not read at all. Sometimes, she thought she had seen some kind of pain flash in Ai's eyes, but usually when that happened, the leader would turn away and start to sleep or at least pretend that.

“Oi, we got to get going now...”

Reina said suddenly, breaking the awkward silence which had once again fallen into the room. Risa thanked the kitten in her mind for she had broken the awkward silence. It was always very hard to get these staring competitions to stop  but now thanks to Eri, the two warriors had been able to escape this quite easily.

“So soon? Is there somewhere you need to be?” Risa asked as she looked at her friends who had gotten up by now and were about to leave.

“Yeah, we have to do some shopping and Eri here wants to do some festival preparing...”

Sayu said a bit bored, which caused Eri to pout.

“You know you didn't have to come with me, if this is boring in your opinion...”

“Okay now you too, let's go and let these people here rest.”

Reina interrupted her friends and pushed the turtle and bunny out of the room. But soon, she peeked back, smiling at Ai and Risa.

“And it was nice to meet you and see, that you are all right, Ai. Mata nee.”

The leader smiled a bit and nodded her head, like she had not had that staring competition with Risa at all. When Reina disappeared from the door, Risa dashed immediately after them. She wanted to say proper farewell to her friends, but she also wanted to get away from that room. Being in the same space with Ai when she was awake was just something very awkward. They could not talk to each others at all and every time their eyes met, those staring competitions would break free.

“Hey, nice that you came to visit." Risa said at the front door, as she looked after her departing friends.

“Un, it was nice to see you healthy and okay, too. Pity, you have to stay here. It would have been fun to go shopping together.”

Eri said at the door. Reina and Sayu were already a bit further away waiting for her. Eri smiled at Risa and patted her shoulder friendly.

“Take care of Ai, but foremost, take care of yourself. It's so great that you guys can stay in the same room without arguing now.”

Risa forced a smile on her face and nodded at Eri's words. Things were not quite like the turtle thought but it was better to pretend that everything was quite okay, than reveal this awkward situation where these two now were...

“See you and next time, we will all go all together to shopping. See you.”

And with that, Eri exited the house, leaving Risa alone at the door. The fake smile on her face faded away immediately after Eri had turned her back to her. Somehow, she just felt so empty and lonely right now. Of course, she was happy how their friends got their leader back, but at the same time, some kind of fear rose in Risa's mind. What if, she was left alone after these girls got their friend back? What if Ai would still not accept her? What if she was left alone again?

-----------------------------------

After Risa had watched her friends leaving, she headed back to Ai's room to check everything was okay. She took a deep breath as she approached the room. Every step she took closer was heavier than the former and all the time, an unpleasant feeling made it way up in Risa's mind. The door had somehow got closed and Risa went to open it Slowly, she moved the door away from her way, only to be scared to the dead.

“HOLY...!!!!”

Risa screamed a bit as she took a hold of the wall, when she almost fell. Ai was standing few feet away from her, taking some stance from a wall. She watched Risa with surprised eyes, for she did not intend to scare the younger one and she did not expect her to return anytime soon. They just stared at each others again, The bean trying to catch her breath. She knew Ai was awake, but she did not expect her to get up quite yet.

“Geez, I got scared...”

She huffed and turned to the older woman, who was still staring at her. By now, Risa noticed the glass in her hand which was now empty.

“You need more water?”

Risa asked, which the leader answered quietly by a nod of her head. They had not talked at all, and if they did, it was only Risa who spoke. Ai was using only her body language and sometimes, she would only make some sounds if her message was not clear by her actions. But she would not talk at all, she just couldn't...

“Go back to bed and I'll bring you some water.

Ai didn't say a word, she just stood there. Risa decided to ignore this and went to take the glass from the leader's hand. But just when she was about to leave, Ai took a hold of her arm, causing Risa to gasp a bit in surprise. Immediately, Ai let go and held her hands in air, like she was showing that she had not done anything. At the same time, she took few steps backwards, as she took some distance to Risa. Too bad, her condition was not the very best yet and she almost ended up falling down. Noticing this, Risa put the glass quickly away and went to help the warrior.

“Easy there. Lets get you back to bed.”

She said as she put her arm around the older woman's waist, causing Ai to tense immediately. Risa felt this, but she did not care. Slowly but surely, she got the leader in the bed, laying her gently down. Again, Ai was staring at her but now, she had that damn pained expression on her face again. What was the matter now?

Suddenly, the leader turned her head away, laid on her side and hid her head in the sheets. Risa was a bit stunned by this, but she decided to leave it to be once again. This was not the first time this happened and nothing serious had happened after these moments, so it would probably go as it had gone earlier. Ai would fall asleep and wake up next time when it was the dinner time. But this time as Risa got up and was about to leave the room, she heard something that did not fit with the former events. It was quiet sobbing and when she turned to look, Risa saw the leader's body shivering. She went back immediately to check, if everything was okay. But there was really nothing she could do and she also didn't know what the heck she should do. After Risa had sat there for a while, The bean decided to go get the water, so Ai would have something to drink. But Ai would not leave her mind. Risa was all the time thinking what the hell was behind that pained look she wore always when she was interacting with Risa. Why was it so painful to her to look at her and interact with her?

'I don't understand this at all... What's going on in your mind?

At the same time, the said leader was curled into a fetal position, crying quietly. She was not asleep, but she was not quite awake either. She was just crying, for she had gotten some memories back after seeing Risa's face. Some were her own memories but some were still fresh in her mind. Those thoughts would cut Ai's like a knife every time they flashed in her head. And every single time, when she saw Risa's face, something cut even deeper inside of her.

'I'm sorry... So sorry, for all the pain I have caused to you...'


---------------------------------------------------
I brought the bad guys back!!! XD I haven't forgotten them, but they are not so important at the beginning~

I am so freaking tired.....  :dizzy: I should not have written this, but damn it I already wrote it.... Hope you get some sense from this chapter, because at some parts I was like: "......................What the hell did I want to happen in here??"

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this unclear chapter! XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 19/ 14/03
Post by: darkacex99 on March 14, 2013, 08:02:14 PM
oh yessss an update :cathappy:

omg i 100% know how risa feels in an ackward silence situation XD these situations r hard to get out of if ur not good at talking ur way outta stuff O0

in my heart im hoping dat risa n ai dont  :deco: each other cuz dat would b sooo ackward  :O

glad u survived again and i hope u can get some rest :thumbup sleep is a beautiful thang :wub:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 19/ 14/03
Post by: rndmnwierd on March 14, 2013, 08:32:01 PM
At least we know that the festival will be safe. But so much awkwardness! @.@
Title: Re: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 19/ 14/03
Post by: kuro_808 on March 15, 2013, 02:30:48 AM
Well they are safe for now but after the war will continue

Ai and Risa are becoming close but not fully sure for the bean to trust her

Posted by the mento Hawaiian

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 19/ 14/03
Post by: alwaysYou on March 15, 2013, 05:27:31 PM
Quote
“Oh, I am sure of this. I can put some men to work over the festival and do some investigating. After the festival time is over, we have all the information we need and it's easier to strike.”]
don't feel good about this line.. :banghead:
How come i have a feeling, if they know the current situation of the enemy leader, which is Ai, is in such state, they will make use of this weak point and attack them :banghead:
Kidnap her and torture her..sadistic part of me appearing  :lol:

i wonder who sayaka hates..seem like its one of gorokkies :?
And if its Ai..more drama  :lol: :lol: :lol:
Will this festival period be safe, i think its hard to say..Maybe you will surprise us with a surprise war.. :lol:

Awkward AiGaki is awkward..cant wait to see how their relationship will become..
Aichan should stop feeling that its her fault for Gakisan's pain!

Next chp pls.. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 20/ 17/03
Post by: MsSmigge on March 17, 2013, 09:58:17 PM
darkacex99: Awkward silence situations are horrible and it does not help, that I am very bad with them... XD

rndmnwierd: Unless I cheated you all to think that it will be safe  :twisted: lol, no, I can tell that the festival will be safe  :lol:

kurosawa87 They will grow closer bit by bit~ :oops:

alwaysYou You just gave me a bunch of ideas and I am very tempted to change this story a bit now... XD But only a bit, cause I already have an image where this story is going~

Again, thank you everyone so much for your interest.  :wub: You make me happy~

A fast update, cause there's going to be one week without computer once again. Why? Yes, another training incoming  :fainted: And I should read for my entrance examination... Yup, I am going to die.

Anyways, here's the next chapter.
Here we go~


Chapter 20 – A new home and a surprise


The next days in the nurse's place were spent in a quite awkward atmosphere. Both Ai and Risa kept on avoiding each others and after Ai was very capable of doing all things by herself, the two would only avoid each others even more. They didn't look at each others, they didn't talk to each others and they even avoided staying in the same room for too long time. This, at them same time made Risa relieved but a bit bothered, too. The good thing was, that Ai had not acted rude nor violent. She would just glance Risa with her blank stare from time to time and then leave the room or just ignore the other girl completely. Risa was the same, but this thing kept on haunting her mind all the time. Okay, it was a good thing they didn't fight with each others but damn, they could at least act casually even when the other one was in the same room. But every time, it seemed like everything would freeze around them, even when their friends were with them, and the awkward atmosphere would not end till either Ai or Risa left the room.

Risa wanted to be normal around Ai, though they were not friends and both probably harbored some kind of bad feelings towards each others, but they could at least try.
LinLin didn't seem to notice this situation at all and she was always acting like they had been roommates for years when they all were in the same space. Or well, Risa knew LinLin had noticed this all, but just didn't want to make the situation even worse by saying it out loud to the other girls.

It was once again a normall day and Risa was preparing for her training. She had her black warrior's uniform on and her long brown hair was in a loose ponytail.

'Okay, do I have everything...'

She thought as she was examining all kind small equipment on the table nearby the resting room's door. She was just putting all the things in her training bag, when she noticed something was missing. Her hairpin was nowhere in sight. It was probably forgotten on the resting room's table. Just when Risa was about to enter the said room, the door opened suddenly and Ai came into view. Both women got surprised by each others as they almost collided. They stared each others with wide eyes, but neither moved away. Again, the time and the whole place froze and Risa was sure she could even feel how the temperature got lower, moment by moment.

'Why doesn't she do anything?'

'Why is she just standing there and staring at me?'

Both women ran all kind of thoughts in their heads as they were having their staring competition. Finally Ai was the one to snap back on earth as she opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She just moved her lips like she was a fish, causing Risa to frown a bit. Risa either didn't know what to say, though she could just say something like “Hey, could you move away, so I can get my items” or at least something like that. But no, nothing came out. Just when the moment was going to get even more awkward a knock was heard on the front door.

Risa thanked the person whoever was out there, for now she got a great reason to break this deadly and awkward silence. She spun around and ran to the door, leaving Ai to watch after her. The leader was also very relieved and thankful to this person who had knocked the door a moment ago. She just froze every time she faced the bean and at the same time, she lost her verbal abilities. It was awkward and annoying, but there just was nothing she could do to it. Sighing, Ai listened who had entered the house a while ago and immediately she heard the visitor's voice, the leader's head shot up.

“Well hello there Risa.”

A familiar voice of the king's councilor was heard as Risa opened the front door.

“Jun Jun? Hi, what brings you here?”

Risa asked a nit confused as she let the woman inside. Immediately, Jun Jun spotted Ai, who was still standing at the door where Risa had left her. Both women had a surprised look on their face, for they had not seen each others in times. Of course, Jun Jun knew where Ai had stayed during this time and sometimes had seen her in the training area, but now she was meeting a whole different Ai. Or more likely, the Ai she had first learnt to know
Soon, Jun Jun made a polite smile and warm smile and bowed a bit towards Ai.

“Ohisashiburi desu. It's very goot to see you, Ai.”

The leader answered the bow immediately with her own and when she raised her head, she had a small smile on her face, too. Risa's eyes widened as she saw hoe the leader acted. She was smiling and she was polite!

“You too, Jun Jun.”

Again, Ai was like a whole different person, smiling and acting nice. But when her gaze turned to Risa, the smile vanished immediately and that blank stare was there again. Quickly, she turned her gaze away from Risa, who was still staring at the leader with a very surprised look.

“If... If you excuse me, I have some things to do. See you again.” Ai said to the councilor and went back to her room, giving Jun Jun one more smile till she disappeared in her room.
Jun Jun just smiled while Risa was again very bothered. Okay, she knew she was “a new person” here but still, why could not Ai act casually around her? Just some kind of nod or small words would have been enough, but this damn silence and those staring competitions just started to irritate Risa. They didn't need to be friends at all, but they could at least be humans to each others. Why was this so damn hard...

“Risa?”

Jun Jun's gentle voice got Risa's attention, as the councilor was about to leave the building.

“The king wants to meet you again. She has some news for you.”

News for her? What could that mean?

“Oh, okay. I'll just take my training things and I'll be after you.” Risa said as she rushed to the small table where her equipment were. Her hairpin was still missing, but Risa would not go fetch it now, or she would probably freeze the time with Ai again. Glancing the closed door once more, Risa left the house after Jun Jun. Lin Lin had said that it was okay to leave Ai alone now, for she had healed quite well by now. Risa locked the front door after her and followed Jun Jun on the street, wondering what kind of news did the king have for her.

---------------------------

The Palace was just like last time Risa visited it, but now, there were all kind of decorations around. Everything was under red as the servants put all kind of decorations around places. Risa had heard that the festival was held at the Palace, for it had so large yard so it would be easy to fit everyone in there. Also, Yoshizawa wanted that her people would be able to see how the Palace looked from inside. Citizens never went there unless they had some kind of business with the king or some kind of urgent information. However, Yoshizawa had thought that she could change this law too, but Jun Jun and Rika had gotten her to keep them that way they were. Not that they didn't want to be with the citizens, but it was also a security thing. The main reason, that everyone was not allowed to enter the Palace was that in that way, they could control who comes in and so they could get rid of all kind of threats towards the king and her family. At first, Yoshizawa had protested, but a firm look and few threats from her wife had made her shut up.

Jun Jun and Risa stopped at in the big hall, where Yoshizawa was talking with one servant, planning where the decoration should be put. When she was finished she headed towards her councilor who snapped in attention, Risa following suit. This caused Yoshizawa to frown and before Jun Jun could open her mouth, the king was speaking already:

“You even dare to think about bowing towards me and I will cancel these good news immediately and fire you Jun Jun.”

Both women watched the king with fear, for Yoshizawa had talked with a quite serious tone, so they ended up just nodding their head, which caused a broad smile to lid on the king's face.

“Great! Jun Jun, the papers.”

Quickly, the councilor took some papers from under her coat and handed them to Yoshizawa, who checked them. After being sure that everything was okay and she had the right documents, the king handed the papers to the bean.

“Here you go. I found a home for you.”

“EH?”

Risa gasped as she took the papers. There was her name, the name of the place which was going to be her home, the king and the queen's signature and kibo's seal. These papers were formal and they said that Risa would indeed have a home in here. Risa was sure that she was dreaming. This just couldn't be true...

“This... I... I have... I have an own home now?” Risa asked quietly, Yoshizawa nodding her head in approval. Tears rose in Risa's eyes as she read the papers over and over again. This just could not be true. She had a home now. After all she had experienced and lost, she had a new place to stay. A new place, where she could have a new start.

“It's a bit old house, but it's at least nearby your friend.”

Risa raised her head up and looked the king with wide eyes. Her friend? Who? She didn't know that one of her friends had had free house's or apartments nearby them.

“Actually, it's in the same building as Eri's home is. Yours, is in the upstairs of that building.”

“Nearby Eri?”

Eri had never mentioned Risa that no one lived in her neighbor and that there was actually an empty place for someone to stay. Or then that aho turtle just didn't notice when one day her neighborhoods stopped passing by every morning. That would not surprise Risa at all.

“Yes. I thought it would be a very good place for you.”

Well it indeed was! Risa could see Eri more often and if she needed help, she just walked down the stairs and knocked on Eri's door. This was great! Soon, Yoshizawa motioned Risa to follow, as she dismissed Jun Jun. The councilor was just about to bow, but when the king send a very deadly look towards her, Jun Jun only nodded her head a bit and dashed away. Yoshizawa only shook her head and started to walk forwards, Risa putting the papers under her coat and following after her. It did not take long before the king started to talk happily with the bean. If someone who did not know these two had watched them from a side, the person would never guess that the older one was actually a king of this land. But that was Yoshizawa's goal; she wanted to be like anyone in her village and she did not want to stand out too much. It was much more nice to be casual.

“So, how have you been?” Yoshizawa asked casually as she walked on.

“Quite fine thank you. How about you?” Risa spoke in a bit nervous tone. It was not everyday that you spoke with your king like this. But the bean also knew that if she acted like she acted with her friends, she would save herself from the king's lecture, how he was too formal with her. nonetheless, she was still very nervous though she looked relaxed.

“That's good to hear. And I am great. I love the festival time! We can celebrate and be with each others and even the war is forgotten for a while. Thought these festivals were better when this tension of war would not disturb us, but maybe in the future, I can have back the festival I had in my childhood.”

The king said as she stopped to examine some decorations, Risa parking beside her. The servants really had done great work with these things! There were red flowers and ribbons hanging everywhere. Someone had also made all kind of figures from the flowers, which were quite cute in Risa's opinion. Just when they were about to continue their way, someone interrupted the silence which had landed in the hall.

“Papa!”

Yoshizawa spun around in no time to face a small boy, probably around 10-years-old. A huge smile lit on her face as the kid ran towards her, the king opening her arms to the boy,

“Hey, rascal!” Yoshizawa said playfully, scooping the boy in her arms. The kid was wearing black pants and a deep red dress shirt, which had black dragon around it. She was not wearing any shoes and now that Risa examined the boys clothing more, she noticed how her shirt was a bit unbuttoned and ruffled.

“Akira! Get back here!”

A sharp command was heard in the hall as a woman with a long dark brown hair dashed out from one room. All the servants got away from this lady's way as she stormed towards her family. Even Risa got chills running down her spine as she watched the approaching female. Damn, she was scary...

“Oi, what have you done now, for mama is so angry?” Yoshizawa questioned her son, who only smirked at her, mirroring the king's own smirk perfectly.
 
“Young man, get immediately back to your room and get dressed properly! A young prince should not move around in that kind of clothing.”

The woman said to her son firmly, but she didn't raise her voice too much. The boy just buried her head in the king's shoulder, which caused Yoshizawa's heart to melt immediately.

“Aww, come on Rika. It wont kill anyone if his clothing is not always so perfect.”

Rika stared her spouse with a dark gaze, which caused the king to chuckle nervously.

“Or well... Maybe it is. Come on Akira, lets go get you dressed properly...." And with that, Yoshizawa put her son down who immediately ran to her mother and took a hold of her hand.

“Oh, I almost forgot," The king said suddenly, as she turned to face Risa. "meet my family Risa. My wife Rika and my son Akira.”

Only now did Rika notice Risa. She smiled politely but quite sternly at her and as Risa bowed towards her, she did the same.

“Hai, I have heard of you. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” Risa said as politely as she could. Though Yoshizawa might not like formalities, the bean could tell immediately, that the queen was totally a different story

“Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” Rika answered and after a while, tapped her son's shoulder gently. Akira watched her mother for a while, before she realized what he had to do. She stepped a bit forwards and bowed towards Risa, saying the same thing her mother had said a while ago.

“And this is Risa. She's the new citizen in here, who comes from the village which was attacked some time ago.” The king explained to her family.

Rika nodded again towards Risa, keeping her polite and formal smile up.

“I hope you will settle down well in here.”

Smiling back, Risa bowed a bit again. "Thank you." After that, she turned back to Yoshizawa and bowed towards her too, forgetting for a while how the king hated bowing and such.

“I think I'm on my way then now. Thank you one more time. I really appreciate your generousness and help.”

Risa felt how a hand was gently laid on her shoulder. Raising her head up, she was met by the king's gentle smile.

“You're welcome child. Go make that place your home and rest well. The festival is coming and I want every single person in this land to rest before it, so they can get all joy from the festival.”
With that the king turned around and walked to her family. She took her son's hand and while they walked forward, she leaned to give a small peck on Rika's cheek, causing the queen to smile a bit. Risa watched after the family with a smile, remembering her own family again. But those memories did not hurt so much now. She was going to have a home, and it would be even more easy to start a new life here.

----------------------------------------

The four friends were standing in front of a building, which had two blocks. There was a large balcony and stairs up, which was the place Risa should make her new home. In the downstairs was a door, which had a small sign where Eri's name was engraved. Immediately Risa had gotten out of the Palace, she had informed her friends about her new home and now everyone was here to look at her new place.

“There really hasn't been anyone living in five years?”

Eri asked quietly, causing all the others to sigh deeply. As Risa had thought, Eri had not noticed how the occupants above her had moved away about five years ago. Risa had said this to her friend, but when Eri mentioned that she had been wondering why her neighbor didn't show up in the mornings anymore, the bean decided to keep her mouth shut. Eri indeed was an aho.

“No, but now there will be. I'm going to move in there.”

Risa said as she took the stairs and walked on the balcony. It was not in the best shape, but it would not collapse either. Maybe she could ask someone do some magic for it and make it look a bit better.

“I wonder how it looks from inside...”

Reina mused as the rest of the group followed after Risa. There was a door, which was unlocked and two windows. Risa walked to the door and slid it open. Everyone peeked inside and were speechless when they saw what was inside. The someone, who had lived here five years ago had indeed left in a rush, for the house had all the furniture in there. But what stunned everyone the most, was the amount of dust and cobwebs. This apartment looked more like a ghost house than a place where someone could live.

“Mou, we have a lot of cleaning....” Eri whined as they finally stepped inside. Though the place was all mess it was quite bright, thanks to the windows. After cleaning, this would be a very nice place to live in.

“Saa, lets get to work.”

Sayu said, dragging Eri with her, who had said she could go find something from her home which could help the cleaning. Too bad, everyone knew how bad the turtle was at household chores, which lead to that she simply did not have anything in her home which could help them with this. Sayu had also promised that she would keep an eye on Eri, so the turtle would not escape this.

“Un, if we never start, I might as well get used to live with spiders and other bucks...”
Risa said, as she wiped some webs away from the window corner. Sayu and Eri started to take care of the furniture, while Risa whipped the cobwebs away and Reina cleaned the floor. They had brought some old textures with them and a few buckets of water, cause they really were going to need them. Risa had wiped a windowsill once and she already had to go wash the rug, for it had turned totally black from all the dust and dirt.

They had cleaned for about one hour when they decided to take a small break. Eri crashed on one couch, which let out a lot of dust.

“Hey! I just cleaned around that!” Reina whined, while Eri just waved her hand tiredly and slouched deeper in the old furniture.

“We are going to spend our rest of lives cleaning this so you have time to wash it again. This place will never become clean!”

Risa chuckled at the desperate turtle, who described this thing more painful than the war itself.

“Don't worry, this dust will end at some point. But I can't ask you to spend your free time here helping me. I bet you want to relax and do something fun and this really isn't something like...”

“Okay stop right there. "Reina interrupted Risa as she got up from the floor. "We are here to help a friend and when it comes to that, you can screw our free time and having fun, ne?”

Reina turned to her friends, who nodded in approval. Even Eri answered immediately, though Risa was sure the girl would soon leave to her own house and never ever come back here.
A smiled appeared on Risa's lips as she watched her friends. They really were sweet persons. She bet that they wanted to spend their free time relaxing and not cleaning her house, but here they were helping her, though they should be resting.

“Thank you guys. I really appriciate this.”

“Anything for you.” Reina said, as she winked at Risa, which caused her to blush. Though she knew Reina was just kidding, somehow her words and actions made her feel a bit funny inside. It felt embarrassing, but at the same time, very nice.

“Aww, get a room...” Eri moaned as she watched her girlfriend pleadingly, who was by now sitting on the floor beside her legs.

“Honey, could you get me some water for me? I swear all this dust has made me throat so sore..."

“Anything for you~” Sayu cooed to Eri, as she patted her thigh gently. This caused everyone but the certain turtle to laugh. Eri pouted and kicked Sayu a bit, which caused the younger one to only laugh a bit more.

“Hahaa, very funny.” The turtle pouted as she crossed her arms in front of her.

“Finally it's not me, who is laughed at!” Reina rejoiced as she made some victory fanfares. Eri glared at her and was just about to get up and make Reina pay for her words, when they were all interrupted by someone at the door.

“Shitsureishimasu.”

The laughter stopped and everyone turned to look at the person, who was standing just behind the threshold, watching every girl in the room till her eyes landed on Risa. There was no expression on the person's face, she was just staring blankly at the bean who had already gotten tired of that expressionless face and piercing gaze. But now, she was just too shocked to think about something like that.

“May I come in?”

The person asked quietly, forcing her words out from her mouth as she spoke. Everyone was quiet and didn't do or say a thing. Risa just stared at the woman, who had just asked politely to come inside her new home. If getting a new home in here had felt like a dream, this felt even more like a dream. This just could not be...

'What is she doing here?'

-----------------------------------

Things start to change after this chapter~  8)

Hope you enjoyed this chapter!
 :sleep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 20/ 17/03
Post by: rndmnwierd on March 18, 2013, 03:00:09 AM
I can't believe Ai would show up on her own! Especially with everyone around and all.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 20/ 17/03
Post by: darkacex99 on March 18, 2013, 03:46:31 AM
ugh....ai's kinda back :catglare: im kinda missing her hardcore meanie personality :twisted: but oh well :roll:

awww reina and risa had a little moment w/o risa jabbing reina :cathappy: soo cute!

Title: Re: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 20/ 17/03
Post by: kuro_808 on March 18, 2013, 06:20:08 PM
The appearance at the end was a welcome sight for them

Posted by the mento Hawaiian

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 21/ 26/03
Post by: MsSmigge on March 26, 2013, 01:01:30 PM
rndmnweird: Guy-chan will do some other surprises too in the near future~ ;)

darkacex99: You like Ai-chan's "bad side" more? xD That surprising. But don't worry, Ai is a warrior in the end and every warrior has their little badass inside them, no matter what~

kurosawa87: Well, yes it kinda was  :lol:

*crawls out from the shadows* I'm dead again  :fainted: My training was a bit different than I expected and I haven't slept well in one week... Also, after the training, I didn't even get to go home, but to work... Damn it.

But luckily things have calmed down now a bit and I have a bit more free week and half now, though I have to teach my new team in here. But it's nice, for they are such a nice bunch of people~

There will probably be some fast updates again. Thank you everyone for your interest and comments  :wub:

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 21 – Melting ice


'Why am I here again....'

Ai mused in her mind as she was awkwardly standing behind Risa's apartment's threshold. Oh yeah, she had met Yoshizawa in the town earlier today and the king had informed her about Risa's new home. The leader had no idea why the king had told her that, but for some reason, the information had stayed in Ai's head and after the conversation with Yoshizawa, Ai had found herself in front of the Risa's apartment. At first the leader had decided to go home after meeting with the king, but in some magical way, she had found her way towards the bean's home and she even had taken a broom with her on her way here! What on earth was wrong with her? Ai knew, Risa did not like her and there was always this awkwardness with them whenever Ai saw the younger girl. She didn't even know the girl so well. All she knew, that Risa probably hated her a lot and that the leader had hurt her feelings a lot lately. So why was she here, being ready to help the younger girl out? Maybe it was her good leader inside who wanted to do the right things and pay for her mistakes she had done. In any case, here she was, asking a permission from Risa to enter her house and help and there was no backing away now.
Ai took a deep breath as she tried to calm herself down. She had noticed how her friends and Risa had stared her quite a long time now, as if asking why was the leader in here.

Inside the apartment, all the four girls were very stunned as they stared at the oldest warrior. This was something they were not prepared to...

'What is she doing here?'

Risa wondered, as she stared the leader of the Team Alfa at her door with wide eyes. Ai had sitll not entered the house, for she was waiting for the bean's permission. She was still very aware, that the younger girl might not like her very much and she was also prepared to that Risa would probably throw her away immediately. But the bean just stared her with the others. She didn't say a word, for she was too confused right now. But after a while she nodded her head very slowly, allowing the leader to enter the apartment.
Ai, nodding her head, stepped over the threshold and bowed a bit towards her friend's and Risa.

“Shitsureishimasu.”

Ai said, as she took her shoes away and put them neatly beside the others on the floor. When she turned to the other warriors, she found them still at the same places as a while ago, still staring at her.

“I heard you had a home here and I thought you might need some help.” Ai spoke in a very stern tone, but she did not sound rude at all. This caused everyone to get even more confused. What was going on?

Once again, Eri was the first one to recover as she happily ran to the leader. Ai turned her attention to the turtle, who patted her shoulders gently, smiling broadly at the same time.

“This is great! Just when I thought no one would come to save me! Clean well, so Risa will have a nice place to stay! Ja ne!” Eri dashed pass Ai, which caused Sayu and Reina to snap and dash after her.

“Oh, no you wont!”

They yelled, as they ran after the aho turtle, leaving Risa and Ai alone in the apartment.

'Well great.... Just when I thought things would not get any more awkward...'

Risa thought as she got up and patted some dust away from her clothes, though she knew they would get dusted again soon. The bean could not help the fact that she was very nervous of this surprise visit. What the heck had gone to that leader, who at first was very rude towards her, then she would not talk to her and now she was standing in her home, offering her help. Risa could not understand this at all. Either the leader had something in the back of her mind or then she was completely crazy.

Soon the loud voice of her returning friends were heard, making Risa and Ai to snap out of their thoughts. The bean thought that it would be the best to start do something. It would be quite weird, if they were in the same places as when their friends had gone after Eri. For a while, Risa just turned around nervously as she tried to figure out, what the leader could do.

“Ano... You can clean the floor... No, we don't have anything for that... Well maybe then.” Risa muttered, but she was soon cut by Ai.

“The floor is fine.” Ai interrupted her and only now did Risa notice that the leader had held something behind her back all the time. As Ai started to walk to the next room, she took the small broom she had brought from behind her back and went to clean.

'She was even prepared to this??!!'

Risa thought in awe, but her attention was soon caught by her friends, who were returning back. The door was slammed open and the bean could see her three friends enter her apartment. Sayu had gotten Eri's legs, while Reina held her hands as they carried the squirming turtle back to work.

“Where did that “We will always help friends” thing?” Reina asked teasingly, when she and Sayu unleashed the turtle, being all the time aware if she tried to escape again.

“Yeah, yeah, I will go to clean....” Eri mumbled as she grabbed some rugs from a small pile on a nearby table and went to the other room in the apartment. Risa just chuckled at this and took some rugs as well.

“We better continue if we want to get this place clean.” Sayu and Reina nodded in approval and went back to work, taking their own areas and Sayu watching after Eri, that she would not escape again.
So they continued, the dust disappearing bit by bit. Everyone worked hard, so they could get this place tidied sooner so Risa could settle down in here. Everyone had promised to give her some bedclothes and stuff so she would not sleep on a hard floor. Also, Yoshizawa herself had promised to help Risa settle down; in the middle of the cleaning, Jun Jun appeared at the apartment door with some servants, who were carrying some kind of table and other furniture.

“Shitsureishimasu. Gaki-san? Immediately, when the councilor stepped inside, she was met by Eri who was just going to change the water in one of the buckets. The turtle stared at the councilor like she had seen a ghost, while Jun Jun just smiled politely at her.

“Jun Jun?” Eri whispered, which was heard by Reina and Sayu too, who had also been on their way to get some clean rugs. This caused the girls to stop in their tracks as they noticed who was at the door. The councilor smiled at them too, bowing politely.

“Hi there guys.”

The cleaning equipment in the girls hands were suddenly dropped as they all dashed to the councilor. Jun Jun did not have much time to defend herself, when she was blocked to the floor, the four warriors hugging her tightly.

“JUN JUN!!!”

“GIAAAHH!!!”

The councilor tried to squirm away and get free, but the three girls who were asking all kind of questions and hugging the panda tightly, did not let her go. Alarmed by all the noise, Risa came to check what was going on. She saw the councilor on the ground, who was desperately trying to get up and away from the girls who had assaulted her. The captured woman shot a bleeding look at Risa, begging for help. There just was no way she could get away from this on her own. If these three decided to do something, they would also do it.

“A little help....” Jun Jun whined. Risa chuckled a bit as she went to help the poor councilor.

“Come on guys, let Jun Jun go.”

“NO WE WONT!”

The trio shouted at the same time as they kept on hugging the panda. Risa had to literally pry them off the councilor and command them to stand down, for they were all the time trying to get to Jun Jun. Even Sayu was acting like a child as she tried all the time to get pass Risa and get closer to Jun Jun.

“Really guys! Calm down!”

“You don't know how hard it is to catch that woman! She disappears all the time!” Eri whined as she pointed at Jun Jun. Risa shook her head and sighed. How was it then, that she met Jun Jun once in a while and these three didn't see her at all?

“I don't disappear, it's just that, we are not in the same places at the same time. I have been busy lately, but now it is a festival time, so I have more time to move around in here too.”

“You better...” Reina mumbled as she crossed her arms in front of her, glaring the panda with Sayu and Eri.

“Well what ever....” Jun Jun said rolling her eyes, as she waved the servants in. They brought a table, cushions, some bedclothes and another table which had some kind of drawers in it.

“Here. These are from Yoshizawa. She truly hopes you will settle down well in here.”

Risa just stared all the furniture in front of her. This could not be. Had the king given her all this? This was too much...

“This is too much. I can't accept all this.”

But Jun Jun only turned to the girl and smiled knowingly at her.

“You know that Yoshizawa wont take no as an answer. Just accept them and make this place your home. Now, if you excuse me, I have other business to do.”

“You just said you have more time now!!”

Reina yelled suddenly with Sayu and Eri and again, the trio was surrounding the panda, who was helplessly trying to escape. It was not that she didn't want to be with her friends, but they had to calm down first before she could stay more than 10 seconds around them. Also, she didn't have that much free time as her friends probably thought. She still had a lot of work to do and some of them required that she had to leave the village.

“Okay, make way, I really got to go. I promise we will see more during the festival time, okay?” All the three watched the panda with a serious face, till they glanced each others. They were silent for a while, before everyone nodded and turned to face Jun Jun again.

“You better promise that or,”

“We will hunt you down,”

“And tie you down in somewhere were you wont escape."

Jun Jun watched her friends with amusement. They were just so funny when they teamed up like this and acted childish. They were a bit scary, but in the end the councilor knew that her friends would not hurt her. They only liked to threaten her a lot. But it was still good thing to keep them satisfied, for one could never be too sure of these three when they teamed up like this...

“Look guys, i really...”

“PROMISE?!”

“Okay, okay! I promise. Damn, calm down....”

Finally, the councilor was allowed to leave with the servants and everyone went back to their tasks. They kept small breaks once in a while but the only one who did not do so, was Ai. The leader had cleaned the floor a long time ago, but now she was cleaning other places. While others were sitting down, she just moved between the three rooms, once in a while changing the rug and going back to her task. Risa frowned at this, but her friends were very calmly spending their break, being like Ai was not there at all. It was like it was normal if the leader was not spending the break with the. Finally Risa got enough and next time Ai passed her, the girl got up in order to catch the leader's attention.

“Ano....”

Ai stopped and turned towards Risa, while the bean tried to figure out what to say. It was always very hard to talk to Ai and though they were “in good terms” now, it was still very difficult to do.

“You can take a break too you know...” Risa mumbled as she carefully made eye contact with the leader. Ai only stared at her, just like she always had done when she and Risa were having these staring competitions. But this time, their battle was cut by Eri.

“Just sit down and relax Risa. It's easier to get Yoshizawa make us all bow in front of her than make Ai stop keeping things clean and in order.”

Risa glanced the turtle a bit stunned. What did she mean? Last time she saw Ai's apartment, it was all mess! How could she keep things in order?

“Believe me, just sit down and let Ai-chan clean. Ne?” Eri chirped, turning her smiling face towards Ai. The leader was quiet for a while, before she answered Eri's smile with her own and nodded her head slowly. But again, when she faced Risa, the smile was gone and that stern face was back.

“I'm fine.” She said and continued her cleaning. Again, Risa felt a bit irritated, but it was not as strong feeling as it had been at the first time she had interacted with Ai. The leader was much nicer and Risa could bare her now easily, but this tension between them just annoyed her. Why could she not act normally with her, even though she was not her friend?
Soon, Risa did what Eri had said and sat down on the floor, frowning at the leader, who kept on cleaning her apartment.

“What's wrong with her....” Risa mumbled out loud, though she didn't intend to.

“Nothing's wrong with her.” Reina said, as she sipped some water from a cup Jun Jun had brought.

“Well there's definitely something wrong with her. She was not that “polite” to me at first...”

“That was not Ai-chan then.” Sayu interrupted Risa, which caused her to frown even more. She turned her attention to her friends, who were now following Ai as well, smiling gently at the same time.

“This, my dear friend, is the real Ai. She is still recovering, but I can already see her coming back.” Eri whispered quietly. This indeed was their dear leader, who had been lost five years now and now it seemed, that she was on her way back.

“The fact that she is here right now helping someone who she has not liked much only makes me believe even more that our Ai-chan is coming back.” The turtle continued, all the time keeping her eyes on the cleaning leader.

“If you ask me,” Sayu said suddenly, causing Risa to turn her attention to her. “I think this is Ai's ways of asking forgiveness.”

“Eeh?” Risa yelled shortly. Forgiveness? Could Ai really do something like that?? There was just no way...

“Ai rarely uses words, but her actions speak a lot louder. And especially now, that she has not been very sociablr for years, it's very hard to come out with words. That's why, she acts instead.” Reina continued her friends and took a sip from her mug. They were in a silence for a while, before Eri shrugged a bit and looked at Risa with a grin.

“But you better get prepared to that Ai will ask your forgiveness for a long time. She is just so damn stubborn and blames herself all the time.”

Risa blinked few times, before she turned her attention back to Ai, who was now taking care of some cobwebs. It just felt so weird to see the leader this calm and doing something else than practicing or training.

'Could it really be, that all that happened in the beginning... Was just another person? That she hid her real self behind a mask? Could it be....'

------------------------------------------------

“FINALLY!”

A loud yell was heard in Risa's apartment as Eri punched her hands in the air at the same time as she fell on one of the cushions on the floor. They had cleaned this house for the whole day and finally, when the day was turning into an evening, they had finished. Gone were the dust and spider webs and now everything was shiny and clean. Of course, the house was quite old so not everything was so shiny, but at least it was clean now. They had also put the furniture on their own places. The first room had the table and cushions around it. The next one was Risa's room and in the last one she would keep all her training equipment and if she ever had guests it would be a guestroom as well. They had also gotten rid of the old furniture, for they were not usable anymore.

“Aaaah, I am going to die....” Eri whined, as she sat down on one of the pillows.

“And you slacked the most of us....” Sayu and Reina mumbled, but Eri just waved them off. Risa chuckled as she examined the new home she had. Though she had not spent even a night in here, it felt already very cozy. In time, she would make it more like herself, but now, this was okay like this. The bean turned slowly to her friends, smiling at them gently.

“Thank you so much guys. I could not have done this without you.” She bowed a bit towards the trio, which caused her friends to moan and wave their hands. Eri jumped up and went to hug Risa.

“Stop thanking us. We are here to help you anytime, ne.”
Risa chuckled again as she hugged Eri back. It was quite hilarious how the younger girl would at first offer her help, then whine about the work and after everything was done, she was once again telling Risa how she would always help her.

“Yeah, just call us and we will come to help you.” Reina said smiling as well. Risa smiled at her, which caused the kitten to wink at her once. Again, Risa got a bit funny feeling in her stomach after seeing Reina act like this, but she tried to ignored it for now. However, it was easier said than than, when Reina was looking at her with her broad grin all the time.

“Oi, I think we should leave now. It's quite late...” Sayu said as she looked outside. They had really lost the sense of time while cleaning and hadn't noticed how the evening had came.

“Un. I think so too...” Reina mumbled as they all went to put their shoes on.

“Hey, where's Ai?” Eri asked suddenly as they were just leaving the apartment. Risa looked behind her, only finding an empty apartment. Ai was nowhere in sight.

“Maybe she already went...” Somehow, Risa felt a bit sad after hearing Sayu's words. She had hoped she could at least thank Ai for her help. She had came here and helped her cleaning, thought Risa hadn't even thought of asking her help. But still, she had came and it made Risa feel quite happy for some reason. Maybe, they finally started to act like normal people did towards each other.

“Well Ai is a bit like that, especially when she is in the state she is now...” Eri mumbled as she turned towards Risa. Thought the bean tried to hide her disappointment, Eri caught it immediately. She placed her hand gently on Risa's shoulder, gaining the older girl's attention immediately.

“Hey, don't mind Ai. This is all quite weird for her now, for she is recovering. I am quite surprised she even came here in the first place. But that was a good sing ne?”

Risa nodded her head slowly after Eri's words as she smiled at her friend.

“Un, Thank you Eri. Good night.”

“Good night, Risa.”

And with that, the Team Alfa left, but just when Risa was about to close the door, Reina's head popped back in. The kitten did not move away as Risa looked at her questioningly.

“Reina? What now? Did you forget something?”

The kitten only smirked at her playfully and Risa felt her cheeks blush immediately she saw that smirk. Why did she have to do that all the time?

“Yup. Can I have a good night kiss?” Almost immediately after her words, Reina's head was forcefully pushed outside, As Risa slammed the door shut, leaning her back on it afterwards.

“Ouch....” The bean could hear Reina's whining from behind the door and soon, it was joined by footsteps and Eri's words;

“Come on you playboy....”

Risa could hear Eri's voice outside, which were soon followed by another footsteps, which disappeared in a moment. Feeling her cheeks with her hand, Risa felt how they had gotten a bit hotter. She was probably blushing quite nicely right now and she had no idea what was going inside her head. Could she... Could she like Reina? Like, have a crush on her? Reina always said she was just kidding with her and Risa intended to keep it that way. Reina was her friend, they would not get together. But no matter how many times Risa said to herself, that it was not a crush, she could not understand why she always blushed and got a bit nervous whenever Reina would smirk at her or do something else.

“These feelings will soon fade away. I am sure of it.” Risa mumbled as she turned to lock the door. When she had done that, something caught her attention. Turning her look down, The bean could see her shoes and beside them someone else's shoes.

“Hu?”

“Did they already leave?”

Turning into her reaction queen mode, Risa jumped at least two meters up and screamed at the same time as she spun around to face the leader behind her. She tried to caught her breath as she leaned on the wall, Ai watching her sternly, one eyebrow raised up. What was with this her scaring that bean all the time?

“You.... scared me....” Risa huffed as she turned to look at the leader who was by now looking down at the floor and giving Risa only apologetic glances.

“I didn't mean to...” Ai said quietly, as if she was shaming what she had done. After catching her breath, Risa just waved her hand and let go of the wall sh ehad been leaning on.

“It's okay.”

There was again this awkward silence as they stood facing each other, Risa staring at Ai and Ai staring at the floor. After a while, the leader raised her gaze to meet with Risa's. The silence continued, till Ai pointed at the shoes behind the bean.

“I think I should go.”

And with that, the older woman went to put her shoes on. When she got up, she noticed that Risa was still staring at her and now she was also standing in front of the door, so that Ai could not get out.
Why couldn't Ai say anything? Heck, why could not she say anything? Risa was as well lost of words as was the leader. Nothing just came in her mind and every time she was met by those chocolate eyes, all coherent thoughts and words escaped her mind.
Finally, Ai pointed at the door and Risa understood, what she wanted.

“Oh, sorry!” She said hurriedly, almost jumping out of the way. Ai didn't move immediately, for she was still staring at Risa. Again this continued for a while, before Ai nodded her head a bit and went out of the door, leaving Risa alone in her apartment.
Risa watched after her, still loss of words

'Why can't I talk and act normally around her?”

What on earth happened between them every time their eyes met? What was this? Suddenly, Risa realized what she could say to the leader. She dashed out of the door and ran to the edge of the balcony. Ai had just made it to the end of the stairs and she could easily see and hear Risa, if the bean yelled at her.

“Ai!” Risa yelled, surprised how she had found her voice again. Ai stopped immediately and turned towards Risa, not saying a word. But Risa could clearly see, that the leader was very surprised of this and she was waiting for, what the other one had to say. Again, Risa was speechless when their eyes met, but she would not give in this time. Gaining all her will power, the younger girl forced out the words she wanted to say.

“A... Arigatou...”

And then, out of nowhere, she started to smile at the leader beneath. Now, even Ai's stern face broke, as she watched the girl on the balcony, who had just thanked her and was now smiling at her. The leader was silent for a while till she turned her gaze to the ground, Risa's smile dropping at the same time. Was this again going to be mute school? Why could not Ai say anything? What the heck was wrong this time?
Just when Risa was about to get frustrated, Ai raised her head suddenly and stared at her like she had always done. But this time, the silent didn't last very long.

“You're welcome.”

A quiet voice was heard, as Ai spoke sternly, nodding her head a bit at the same time. Risa was shocked and could not do anything else than stare the leader with wide eyes and open mouth. Had she just... Had she just accepted her thank you? Could this be?
A smile was back on Risa's face as she raised her hand and waved at Ai.

“Good night.”

This time, Ai did not answer, but she nodded her head firmly towards Risa, turning almost immediately around.
But that was enough for the bean. Finally, she had had “a normal conversation” with Ai and things hadn't been so awkward between them at least for one minute. It made Risa feel very happy inside.
She watched after Ai for a while, till she spun around and entered her new home, keeping a small smile on her face all the time. She had gotten a new home and she was going to get rid of this awkward tension between her and Ai. It was not much yet, but it was a start.

-----------------------------------------------

Eri closed her front door behind her and went straight to a cushion pile in the next room. She crashed down, sighing deeply at the same time. Darn, cleaning truly made her tired. Raising her head, the turtle examined her own apartment, which was as messy as hell.

“Don't mind it... Just ignore it...” The turtle mumbled as she got up and went to check if she had something to eat. Just, when she was about to enter the kitchen, she heard something outside. Usually, she would not be interested, but it had sounded like Risa.
Curious, Eri went to her front door and slid it open, careful to not make any kind of sound. Outside, she saw her beloved leader watching upwards and a moment after, she could hear Risa's voice thanking Ai.

Ai's reaction made Eri to frown. Damn, she was dense. Just answer politely! It was not so hard. Then, after a moment the reaction she had wanted was shown in front of her. Ai answered and after that she nodded to Risa and left. Ai left in the direction, which moved in front of Eri's apartment, giving the turtle a side profile of the leader's face. The aho turtle had hard time to stay unnoticed, when a loud gasp escaped her mouth.

'She's... smiling...'

And indeed, the leader was walking quite briskly away, smiling at the same time. It was not any kind of ear to ear smile, but it was smile nonetheless.
Smiling herself, Eri closed the door quietly and went to search her food like she had intended at first. This was a very good sign. Probably, her friends would soon act less awkward around each others. Yes, that would be great indeed.

------------------------------------

I can't write anymore....  :err: I blame the lack of sleep once again XD

Hopefully you enjoyed this chapter!!  8)
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 21/ 26/03
Post by: rndmnwierd on March 26, 2013, 06:34:25 PM
The Tanagaki makes me melt. The Takagaki makes me melt. Dammit! >.< I still can't decide. But I'm glad that Ai is starting to come around!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 21/ 26/03
Post by: darkacex99 on March 26, 2013, 08:42:09 PM
omg the whole Junjun getting dog piled scene was soo funny and cute :cathappy:   

ok so the tenshion between ai and risa is disappearing a little, which is good cuz too much awkwardness can make a person very irritated after a while :catglare:

i really hope ur go for TanaGaki cuz something could happen there i just now it XD reina is so cute when she hits on risa XD

one again...in my heart im hoping ai and risa just become good friends so they can high-five each other after winning a battle like dis                       (=´∀`)人(´∀`=)

once again awesome chapter, glad ur still alive :thumbsup  keep up the good work!!!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 22/ 29/03
Post by: MsSmigge on March 29, 2013, 08:05:36 PM
rndmnweird: I think this is not the first time I read about you having this dilemma  :lol: Go for Takagaki!! Forget Tanagaki!! No, lol  :lol: That was not me speaking... Everyone should like what ever they want to.

darkacex99: Oh no, I am going to make you disappoint...  :bleed eyes: You should just know how huge sucker I am for Takagaki  :nervous But they wont get together just yet and there's going to be something else before that, too... Can't tell everything!! XD

I intended to sent this chapter tomorrow evening, but because my nap got a bit too long today, I was late from one thing and well... Now I have some free time and I just decided to write this story again.  :doh: Lets try again tomorrow, lol. XD

Thank you everyone for your interest again!  :)

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 22 – Apples


It was only one week before the festival would kick in and it was shown everywhere. Red decoration everywhere, people fussing around and a feeling like the whole village is about to prepare something big. And they indeed did, for this festival thing was something everyone was always looking forwards to. That was the time everyone could relax and the war were forgotten. It was said that people were the happiest during the festival time.

Risa had also planned something with her friends. They would go to town and do some shopping. It was more like a task which was given to them by Jun Jun, for the king had so many things to do now so she could not afford everything. Risa and the others had of course accepted to help, for it was not so big a task to get some things from the town to the king. Also, they didn't need to get anything special for themselves, because the soldiers got all they needed from the nation. It was like their salary, for they sacrificed their safety for their own homeland.

Risa was putting her clothes on in her own room as the midday sun peeked into the building. She was quite exited of this shopping trip, for she got to spend some more time with her friends. They had had a lot of free time lately because it seemed like the enemy would not be attacking them during the festival. Of course, they were still prepared, but the king wanted to keep her warrior's mental state in a good shape too. The physical rest was not the only thing a warrior needed, but sometimes, they also had to get their mind refreshed.

Risa finished her black suit she had just put on and started to do her hair. She had stayed this night at Lin Lin's place, for she stil had some stuff in here and she wanted to spend just one more night with her friend. Ai was also leaving the nurse's place today, for she had recovered quite well and the nurse looked, that it was okay to leave her without someone stalking her 24/7. Thinking of Ai made Risa smile a bit. It was more like the fact that they finally seemed to get along at least on some level. This morning, when they had been eating breakfast, Ai had even said good morning to her! Risa had almost choked to her tea but somehow, she managed to answer back. Ai was not smiling yet, but at least she talked to her. It was always something like “Hi” or “Good morning”, but nothing more. It was okay for Risa, for she didn't look any kind of talking companion from the leader. It was enough if they could act like people would normally do around a person they knew somehow.

After making her hair, Risa left her room and went to the kitchen, where Ai was doing something. Risa smiled a bit as she walked past the kitchen and went to the front door. Just when she was about to open it, the door burst open and no one else than the aho turtle of this village greeted her.

“Hello there Risa!” Eri chirped happily and gave her friend a tight hug.

“Well hi there! You're in a good mood today.”

“Of course I am!" Eri almost yelled, throwing her hands up in the air at the same time. "It's soon the time for the festival of love...”

“Red leaves Eri, Red leaves...”

“Oh shut up, you're boring too!" The happy face was soon replaced by an annoyed one, as Eri crossed her arms in front of her and pouted at the bean. "Don't spend so much time around Sayu and Reina... Oh hi Ai!”

Immediately when the turtle noticed her leader, who had come to watch who was at the door, she went to her and gave her a hug too. Ai was quite caught of guard but soon, she just smiled and hugged Eri lightly back.

“Hi.” She said simply. Eri pulled away, but kept a hold of Ai's arm as she went to Risa, grabbing her arm as well.

“Sa, iku yo!”

“Chotto! Chotto Matte! Eri!”

The turtle turned to face her too friends who were dragged by her. Both had a look “what the heck do you think you're doing?”, while the turtle was quite oblivious what was wrong with these two.

“What now?”

“Ano, I am not coming...” Ai mumbled as she tried to pull away, but Eri kept a firm hold on her arm, preventing her escape.

“Nonsense! You belong in the group, so you'll join us!”

“Mmm, Eri I don't know....” Risa mumbled as she glanced at Ai, but Eri interrupted her immediately. She caught them both in her arms and hugged them closer so, that their heads were very close to each others.

“No buts! We go now as a one team! And if this is something about you being awkward around each others, grow up! I already saw how you, Ai-chan, smiled at Risa's words that evening you helped with the cleaning. And I also know how you smile at this aho leader, while she is not watching.”

Eri stated happily, causing the two person's trapped in her arms to panic a little bit. But at the same time, they were a bit shocked by what they heard.

'She... She smiled at my words that evening?'

'She smiles at me when I can't see her?'

Somehow, both Ai and Risa looked up at the same time, their eyes meeting once again. Eri was ranting about something, but they could not hear it now. They had their very own competition with their eyes once again, as they tried to figure out the reason for the other person's smile.

“......So, lets go!” Eri said happily and started to drag Ai and Risa behind her.

“Eri, let go...” Risa said as she tried to get her arm free.

“No, you will only escape.” Eri protested, while Risa rolled her eyes, as she tried to get free.

“Eri, I am not so childish as you're. Now let me go, I wont escape.” The bean said calmly. Eri glanced at her friend with a serious look, but soon she let go of Risa's arm.

“You better keep that promise.”

“Ano... Could you let me go to?” Ai said a bit awkwardly, as she was still dragged by the turtle. Eri turned to her and grinned. “Make a promise you wont run away and that you will spend this day with us.”

The leader was quiet for a long while, before she sighed in defeat and looked at the ground.

“I... I promise that...” Immediately, her arm was let go. Eri watched Ai with her “serious face”, like she had done to Risa a while ago. “You two, better keep that promise...”

“Hai.”

Both Ai and Risa said at the same time, which caused them to look at each others once again. But this time, they didn't start a staring competition. They just glanced at each others and kept on walking after their turtle friend.
They could manage with each others this day and they would avoid all kind of awkward situations. They would do their best with it.

----------------------------------------------

Sayu and Reina were found nearby the market place's edge, where they were chatting something. They both watched for a long while as Eri appeared with Risa and Ai, whom both seemed surprisingly casual about this situation. Like there was no tension at all between them and they were just going to spend some time with their friends at the town.

“Hi!”

Eri chirped happily, as she went so Sayu, giving her a small peck. The bunny smiled at her a bit, but soon she turned her gaze back towards Ai and Risa, who were just standing in front of them. She examined the two for a while, but before she could say a thing, her girlfriend already interrupted her.

“Shall we go then?” Eri as asked and took Sayu with her.

“Oh, yeah. Lets go....” Sayu mumbled as she followed her lover. Reina took soon after them, Risa and Ai following as well. It was quite odd to see these too at the same time without them trying to bite each others heads off. Maybe they both had finally calmed down some how. Of course Ai had changed back to herself but Risa had still quite a lot of reason's to be mad at the leader but there she was, standing beside her like nothing had happened. Of course no one could not see inside their heads and only God knew what they were thinking right now.

But in truth, both Ai and Risa were surprisingly calm. They even surprised themselves by how they could tolerate the other one. Of course it was a bit awkward to just walk here like they were some kind of friends, for they were not. They just... Knew each others and had quite awkward moments from time to time? Okay, all the time, when their eyes met...

“What were we supposed to buy?” Eri asked the others as she was happily dragging Sayu behind her.

“We have to get some food. That was what we were asked to buy. I have a list here...” Reina said as she took a small paper from her pocket. But before she could do or say anything more, the turtle was already going.

“Food it is then!” Eri yelled, snatching the list from Reina's hand and starting to walk quickly. Sayu tried to protest but for some reason, the turtle had A LOT OF ENERGY now and she was taking Sayu with her, thought the bunny tried to fight back. Soon, they were leaving the other three behind them.

“Oi, wait up!!” Reina yelled and ran across the street after her friends, leaving Risa and Ai behind.

“Hey!” Risa yelled and was just about to go after her friends, when she felt herself being pulled backwards. Yelping a bit, Risa hit something soft and soon she could hear some noises behind her. Looking over her shoulder, she could see a horse carriage moving on the street in quite a high speed. She would have gotten under that if someone hadn't pulled her out of the way!

'Chotto.....'

Realizing something, Risa looked up and saw that she was in Ai's arms now. The leader was holding her loosely and at the same time she was watching after the carriage with a frown.

“Damn, learn to drive slower, there are people out here...” She mumbled. Okay, if these two had had some awkward moments, this was on top of them all! Risa wanted to pull away, though she was thankful and all to the leader, but this was just a bit too close. But she just could not open her mouth or pull away.

Luckily, the leader had watched the racing carriage enough and turned her face towards Risa. Now, even she seemed to realize their position, for this staring competition broke off again, both women having a deer in the headlights face. Ai was somehow on fire today, for she soon let Risa go, taking few steps back at the same time.

“Um... You okay?” She asked shyly, scratching her head a bit and finding her shoes suddenly very interesting. Risa rearranged her jacket, for it had opened a bit when Ai had pulled her.

“I am. I... Thanks.” She said quietly to the leader, who just nodded her head and walked pass her.

“I wonder where those three are....” Risa heard Ai mumble as she went with her after their friends, who were nowhere in sight right now. They walked in dead silence, neither being brave enough to even glance at the other one. Ai had just acted out of instinct when she had seen the carriage come, but it was still quite awkward to be so close with Risa, even though she had just saved her.
After walking about five minutes, they came to a crossroad. They both couldn't see their friends and now, they were having two roads to go.

“I think they went that way.”

Both said at the same time and pointed the same way. Again, an awkward staring competition broke off as the two could not get their eyes off from each others.
This time, Risa was the one to recover faster and she started to walk the street they both had pointed a while ago.

“This way it is then.” She said quickly, not even glancing at Ai. The leader just nodded her head and followed after her, trying to figure out where in the hell had their friends gone. They could really help with this awkward atmosphere. After walking 10 more minutes, the two decided to stop searching, for there were just too many people outside right now and finding that aho combi with a kitten would be very hard, if not even impossible.

Suddenly, the leader started to walk briskly towards one marketplace, which was selling some kind of vegetables and fruits. Risa raised an eyebrow and soon found herself following after the leader, who was now talking something with the shopkeeper. The man smiled at the leader, who pointed out something, the shopkeeper fetching it and giving the leader what she wanted. After a moment, Ai thanked the man and started to leave almost bumping into Risa.
They looked at each others, but Risa found the bag Ai was carrying more interesting now than their usual staring contest.

“What did you buy?” Ai watched the bag in her hands and opened it slowly, revealing it content to Risa. Curiously, the younger girl peeked inside the bag only finding some reguarl, fire red apples.

“Apples?” She questioned, but Ai just shook her head.

“They are not normal apples.”

Risa looked the leader with a huge question mark hanging above her head. What did she mean? The leader took one apple from the bag, tapped it's side few times with her finger and held it then so, that Risa could see the fruit clearly. She stretched her hand towards Risa, making some eye contact with her. What on earth was she now doing?

“Think about something.” Ai said sternly as she kept on holding the apple. Now Risa was lost. What the hell was Ai talking?

“What the...”

“Just think something. Something, where you have harbored some of your feelings. It can be anything.”

As the leader kept on holding the fruit towards her, Risa decided to have a go. For she didn't know what would happen next, she decided to play a safe card and think something happy or funny.

'Well, Eri should do....'

She thought as she remembered that girl's gentle angle like smile. It really made her feel warm inside and like everything was fine in this world without war and violence. Just peace.
Suddenly, there was some kind of light and as Risa turned to look, she saw the apple in Ai's hand glisten oddly. Suddenly, the whole apple jumped few centimeters up and flashed brightly. Risa stirred her eyes a bit but what she saw soon, made her eyes pop wide open. Instead of an apple there was a single white rose on Ai's palm now. The leader took a hold of the flower and examined it for a while, before she turned the gaze towards Risa again.

“You thought of peace and something with purity.”
The leader said calmly, swirling the rose in her hand, examining it a little bit more. Then something caught her eyes and she paused for a while, before she spoke again:

"And judging by this turtle shaped leaf... You thought about Eri?"

“How did you....” Risa was speechless. She had thought exactly that kind of things and then, just out of nowhere that fire red apple just turns into a white rose! What was this? Ai just smiled shortly as she just watched the former apple, now a flower in her hand.

“It's one kind of magic...” She said quietly. Risa frowned a bit at this, for she could clearly see that it was magic, but what the heck was the meaning of this all? “...a magic, which can give you almost anything you just imagine about.”

Finally Ai turned her gaze towards Risa, as she handle the rose to her. Risa took it after hesitating a bit. She was still quite out of this all and she truly hoped that the leader would explain this to her.
After giving the flower away, Ai started to walk again, Risa following soon after. Oh no, she would not escape this thing! She would explain Risa about this thing.

“Those apples are very rare and they grow only in one place. Few know that place and I was quite surprised to see that someone had found them and brought here to be sold.”

Just when Risa was about to question more, Ai started to talk about these magic apples. Deciding to want to know more, Risa kept her mouth shut, so the leader could continue.

“If you know how to use magic on those apples, they will turn so, that whatever the person is thinking about the apple will turn into something like that.”

Risa watched the flower in her hand. She indeed had thought about peace and as she thought about Eri, she had also thought about some innocence as well.

“But, It was you holding the apple, not me. How did it catch my thoughts?”

“I made it.”

Oh, so this great leader of the Team Alfa was some kind of apple wizard?

“I made it to catch yours and only your thoughts." Ai continued, as they kept on walking. "The apple can be made to catch anyone's thoughts and even many people's thoughts at the same time. The thing which the apple will transform can also be regulated. I made it to turn into something small and as you can see, it turned into a one single rose.” There was a silence as the two kept on walking, Risa examining the flower all the time.

“What kind of things can you do with these then?”

“If you're skilled enough, you can do anything with those.”

“Anything?”

"Anything, expect something which is a living and breathing thing. In other words, these cannot turn into animals or human."

Ai said and Risa after hearing this, stopped in her tracks. After noticing. that the younger one was not following her anymore, Ai stopped as well and turned to watch what was wrong. Risa was deep in thoughts for a while, before she looked Ai in the eyes.

“Can you... Can you make something with these things in the war?” She asked quietly. Okay, it sounded stupid to help fighting with apples, but if someone “guru apple wizard” would manipulate these things a bit, could she or he turn these fruits in something that would help in gaining peace?

“In theory you can and that's why it's a good thing only few people know how to use those things.” The leader walked closer and took one one of the rose's pedals and examined it for a while.

“You can imagine all kind of good things with these apples, but there's always a danger, your thoughts will turn into a negative. These things wont accept only positive things. You can decide whose thoughts it will adapt, but you can't choose which thoughts it will take and which it will ignore. Just by one strong negative emotion, these harmless things can turn into something horrible.”

Suddenly, Ai crushed the pedal in her palm, causing it to scatter in little pieces. Risa watched the scene in front of her, somehow understanding what the leader meant. But what horrible things could these do then?

"What horrible can these things do?" Risa questioned. Ai was silent for a while, before she turned to look up at the sky.

"There's a myth that says these things are able to destroy even civilization..." She said darkly, examining the crushed pedals in her hand. "And that's enough information for me. I don't want to experience what these things could do if someone let a too big negative emotion manipulate them..."

The leader continued, as she turned back to Risa, who was still quite out of this all apple things.

“That's why, we are lucky these things grow only in this land and our enemy doesn't know about these. In here, these are used only for fun, like festivals and so.” There was a silence as Ai let the now crushed petal pieces float to the ground while Risa was following her actions. Then, out of nowhere, something hit her which caused her to chuckle a bit. Ai frowned as she raised her head up and faced the younger girl again.

“Wha... What is it?” She asked carefully, which Risa answered with a bit bothered smile.

“Well it's just that... We are having a normal conversation here...” The leader's eyes got wider as Risa's words sunk in her head and immediately, she took few steps backwards having a very confused look on her face. This confused also Risa. What now?

“I'm... I'm sorry.. I should not have talked so much...”

Well now Risa was totally out. What the heck was the other one talking about? Or more likely, why was she saying sorry for she had had a conversation with Risa?

“EEH? Why are you saying sorry?” Risa questioned, but Ai just mumbled something incoherent as she tried to get some distance to Risa. It was probably her mind state, for it still might be a bit unstable. At first, Risa thought to leave the thing be, but she could not really leave Ai like that. She should tell her it was okay, if they had a conversation and in truth, Risa was truly happy that they could finally be with each others like normal people did. She hadn't even realized how casually they had talked just a while ago and she bet, that the leader had not noticed it either.

Just when Ai decided it was her time to leave, Risa grabbed her hand and prevented the escape. Ai turned to look her with a shocked expression, for she really didn't know how Risa would react to this. But the younger one just kept her hold. She would not let things get ruined now.

“Hey, there's no reason to apologize.” Risa tried to reassure. Ai was silent, but her sad face gave the bean a message that she was somehow bothered by something.

“I just meant it like... Well it's nice that we had this conversation.” This caused Ai to raise her head up. Risa could not help but chuckle a bit as she saw the leaders face, for she really reminded her of a deer who had just been scared by something.

“I... I... Tho...” Ai tried to say something, but the words just didn't come out of her mouth. But somehow she managed to gather her verbal skills, which tried to escape, and opened her mouth:

“I... I thought that... You didn't like this...” The leader spoke a bit unclearly, but somehow the bean caught her message. Again, Risa was a bit outside but she decided to dig out what the leader was hiding from her.

“Didn't like what?”

“Mmm....”

“Come on. You can say it.”

“... Talking or just being with me. I know that... You don't... You don't like me...” The deer in the headlights face was replaced by a sad one once again, as the leader turned to examine the ground. Risa kept a stern face as she rolled Ai's words in her head. It was true, that she was not very comfortable when being around Ai when it was just the two of them. But she was also very happy that they didn't fight. She was happy she could be with Ai in the same place and space without having a feeling to kill someone. And it was true, that Risa was still quite hurt of what Ai had done to her but as her friends had said, Ai had not been herself for a long time. Now, she was recovering and Risa could see, how there was a whole different person under that rude and cold mask of hers. She wasn't the best friends with Ai and she didn't like her much, but she didn't hate her either. She was just... How could she say it? Ai was still quite an unknown person to her, so that's why she could not really hate or like her. Taking a deep breath, Risa turned her lips upwards and forced a small smile on her face. But it was not as forced as she had thought it would have been.

“Hey, It's not like that. If I didn't like you on some level, I would not have been with you for this long.” There was again a silence as Ai slowly turned her gaze towards Risa. Could this be? This girl who she had hurt without a reason was saying she liked her at least on some level? She could bear the leader around her?

“But... But I did something horrible...”

“Yes you did,” Risa answered, maybe a bit too quickly, for the leader jumped a bit backwards. Risa however kept a hold of her hand, for she was not finished yet. “but you're not doing those things now, are you?”

Again, Ai just stared at the younger one, who was waiting for her answer.

“No...”

“Are you willing to do those things to me now?”

“No... God, no...”

Risa smiled, this time having a bit sad smile. Though she knew she was doing the right thing, it was just so damn hard. Part of her just wanted to shout at Ai and kick her under the ground, so that she could get her revenge of all the things she had to suffer because of this leader. But in the end, it would only make Risa even worse than what Ai had been and it would not give her any kind of pleasure. Being kind to the leader and trying to create a new beginning would hurt now, but in the end, that would give Risa more pleasure than the revenge. She was sure of it.

“Well then... I think there's no reason for me to act distant to you. In my opinion, there's no reason why we could not interact normally.” The bean said, smiling quite naturally at the same time. Ai stared in those chocolate eyes, which reminded her of her one angel like friend. If Eri had been in Risa's place now, Ai was sure that the turtle would have said something like this too. But could Ai just accept this all? She had done nothing good to this girl and yet she wanted to try again with their "relationship".

“We don't have to be the best of friends or friends at all. I just... I just don't want to be in fight with anyone and especially with someone who is close to my friends. I just want that we can be in the same space without fights and hatred. Can we... Can we work for that?”

Ai could not believe her ears. She really had thought that Risa hated her, but now she was literally asking her to try things out between them one more time. Ai knew she should not accept this but before she said anything, she thought things again. Risa had all the rights to just leave her, mock her and even punch her and even that would never replace all the pain she had caused to this girl.

And yet, here she was standing in front of her, preventing the leader's escape and asking to be at least in some kind of good terms. If Ai refused now, it would be rude, but if she accepted, she would make a service to Risa. That would not replace all the pain, but it would be at least something. Also, Ai didn't want to be in bad terms with this girl. She knew she would have to interact with her a lot, for she was a warrior too and they really needed to get along at least on some level. Also, Risa was very close with the leader's team and friends too, so making a deal with Risa, the ledaer would affect her friends too. Yes, Ai knew her answer to Risa's question now.

“Yes, we can.”

Immediately, a real smile lit on the younger ones face as she heard the leader's answer. This all awkwardness would hopefully end and they could also forget all the hatred they had had towards each others. They both truly hoped this, for this brooding atmosphere around them had eaten both of their strength. Now, they could finally be around each others without being tense and thinking all kind of unpleasant things.

“Oi! I found them!!”

Suddenly a voice interrupted and both Risa and Ai turned to look towards the sound. Eri was approaching them and she was followed by Reina and Sayu who had a lot of all kind of stuff with them.

“Eri, why are they carrying so much stuff?” Ai asked as the turtle parked beside the duo. Eri glanced behind her back and then looked at the leader like she had just made a stupid question.

“Well someone had to lead this thing!”

“In buying food?”

“Yeah? Had I not led this, these two would have made things a lot more complicated.”

“And I think these things are killing my back....” Reina groaned as she reached her friends with Sayu. Both let the things they were carrying fall to the ground and followed soon after their shopping.

“Hey, it's not that heavy! You have only about 10 bags, same as Ai has and you... WAIT!” Suddenly the turtle took hold of the bag Ai was holding and peeked inside. She turned the puppy eye look to the leader, who just chuckled a bit.

“Yes, I brought some for you too. There you go.” The leader said as she handed one apple from the bag to her friend. Immediately, Eri snatched the fruit from Ai's hand and bit on it.

“OISHIII!!!” She mumbled as she had her mouth full of apple.

“So you can also eat those?” Risa asked as she watched the overjoyed turtle eat the apple.

“Yes and they are very delicious. Here have one.” And with that, Ai held out a apple for Risa too, which the younger one took. After examining the fruit, the bean took a small bit from it and immediately a very sweet and gentle taste covered her mouth. It was something as sweet as honey, but not too sweet and it felt like she was eating a wool. This indeed was good!

“They are just like normal apples, if you wont do any kind of magic to them. These are just more sweet an even healthier than normal ones.”

Risa nodded her head towards the leader, for she had taken another bite and she could not talk while she had food in her mouth.

“Okay great, now you made that aho even more unusable....” Sayu moaned as she watched her lover take the last bites of the fruit. She got always completely out of control when she even saw those red apples. Ai just chuckled as she walked beside the dropped bags and took a few of them.

“Oh, now she has energy to do anything. Come on Kamei, lets carry these things to the king's Palace and I'll give you more off these.” Ai said, tapping the bag in her arm gently, which caused Eri to ran to the bags and take at least half of them.

“Well let's go then! Hurry up!” Soon, there was the world fastest turtle running through the streets with a lot of food bags on her back, shouting everyone to give her way.

“See? You just have to know the ways how to use the energy she gets from these.”

“You know you have to give her at least two for this...” Sayu mumbled from the ground.

“No worries. I bought quite a lot of these and I need just few for the festival. You go rest with Reina and Risa and I'll take these to the king. See you.” The leader took the last bags, and started to leave. She gave a small smile to her friends and when she passed Risa, she kept that smile. Nodding her head once, which Risa answered with an equal smile and nod as well, the leader left the market place and went to hunt the apple crazy turtle.

Risa felt quite happy, for she finally could act like she wanted to act towards everyone, nice and polite. She didn't have to even force her smile as Ai had passed her and that made her feel warm inside.

“Well that was new.” Sayu said as she got up with Reina from the ground. She had really thought she new her turtle, but Ai seemed to know something even she didn't know. Well, in the end leader had to know her group, ne?

“Well, I think I am off to home now then. Or do you guys have something special in mind?” Sayu asked. Both Reina and Risa looked at each others, shaking their heads. No, this grocery shopping had been all they had planned for this day and now with it done, they really didn't have any kind of special thing to do.

“I think I'll head home too...” Risa said as she took the last bite of her apple, the sweet taste caressing her palate.

“I can go with you. I live at the way, so we can walk together.” Reina offered, which Risa accepted happily. When the kitten turned to face Sayu again, she was met by something she had expected. Sayu had a frown on her face, but as Risa turned to say something, the bunny changed her face, smiling now gently.

“Well I think we are off then. We'll see you Sayu. Take care!”

“Yes, see you and you too. Bye!”

And with that the three friends went to their own ways, Reina going with Risa, who was oblivious of this small eye chat with her two friends a while ago.

-----------------------------------------------

You will see in the future that I like those apples a lot  :lol:

Hopefully you enjoyed this chapter!!

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 22/ 29/03
Post by: rndmnwierd on March 30, 2013, 07:59:44 AM
Yay, Takagaki works out their differences! Mostly! Now onto happiness! Except I'm sure it's not so easy, especially with what Reina and Sayu have going on with the frowny looks and all.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 22/ 29/03
Post by: alwaysYou on March 30, 2013, 02:21:20 PM
Quote
Go for Takagaki!! Forget Tanagaki!!
THIS! XD

Thanks for ensuring this will be a TakaGaki fic  :lol: :lol: :lol:
Huge sucker for them too.. I was worried that it will have too much of TanaGaki :lol:


Seeing such Aichan is weird..LOL..

Is the apple an impt item that bring TakaGaki to the next level???  :lol:

It seem like sayu doesn't really support Reina being interested in Gakisan..I wonder why..Or does she? But with those frowny looks, seem not..


Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 22/ 29/03
Post by: darkacex99 on March 31, 2013, 09:31:24 PM
 :bleed eyes: :bleed eyes:  :bleed eyes:   :bleed eyes:  :bleed eyes: :bleed eyes:  :bleed eyes:   :bleed eyes:  :bleed eyes: :bleed eyes:  :bleed eyes:   :bleed eyes:  noooo.....no tanagaki....oh well..... :lol: that wont stop me XD

ok finally risa and ai were able to have a decent conversation  :) i glad for that....but sayu and risa still acting kinda wierd before eri popped up...wonder wats going on with them :O i hope its not something that will make eri sad :cry:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 23/ 01/04
Post by: MsSmigge on April 01, 2013, 08:17:29 PM
As I said fast updateee~

rndmnwierd: Yes onto happiness with them, but not quite yet~ XD

alwaysyou: I am just so bad pairing them with someone else. And about those apples... I would like to say something, but then I would spoil too much XD

darkacex99: Nooo, do not make that bleeding face  :bleed eyes: I hate it when I have to disappoint someone.. I hope, you can still enjoy reading this story
XD

And for everyone: First, thank you for your interest once again and you are all going to get answer for Sayu's frowny looks, Reina's staring and such in the next two chapters XD

Next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 23 – The festival of red leaves


“Ano, Risa...”

“Yes?”

Risa said a bit too eagerly, as she whipped her head towards Reina. Finally, the silence between them was broken. The duo had walked for ten minutes now and neither had said a word during that time. Both had wanted to say something, but nothing clever just hadn't come in their minds. The situation had reminded Risa a bit of her and Ai's usual mute school, but this was Reina, a person she had never had problems with social situations.

“I was just... Mm... In your village, did you go to the festival with someone?” The kitten asked a bi shyly and Risa had hard time to hear what she was mumbling.

“Yeah, sometimes. But it was more like a date if you went with someone.”

Hearing Risa's answer, Reina suddenly turned her shocked face towards the bean and started to wildly wave her arms up and down.

“Oh! that is not what I meant!” The kitten shouted. She finally calmed down her arms and ended up scratching her head as she tried to figure out what to say next.

“I just... I just thought that maybe you would like to go with me. I mean, you are new here and all and you might want someone to show our festival in here and it would also be less awkward and....”

The rest of the sentence came so fast that Risa hardly kept up with Reina. But she got the main point, which was the younger girl asking her to go with her to the festival. Back at home, this would have been counted as a date! But Reina had probably just wanted to make sure that Risa would be all right during the festival time and if she faced some kind of difficulties, there would be someone beside her. Yes, it was probably that.

“I... Yes.”

“EH?”

“Yes, I'll go with you.” The bean said a bit shyly as she answered. Reina was quiet for a while, before a relieved smile lid on her face.

“Great! I'll come to pick you up at the festival evening!”

“But wont we go with the others?” Risa asked. She had thought that they would go with the rest of the girls even though she would “go with Reina”.

“Nah, we have always gone alone to these things. that is why, I asked you in the first place. And... And also because I want to spend the festival with you....” The kitten said, blushing a bit at the same time as she spoke. This made Risa's heart jump quicker in her chest. No one had never said something like this to her and now Reina was asking her to go with her to the festival and wanted to spend her time in there with the bean! Woah.

“Oh, it's my home...” Risa said out of nowhere and stopped, Reina following in suit. She had hoped she could spend some more time with Reina, but this was the end of the road now. But at least the festival would be in few days and then, she could spend her time with Reina. Also, they would probably hang around again tomorrow, so there was really no reason to be sad.

“Yeah.. But hey, we'll meet probably soon. Lets talk about things more then.” Reina said smiling as she took Risa's hand. She held it gently and nodded at the bean, who in turn blushed a bit at the contact and that smile. Okay, she really had to calm down now. This was not a crush, this was just something else. Who would not feel good if someone showed you some attention?

“Un. We'll see.”

“Yes. Well then, good bye.” Reina said quietly, giving Risa's hand a small squeeze before letting it go.

“Good bye...” Risa said back and with that, Reina started to walk away but she did not get far away when she suddenly spun around. But she did not stop either, but kept on walking backwards.

“Oh, by the way....” The kitten said as she continued moving "forwards"

“Yes?”

A smile was visible on Reina's lips as she looked at the bean.

“It's good to see you and Boss in good terms now. Really, for both of you.”

This caused Risa to smile too, for it indeed was a great thing she would get along with Ai now. She nodded her head towards Reina and waved at her, the kitten copying her her actions till she started to walk normally again. Risa watched after her, till she could not see the kitten anymore. She went inside her home and went straight to her bed. She collapsed on the blanket, smiling all the time. She had made some kind of peace with Ai and now, she would have some together time with Reina and her other friends in few days at the festival. Life was just so great.

--------------------------------------

So came the festival day and as Reina had said, these few days before it were spent with the usual four-friend group. Eri had insisted that Ai would join them, but the leader had had some kind of job to do at the Palace. Risa had heard that Ai was quite a workaholic and since she was in charge of some preparations for the festival, she was of course working. She would finish what she had started and there was no option like leaving things to be or giving up with something.

This yer too, Yoshizawa had hired the young warrior to do the preparations with the festival, because Ai knew how to handle it; she had done the preparations to the festival for years now and it was almost like a routine for her now. Also, it freed Miki and Goto, so they had time to do their own plans and train their men. Ai was already able to practice, but she had still one week to go before she was allowed to join the training again. It was just for her safety, for Goto and Miki wanted to make sure that she had fully recovered before she came back. Using her extra energy, the leader made sure to help as much as possible during the festival time, for she really had free time now.

The village had been busy for a long time, but now it reached it climax: Everyone was doing their last minute shopping, stressing about their dress or how the festival would go. Especially children were about to explode from exitement, for the festival time was usually a memorable time for them. For one day, they could do almost anything they wanted, they could play around the Palace and they could get all kind of goods which were not available all the time.

Risa was also preparing herself for the festival. She had received a dress suit from Yoshizawa, for she was a soldier now, she got clothes and equipment from the Palace. The dress suit was almost the same as the black suit they wore everyday, but it was more neat and it had some kind of decoration on it. In a very deep red color, there was a dragon picture in the back of the jacket and with the jacket came a deep red belt where the swords could be tied. The dress was also a bit more comfortable than the casual dress and it had the same space to move, for if they were attacked, the soldiers had to be able to act immediately. That was also the reason why they carried swords with them. Because of this, Yoshizawa had made the coats a bit longer so the swords would not show so well. It was festival in the end and the war had to be forgotten for a while. Also, the coat being a bit longer did not have any kind of effect to the fighting and if it had, they could always cut the extra length away with sword and fight without it.

Just when Risa had adjusted her belt on her waist, there was a knock on the door. She almost ran to the door, for she knew who it was. And indeed, when she opened the door there stood no one else than Reina. She was leaning on the door frame, her arms crossed in front of her and a smoldering smile was decorating her lips. Soon, the smile turned into a smirk as Reina straightened herself and and handed one red rose to Risa.

“Happy red leaf festival.”

Risa blushed a bit as she took the flower from Reina.

“Thank you.”

“So, shall we go?” Reina asked, offering her arm to Risa, who nodded and took it. She put the rose in her chest pocket, where it could be seen a bit. It was already dark, though it was just late noon but at this time of the year, darkness came more early than at the summer. The streets were full of lights, made by magic and everything was under red. People were already heading to the Palace, where the main evening was spent. The festival had been going for a week now and it always ended at the seventh day, when everyone would head to the Palace and celebrate in the final party. Yoshizawa had intended that everyone should come to there, for it had the most space and it was like made to keep this kind of things. Before her, the rulers had kept it in the town center, but Yoshizawa really did not like that place to keep a festival. Also, this way she could again get closer to her own people.

“Are Eri and the others in the Palace already?” Risa asked her companion as they started to get closer to the party place.

“Yeah, I think they are. Eri always wants to be early in the festival and Sayu is of course with her. Ai in turn has always answered about the preparations so she has been in the Palace for the whole day.” Reina explained, as they walked towards the huge building in front of them. There were already a lot of people and more came all the time. They entered the Palace gates and Reina guided Risa immediately to a small market places, which were placed in one big street which went around the whole building.

“Lets go check them.” Reina said and started to drag Risa after her.

“You know where they are?” The kitten chuckled a bit and winked at Risa.

“there is always one place open before others and Eri is every year the first one to visit that.”

So, Reina dragged the now a bit confused bean behind her and started to walk towards a small booth. It was selling some kind of candies and there were already two people in front of it.

“Remember when Eri got crazy about the apple Ai gave her last time?”

“Yes?”

“This place sells one kind of candy made of a same apple specie as that “magic apple” was. Eri claims that this one is not as good as the original one. And every year.she wants to be the first one to taste these candies. Also, the shop keeper is a good friend of ours, so he always lets Eri to be the first one.”

They finally arrived at the booth, where Sayu noticed them. She waved at her friends and called for Eri. Soon, the turtle appeared with her lap full of some kind of candies which were in a small sticks.

“Oh, Reina, Risa! Good to see you!” She said happily, giving her friends each one candy.

“Happy red leaves festival! Remember to wish.” She chirped happily and started to eat her candy. Reina chuckled a bit while Sayu just sighed and rolled her eyes. Every year, Eri would also give her friends one of these candies, for she believed a person could make a wish, if she ate one of those.

“You are not eating these things anymore...” The bunny mumbled as she tried to snatch the candies away from her girlfriend, but it was a mistake. Immediately, a short blade, which was still in it's sheat was pointed towards the bunny, who just mumbled something and raised her hands up in defeat.

“Do. Not. Ever. Do. That. Again.”

Reina could not hold her laughter anymore, but Risa was quite shocked. The angle Eri was like a small devil now, who got angry even at her fully and truly embrace and cherishr, if her candies were stolen.

“Imagine, if I tried to get those apples from her....” Sayu whispered at Risa, who also could not help but chuckle a bit. Though this might have seemed a bit dangerous, they knew Eri could never really hurt them. It was just a bit shocking how the girl would over react so much just because of some candies, though...

Only now, did Risa notice that her hair was quite the same as Eri's: They both had their hair in a loose side ponytail, causing their brown locks to hang over their other shoulder. The only difference was the color and the length of the hair. While Eri had a bit shorter and darker hair, Risa's was clearly lighter brown color and it almost reached her mammary glands. The turtle also had a white flower as a decoration in her hair. If someone watched them from a distance, they would be mixed very easily.

Suddenly, there was a loud bang and a birght flash shot through the sky. A huge firework had been launched, which gained everyone's attention.

“It has begun.” Reina whispered and now, even Eri concentrated on something else than her precious candies. The silence which followed after the fireworks was cut by music and soon after it had started, two persons appeared at the end of the stairs, which led inside the Palace. Risa recognized the two immediately, for they were no one else than Miki and Goto, who were also wearing their dress suits. They were the same as every other soldiers, but their suits had dark blue pictures on them. Also, the general and captain were probably carrying more weapons than the others, but they also knew how to hid them well.

After checking the courtyard, Goto and Miki moved a bit to the side and snapped in attention, so that they were now forming a two person alley. After them, came Yoshizawa with Rika and Akira, their son walking between her parents holding both of their hands. The kid was acting very composedly, but everyone could see how he waited to be set to free. Rika had a small and polite smile and her being was like straight from a royal guidebook. Yoshizawa was the same, but she was absolutely shining. It was so good to see her village's people, all of them, gathered in one place and celebrating with all their hearts. The family stopped at the stairs end and Yoshizawa raised her hand, greeting the village.

Immediately, there was a burst of clapping and cheering as people showed their favour to the king. Then, Yoshizawa lowered her hand, the courtyard silencing immediately and with them, the music died down too. The king waited for a moment, before she started to speak:

“My friends, welcome! It's once again time for the red leaves festival, the festival everyone has waited for. Everything is under red as the last leaves have dropped down. With that, we can welcome the incoming winter. I truly hope this week has been enjoyable for every one of you and so, I hope tonight, too. Now, celebrate my friends. Forget all the worries and celebrate, till the morning sun rises.”

And with that, Yoshizawa waved her hands a bit and the small band started to play again. It was quite fast and happy song, which caused everyone's spirits to get high. The king and the queen turned to their son, giving some advice to him. Rika also crouched down and straightened the little prince's dress, which was the same as the king's, dark blue, with lighter blue picturing. Rika in turn had a red suit, which only had a broad black belt. Yoshizawa's and Akira's dresses reminded the soldiers dresses, while Rika's reminded more of a kimono.

After giving a quick kiss on Akira's head, Rika got up and stood beside her spouse. Yoshizawa reached out and ruffled her son's black hair a bit, which caused Rika to pout, for she had just arranged the hair well. Then, the young prince got a permission to go and immediately, he dashed the stairs down and into the human group, which was now moving all around the Palace's yard. He was not alone however, for there was two pairs of eyes watching after him as Goto and Miki slowly started to follow him. It was their duty to keep him safe, but they would do it from the distance, for they were capable of protecting the kid without being all the time beside him. That would just ruin the boy's festival plus it was not very likely to someone attack him. But this all was just for security, he was the prince of this country in the end and if something happened to him, Rika would make sure that the two higher ranking leader's would suffer a slow and tormenting death.

After their son had gone, Yoshizawa offered her arm to Rika, which the queen happily took. The royal couple descended the stairs, going to the group like they were normal citizen enjoying the festival.

“Sa! IkimPosteriorhoo!” Eri chirped happily after the king's speech, taking Sayu by surprise as she started to drag the bunny after her. Risa was about to go after them, but damn that turtle was fast. In no time, Sayu and Eri had both disappeared in the middle of the human mPosterior and it was impossible for Risa to follow them.

“It's no use to go after Eri during the festival time. She is like a kid who has gotten too much sugar...” Reina said as she came closer to Risa. She did not tell it to the bean, but she was a bit delighted that Eri and especially Sayu had went their own way, for now she had some time to be alone with Risa.

“Yeah it seems so. Well, where shall we go then?” Risa asked the kitten as she spun around to face her. But Reina did not answer, she just stared ahead and it seemed like she was watching something behind Risa's back. The bean frowned and spun around to check her back, but there was nothing particular, which could have caught Reina's attention.

“Ano, Reina what are you looking at?” The bean asked, as she slowly turned back to her friend, who was still spacing out. Then, slowly, the kitten's eyes moved so that she was now staring Risa. This caused the bean to feel a bit embarrPosteriored, for it seemed like the other girl could not take her eyes away from her.

“R-Reina?”

“Uh? What?”

Reina was suddenly back on the earth as she heard her friends voice. Damn, she was caught at staring once again...

“Oh! It's nothing! You just look so pretty that I could not stop staring at you....”

Realizing what she had said, Reina shut her mouth and turned a bit away, Risa doing the same. They were both blushing quite much and Risa was sure her face was on fire right now. What the younger girl had just said, made a funny feeling raise in Risa's stomach once again and her face was showing right now to the world how she was feeling.

“So.... How about we go look what we have here this year?” Finally, Reina broke the awkward silence and took Risa's arm. The bean followed without protests, all the time trying to get her face to calm down. Somehow walking around and visiting all kind of game and shop booths, tamed her feelings and soon the two were like they usually were, when they spent their time together.

They went to all kind of different booths , Reina buying Risa some sweets which they ate at the same time they walked on. This festival in here was a lot bigger than in her home village and they also got all kind of different stuff in here! For example these candies, Risa had never ever even heard of these. But, though everything was so nice and wonderful in here, Risa could not help but miss her home once again. She missed all the nice people in there and her family. If she would be at home right now, she would be probably doing something fun with her younger sister.

“Look, Risa!!” Reina yelled suddenly, causing the older girl to look up. There was a huge firework again but this time, it fired all kind of shapes. First was a huge red flower, next was a tiger and then a dragon.

“Woah... It's gorgeous...” Risa whispered, as she watched the fireworks in awe, a small smile waving on her lips. Oblivious of her surroundings, Risa did not notice how the kitten was staring her at the same time as she was examining the fireworks. Only when she felt tugging in her arm, did Risa lower her gaze down.

“Come on, lets go.”

Reina said, her voice sounding a bit weird, and with that the kitten started to drag Risa after her once again, the older one not having a clue where they were heading to. As they had walked some time, Risa finally dared to ask Reina about their destination.

“So where are we going next?”

Suddenly Reina stopped and looked around her, till she spotted a big tent a few meters away. Without a word, she started to drag Risa after her and when they got to the tent, the kitten pulled the bean inside it. This made the bean feel a bit uncomfortable, because Reina did not answer her and was acting quite oddly. What was she up to?

Risa looked around in the dim light. She had seen a sign “fortune teller” outside the tent and she really wondered why Reina had brought her here. Also, there was no one inside, for the person who took care of this spot had put a sign, that she or he was on a break now.

“Reina, why did you brought us here?”

Reina was quiet again as she examined the place, making sure that the tent indeed was empty. Then, she went to Risa, smiling at the same time as she took the bean's hands in hers.

“Because there is no one else in here.”

This caused Risa to blush again as she realized that they indeed were alone in this tent now, no one seeing them. At the same time, ideas what the younger one could be planning right now, started to pop in her mind and Risa's imagination was set free. Immediately, her cheeks started to turn red and she was sure, that the temperature also got a lot higher than it in reality was.

“Also, I wanted to go to the fortune teller.” Reina added suddenly, causing Risa to frown a bit.

“You believe in that?”

“No, but it's just for fun.” Reina said chuckling as she guided Risa to a nearby couch. She sat down and implied Risa to do the same. As they both sat there, awkward silence fell again upon them. Their eyes met once in a while, which ended always in there, that both turned their heads shyly away, blushing.

'Damn, I must be as red as a tomato...' Risa thought as she nervously started to bite her lip.

'I got to do this now...'

Reina took Risa's hand once again in her own and waited, till the older girl turned her head towards her. The bean tried her best to hide her embarrPosteriorment, but it was no use, for her face was so red that she must have glowed in the dark like a lamp.

“To be honest... The reason I bought you in here is, that I got something to tell you...” Reina started as she drew small circles on Risa's palm, causing the other girl to tickle a bit. Risa in turn tried to keep her emotions in control and concentrate on what Reina was saying.

“Well of course, this place is empty and there is no one else, but...”

The drawing stopped and Reina took her other hand to raise Risa's chin up, when the bean had lowered it in order to follow Reina's drawing fingers. When their eyes met, Risa could not help but gasp a bit as she noticed the look Reina was giving at her: It was like the kitten was spacing out again, her eyes almost burning holes in Risa's.

“I think... No, I know, that... I... I like you...”

Reina said shyly, now both girls blushing deeply and struggling to eye contact with the other one. Risa was feeling suddenly a bit dizzy but she also had a funny feeling at the same time. It was all nice to hear that “I like you”, but was this what she really wanted? She had had all kind of emotions when Reina had teased her and though she was told it was just joking, it always made her feel fussy inside. But now, she was also thinking was this right. She really liked Reina, but was it that kind of liking? Would she really “like like” this girl?
Suddenly, Reina leaned a bit forwards, which caused Risa to freeze completely.

'Oh my gosh....' She thought as her friend's face came closer.

“you are so beautiful...”

Reina whispered as she leaned a bit more closer, their heads only about 10 centimeters away from each others. Now Risa really started to panic, for she was sure that her heart was going to jump out from her chest. Were they going to do it? Would they kiss? Was this right?

As Reina leaned closer, Risa got a feeling that this was not something she wanted. She felt happy, overjoyed and even a bit scared, but something was still missing. Though she knew it was Reina who was about to kiss her, Risa suddenly got a feeling that the person in front of her was not her friend, but someone else. It sounded stupid but that was how she was feeling right now. Also, even if it had felt like Reina was her own self, Risa would still have this uncomfortable feeling.

As she thought about the approaching kiss, Risa got suddenly a urge to pull away. She did not want this with Reina, though she liked her. They were friends, very close ones, but just friends. And also, as she had thought a while ago, this was not her friend in front of her, it was someone else...

But Risa could not pull out anymore. Her body had frozen and as Reina came closer, she could only close her eyes and wait for the approaching kiss, though her mind was screaming to pull away.

But then, then moment froze totally. As Reina was just about to place her lips on Risa's, something that made them both open their eyes in shock, happened: Just before the impact, the kitten opened her mouth and whispered quietly, but so, that Risa could clearly hear what she said:

“Eri...”

-----------------------------------------

Aaand I am evil and leave it here~ Next chapter will be posted someday this week. Hope you enjoyed!  :P

And happy April's fool day for everyone! I haven't fooled anyone, but I have already been fooled at least for three times...  :wahaha:  :nervous
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 23/ 01/04
Post by: darkacex99 on April 01, 2013, 09:35:45 PM
kool a super fast update O0 i was juss being dramatic with all those bleedng faces XD im still gunna enjoy ur story, no worries :D


i like the tanagaki goin on in this chapter so im content :cathappy:

the cliffhanger is killing me :banghead: wats going to happen next??? dun dun DUNNNN!!! XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 23/ 01/04
Post by: rndmnwierd on April 01, 2013, 10:46:23 PM
I facepalmed so hard, I almost knocked myself out. Really, Reina? Really?
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 23/ 01/04
Post by: alwaysYou on April 02, 2013, 03:14:50 PM
TanaGaki  :shocked
Don't allow anyone to kiss you if you dont love that person! Miss Niigaki!  :angry:
Should i thanks Eri..XD..But why is she there?

Quote
Next chapter will be posted someday this week
can i take this as your april fool joke? since someday this week can mean Sunday and its too far from now!!!!  :lol: :lol: :lol:

Quote
alwaysyou: I am just so bad pairing them with someone else. And about those apples... I would like to say something, but then I would spoil too much XD
just say it!  :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 23/ 01/04
Post by: carzung on April 04, 2013, 03:39:59 PM
Hi it's first time for me to reply your fic but I'm read your fic for along time may be since chapter 1, sorry about that  :nervous

I'm really like your story especially Risa is the main role and about your writing, it's make me excited everytime I'm read.  :twothumbs

Actually, in this fic, first I'm hope for GakiKame but Kame already has the bunny so I switch to TanaGaki but you just make me  :cry:, But I don't mind TakaGaki at all. they're one of my favorite couple.

Thank you for wonderful fic  :wub:     
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 23/ 06/04
Post by: MsSmigge on April 06, 2013, 04:01:44 PM
darkacex99: Ah, that makes my heart feel lighter XD You go find out now what happens next~

rndmnwierd: Oi, I don't want to anyone get hurt because of my fic XD Though, I started to think how would it look, if someone facepalmed and fainted... Oh my  :lol:

Alwaysyou: Well, at least it was not meant to be an April fool... But hey, now is Saturday and it's "closer" than Sunday? Nee?  :lol: And nope, I wont say anything too much, or this story will be revealed too quickly~

carzung: Hiiii, new reader!!  :welcome Awww, man I disappointed another one with the pairings  :bleed eyes: Hope to see you around here some more~


Thank you for your comments and interest everyone. They all made me happy again~  :wub:

So, here's the next chapter as I promised.
The next one will be... Someday in the future  :nervous Guess who is off to training, once again? Yes, me.  :bleed eyes: I also received my material for the exam I have in few months and I got to say, that if I want to understand at least something about it, I have to read it through with concentration about 10 times... Really, it's so damn confusing text that I really have to use my time with it. Damn you university...

Anyways, here's the next chapter~



Chapter 24 – The magic of the red leaves


There was a deep silence inside the tent, as the two warriors were staring each others, their eyes wide open and faces only few millimeters apart. Risa looked deep in Reina's eyes, the kitten looking like she had just seen a ghost. They both could barely breath, all because of the heavy atmosphere which had landed around them just a moment ago and all this because of one name. A name, which Reina had slipped in a terribly wrong place and time.

'Did she say Eri?'

'Did I say Eri?'

They kept on staring each others awkwardly, till suddenly, Reina jumped. She stopped, leaving Risa to stare the now empty spot in front of her. Then, the kitten started to briskly walk away, this causing Risa to snap back from her thoughts.

“I'm sorry. I go now....” Reina mumbled, but was soon stopped by Risa.

“Reina, wait!” The bean shouted after the kitten, getting up as well. Reina stopped, but she didn't turn to face Risa. Damn, she was embarrassed now. She was about to kiss Risa and then she said Eri's name. What an idiot she was!

Risa tried to say something, but she just could not. She was at the same time very disappointed and relieved. Of course, if you're just about to be kissed and the other one says someone else's name, it makes you feel bad. But in Risa's case, she was a bit happy that they did not kiss. Reina was a very good friend, but the bean just could not think about something deeper between them. She wasn't quite sure why, but this was just how she felt.

By now, Reina had turned towards Risa. She had a very sad and sorrowful expression and it seemed like she was even scared to face this situation.

“I shouldn't have done this...” Reina whispered quietly, guilt and regret clear in her voice. Risa said nothing, she just repeated all this in her head and one question popped all the time on top of the others. Why had Reina said Eri's name? Did she... Did she like the turtle? But Eri was with Sayu and Reina knew it very well. Well, that didn't prevent anyone from liking someone...

“Reina, you... You like Eri?”

Risa decided to be bolt and solve this thing immediately. There was enough awkwardness in the air and the bean didn't intend to get anymore deeper than it was. The younger one was quiet again as she stared deep in Risa's eyes. The atmosphere was about to get awkward once again, but luckily Reina broke it before it got too uncomfortable.

“No.”

She said bluntly, looking immediately down. What was this? She had just tried to kiss her, saying Eri's name at the same time and now, she said she didn't like the girl. This just didn't match at all...

“I don't like her. I... I...”

Reina started to talk suddenly as she came a bit closer to Risa- She stopped a few feet away from her, leaving some space between them. In the end it felt a bit awkward to get close to each others now because of the little incident few moments ago. Risa waited Reina's answer, for she could clearly see that the other one was not finished yet.

“I. Don't. Like. Her...”

Reina repeated, raising her hands up at the same time, as if she was trying to summon something invisible to give her strength to keep on talking. Finally, she just let her hands drop down and at the same time her head fell down, too

“I... I lo-love.... E-Eri.”

Again, a silence. But now everything made sense to Risa as she counted one plus one in her head. All those spacing outs, acting sometimes a bit weird when close to Eri and now this confession. How come, that Risa had not noticed this before? But there were a lot of questions still in her mind.

“If you love Eri, then why did you approach me?” Risa asked after the silence. Yes, indeed why had Reina showed her feelings to Risa, if she loved Eri?

“I... Well how could I explain this...” The kitten mumbled as she scratched her head. She raised her head up and immediately remembered the reason she had gotten attracted so much by Risa this evening. A sad smile crept on Reina's lips again as she gave her answer to the other girl.

“Right now, you just look like her. Also, you're very much like her, by nature I mean. You're nice and gentle and you always think about others. I just....”

For a moment it seemed like Reina was going to do something as she took few steps towards the bean. but as soon as she got her eyes on Risa again, her being slouched and she was looking sad again. Risa in turn didn't quite catch what the other one was trying to tell her. As if reading her mind, the younger one walked pass her and sat on the couch they had occupied a while ago. When Risa turned around, she saw Reina implying her to sit down as well. When she got beside her the kitten kept silent for a while, before she started again:

“I think I have to tell you everything from the start.” She sighed deeply, like gaining all her powers so she could tell her story to Risa, who was waiting patiently Reina to be ready.

“As you know, we have been friends with Eri and Sayu since we were kids. We were always together and there wasn't a day we would not see each others somehow. By then, Eri was also very sweet and angel like person and everyone loved her. As we grew older, I fell for her, too, but I loved her not only as a friend but as something more...”

Reina kept a small pause to check that Risa was still following her. Noticing, that the bean was indeed listening to her, the kitten continued on:

“However, Eri saw me never nothing more as a friend. She thought that I was always joking with her when I flirted a bit with her, on purpose or not, she would not see it. I think it was partially because Eri had feelings for Sayu, who had supported her a lot. Of course, we both have supported Eri from the start of our friendship, but Sayu and Eri just have... Quite an unique relationship.”

There was another pause again as Reina gathered her thoughts again. It seemed like she was thinking carefully what she would say next and it made Risa feel that she was trying to hide something. However, before she could think this too much, Reina was back on her story already.

“As I realized by time, that I had no chance to get Eri, I turned to be her silent lover. We were still friends and all but every time we were together, I always had the thought how much I love her in the back of my mind. No matter how hard I tried to forget this, I just couldn't. Finally I gave up and accepted the fact that I was madly in love with her, but I could never have her. But it was okay with me, because I saw how happy Eri was with Sayu.”

A gentle smile formed on the warrior's lips as she remembered her loved one's beautiful smiling face. Seeing this, Risa was indeed happy that she and Reina had not kissed. Now that she had heard Reina's story, just seeing her smile like this and knowing that she was thinking of Eri... It was so obvious that she was deeply in love with Eri. There were no doubts about that

“But then you came...” Reina said, her smile dropping as she turned to Risa. This made Risa feel a bit scared, for she immediately thought that she had done some harm as she had appeared in these girls life. However, there was soon a smile on the kittens face again as she spoke to her friend:

“You immediately reminded me of Eri when we first met. I started to think, that maybe I can forget Eri, if I move on with someone else. You know, every time I told you I was just joking when I flirted with you... I must admit that I lied to you few times. Also, I have to admit, that I really had a crush on you, but every time I saw Eri, I was reminded who I really love. And tonight, as I saw how you had done your hair almost in the same way, I somehow tricked myself to think that I was with Eri. Now, I am truly sorry for all this, because I... I feel like I used you somehow.”

The smile faded away bit by bit as Reina kept on talking. Risa however never interrupted her. She waited that her friend had said everything she wanted to.

“And, I am not very sure of your feelings but just in case you would have liked me back... I just have to say that I can never ever have a proper relationship with anyone else than Eri. I just can't... She's always on my mind and no matter who I will ever meet, she's the only one I will ever love.”

Reina didn't continue talking anymore. She had said all she had on her mind about this and she was ready to be judged by Risa. She felt horrible, for she had tried to make a move on the bean and then she just backed away and revealed that she just kind of used the other girl so she could forget her former love.

“I'm sorry if I ruined your festival. I wont do it anymore, so I'll go n...”

“Wait.”

Before Reina could move even an inch, Risa had grabbed her arm and prevented  her from getting up. The kitten was quite confused, for she really thought that Risa would probably not want to talk or see her after what she heard. But the bean had opposite thoughts in her mind.

“Sit down.” She said to Reina, who did as asked. The awkward silence was about to return, but Risa having gotten enough of it, started to speak quite quickly after her friend had sat down again.

“I wont lie to you ans say I am okay with this all. But I want you to just know, that I wont blame you for anything.”

This surprised the other warrior quite much and she tried to say something, but Risa silenced her by raising her hand. She was not finished yet.

“I kind of... I kind of like you too, but only as a friend. I was very confused when you flirted with me and sometimes I even truly hoped that you would not be joking. But when I thought that if we were to have a relationship it just... It just didn't seem right somehow. And also, as I now know who you truly like and love, I am more than happy that we did not kiss a while ago.”

Showing a quick smile, Risa stood up and walked few steps, not really knowing what she was about to do. Reina stayed on the couch, following keenly what the bean would do next. She was quite surprised how Risa had reacted in this way, but then she remembered that this girl was as pure as Eri was. The turtle would've probably acted just like this, had she been in a same kind of situation. But thought Reina knew Risa would not be mad at her, she would not trust on that too much. She would accept anything the older girl said. If she wanted to be mad at her, it was okay with Reina. She was the one who had made a mistake when she had tried to flirt with the bean and then she just escaped when things almost got too serious. She had used Risa to forget and all the time, she had known deep inside of her that this would lead to nothing.

“Reina.” Risa called the warrior gently, snapping them both from their own thoughts.

“I don't want this thing to ruin or friendship. I want to stay in good terms with you, because I really think you're a great friend. But I think I need some time to sort my feelings out for a while..."

Reina watched the girl in front of her with a bit confused expression. She truly wanted to be in good terms with Risa too and she would not lose this friendship they had.

“Me either. And if it's okay to you, I am more than happy to be friends with you.”

Risa spun around ans showed a small smile to her friend, who returned it.

“That's good to hear. But like I said, I just need some time to myself now. I have to think about things...”
By now, Reina had gotten up and walked beside Risa. She was about to place a hand on the other girl's shoulder, but decided against it. Risa needed some room now and getting in physical contact with her might not be very good idea now.

“It's okay, I quite understand.” Reina said quietly. It felt bad to be away from the bean, but if her friend wanted some time alone and some room, Reina would give it to her.

“I'm sorry our festival time together got ruined...” Risa whispered suddenly, causing the kitten to frown.

“Hey, you have nothing to apologize! It was me in the end who got us into this with my stupid thoughts.”

“But it takes always two in this kind of things.”

“You could not have known...”

Reina said, finally laying the hand on Risa's shoulder, but she immediately pulled back as she realized what she had done.

“What now?” Risa asked a bit confused.

“Ano... I just...”

Realizing what might have bothered the kitten mind, Risa smiled warmly and took Reina's hand. She guided it on her shoulder, causing Reina to look at her with wide eyes.

“Friends can touch each others without feeling awkward, right?”

Reina was quiet for a while as she watched her hand which were held by Risa. Soon, she was smiling too, as the bean's words sunk in her head.

“Yeah... Friends...”

The two girls watched each others for a while, smiling like they hadn't had any kind of awkward situation this evening. They both wanted to be friends and they would not let this kind of incident to ruin it.

“Let's try not to be too awkward when we are around each others, okay?” Risa asked her friend, which Reina answered by nodding her head as she gave a last firm squeeze to Risa's hands, before letting go.

“I think I wont ruin your festival evening anymore. You can take care of yourself in here and you don't need me beside you. And... One more time, I am very sorry.”

“You didn't ruin it and stop with your apologizes." Risa said, keeping a smile on her face all the time. "Lets have fun while we can, ne?”

Reina smiled a bit too and nodded once again. She turned to leave, but just when she was about to exit the tent she turned around and smiled at the bean.

“To make this all up to you, I recommend you go to the east part of this Palace yard. There's one quite amazing show around midnight, which is in few hours. I really recommend you to got here, for you can see it in nowhere else. Or, well... At least, not the first part of it..." The kitten said, giving Risa her trademark smirk and wink.

But this time, it made Risa only smile. No funny feelings were felt nor anything awkward. Just a good feeling took hold of the bean, as she looked at her friend who seemed to be herself again.

“Okay. I try to remember to go there...”

“Don't try, go there. Have a nice evening and enjoy everything in here. See you.”

Reina said winking again as she finally left the tent, waiving at Risa as she went. The older one listened as Reina's steps got further away, till they disappeared in the crowd. Though they were in good terms right now, Risa could not help but feel a bit empty inside. But she knew this was the best way for both of them. Reina loved Eri, not Risa and she would never forget that girl. Things just would not work out, if she kept running after her loved one all the time. Also, as Risa had found out earlier, she was somehow relieved, that this did not end in a sweet kiss and confessions between them. Reina was just a friend, nothing more, nothing less. They would be friends in the future to and it was enough for Risa.

Realizing that she was still inside the the tent, Risa decided to head out. It was a miracle that the person who was keeping this place up hadn't showed up during the time Risa and Reina had "borrowed" the tent. The bean went to the main street, which was crowded by people who were enjoying the festival.

"Have a nice evening and enjoy everything in here”

Yes, she would do that. It was no use to dwell in this all when she had a wonderful festival to experience. Putting a smile on her face and holding her head up high, Risa blended to the crowd in front of her and started to examine all the things this festival offered to people tonight. She would enjoy this all, just as her friend had asked her to.

---------------------------------------------

It was almost midnight and it made people gather in the Palace's east side. And yes, that was the place were Reina had introduced Risa to go. Risa had decided to come here early, for she had had so many thoughts in her mind that she just could not tour around the festival area for long. She had had fun for an hour, but then things just started to roll in her head again, so she decided to come here. There were some nice booths in here too, so she could visit them while she for the show to begin.

Also, when she was early like this, she got the front seat place to watch this show which was going to start soon. So, she was standing in the front line of this huge human mass. She could also spot the king and the queen in the front line with their son, who seemed like he was about to burst from excitement.

The bean hadn't seen Reina, Eri or Sayu and she was kind of relieved she hadn't. Just now, she wanted to clear her head from these disturbing thoughts and seeing her friends now would not help much. After she had cleared her head with things, she would be with them again. Just like they used to be.

Suddenly, there was a loud cheering which caught Risa's attention. The show was about to start and everyone was getting exited about it. This indeed had to be something very special since almost the whole village was following this now.

But what happened next, made Risa's jaw drop open and her eyes grow wide. There was a small open left for this performance and now, there was a person walking to the stage. And that person was Ai.

'What the heck is she doing here? Is she,,, Is she going to keep this show?'

As Risa watched the warrior in the middle of the open she could not help but mark the way Ai had changed. She had a small smile on her lips and her whole being was somehow more... Gentle? She was still a bit thin for she had not practiced so much in long time, but she had recovered very well from her traumas, or at least it seemed so.

Ai greeted the crowd by bowing politely and waving her hand a bit. Then she pointed at the human mass and a little bit shy looking young girl walked towards her. She had two piggy tails behind her head and she was wearing a bright red kimono. She stopped once and watched her parents, who only encouraged her to walk forwards. When she reached Ai, the girl bowed a bit, Ai doing the same and smiling warmly at her. The leader held her hand out and there was something on it, but no one could actually see what it was.

Then, Ai whispered something to the girl who nodded her head shyly. It seemed like the girl tried to concentrate on something really hard after the leader had talked to her. She shut her eyes tight as she held her hands on the Ai's outstretched one and was like she tried to summon something. Ai just laughed a bit and patted the girls head gently with her free hand. Then she said something again, probably encouraging the girl to relax, for the kid immediately lowered her shoulders and her whole being calmed down.

Then a small light erupted from the girl's and Ai's hands, which were still entwined. Yelping a bit, the girl tried to let got and run away, but Ai held her in place, calming her down. It was like the young girl was hypnotized by the leader, for she did immediately what she was told. The small light got bigger and bigger, till it was so bright that everyone had to to turn away a bit so they would not get blinded by it.

When the light calmed down a bit and everyone turned to see what had happened, they could see something amazing: There were small lights dancing around the little girls head. They were like huge fireflies and every time they flew, they left a light stripe behind them, each of those things having a different color. As the little girl watched all this amazed, her smile got brighter and she let out a happy squeal. Immediately after that, the flying things got wild and started to move faster, creating even more those light stripes and now they were drawing all kind of pictures.

Everyone in the crowd gasped a bit and even Risa had to admit that this was something amazing. The flying things were like shooting stars as they flew through the air and made all kind of beautiful pictures and figures. After a few minutes, the lights started to fade away and soon there was only one of these things flying around. It stopped in front of the now very happy little girl, who laughed very sweetly at the small light, which drew a small heart in the air and disappeared after it, leaving something floating in the air.

Ai reached out to the object and handed it to the girl. It was a small heart shaped candy and it made the kid very happy. She giggled a bit as she bowed towards Ai. After that, she ran back to her parents showing what she had gained and this in turn made all the kids in the crowd want to be part of this show.

The leader did few shows with single kids, everyone gaining the small heart candy after the show. Then, the leader called out for all the children.
Soon, there were a huge punch of kids in front of Ai and everyone was trying to get closer the leader. Risa was so sure, that the leader would soon explode because of the kids, but to her surprise, Ai just held her hands up and tried to calm the kid group in front of her. She truly had changed from what she had been when Risa first met with Ai.

Again, with a one single hand mark, the leader silenced the whole kid group in front of her. She held something on her palm again and reached her hand out towards the kids. Again, everyone started to look very concentrated, but they still followed all the orders Ai gave to them, which were mostly like “Relax” or “Calm down”.

Ai tapped her palm with her free hand and this made Risa realize what she had in there. It had to be those apples she had explained about to Risa! It just had to be!

After giving the tap to the fruit, Ai raised her hand towards the sky, which suddenly lost it stars and became very dark. There was a sound which reminded Risa of a thunder, when the dark cover over them grew larger and larger.

“Open your eyes.” Ai said gently and all the kids did as asked, watching the darkness on the sky, amazed. For some reason, these children trusted the leader, for none of them showed any fear. If Risa had been in those kid's shoes, she would be at least a bit freaked out by now.

“Now, answer my question with all your energy, will you? This wont work unless you do so. Ready?”

The leader spoke again all the kids nodding in excitement and immediately after that, Risa could see some kind of light sparkle on the dark sky. What was going to happen next?

“Are you having fun?!

Ai shouted suddenly and was immediately answered by the kid group who yelled as hard as they could, jumping up in the air at the same time:

“HAAAAIII!!”

Out of nowhere, the dark sky flashed and again everyone had to cover their eyes. Risa put her arms in front of her eyes and tried to peek behind them, so she could see what was going on. But she had to close her eyes immediately the light hit her eyes, blinding her for a moment. It didn't take long till the light calmed down and everyone could watch the show again normally. But everything around them was not like it had been a moment ago.

“Holy...”

That was all Risa could say as she was watching the sky, which was not dark anymore. There were millions, no more than that, stars on the sky on a dark blue layout. But it was not quite normal, for Risa could see something moving on there.

“The constellation...”

She whispered as she saw different kind of animals and creatures running on the sky. She could recognize horse, bunny, dragon and many many others dancing on the sky. Suddenly, one of the animals shot down to the ground. Instead of startling everyone, it more likely made the crowd only more lively. Some kids started to run after the bunny and someone went and tried to bet the horse.

Risa watched this all in amazement. She indeed had not seen anything like this in her life and it was absolutely stunning. But what made it even more stunning, was that Ai was behind this all. She had gathered all the kids around her and she had made these creatures from the power of children's thoughts.

Without knowing, a small smile formed on Risa's lips as she watched the children playing around happily with the star animals. One even got near Risa. It was a dog, which happily run to her, wagging it's tail. Risa could not help but laugh a bit and for some reason, she even patted the animal. For her surprise, she got something glistening on her hand after she had touched the dog's "fur". Examining the thing on her hand Risa tried to figure out what was this strange material. It was like she had small stars on her palm...

“It's the inside of the apple.”

A voice said suddenly nearby her. Raisin her head, Risa could see Ai a few feet away from her, holding something in her hand. It was the apple she had done her magic once again and which had created these animals.

“It's... It's like this?” Risa asked a bit confused, while Ai just nodded and smiled a bit as she put the apple to the ground, surrounding it with some kind of a see-through square. Before the leader could say anything, Risa realized that the apple was still there. It had not disappeared like it had done the last time.

"How is, that apple is still there? Didn't you just turn it into that star sky?" The bean asked confused. Ai only laughed a bit as she was finished with the small shield she had placed around the apple. "You can also leave it like this." She said as she got up and faced the bean. "I modified the apple so, that this star sky is only temporary, so it will fade away when the apple has lost all it's magic. It's just one way to use these things."

The leader explained as she turned to watch the kids running around with the star animals. Risa was silent for a while, before she noticed the people moving away from the open, where Ai had held her show a while ago.

“Mmm, don't you have a show to perform?” Risa asked the leader who just stood beside her watching the people moving around them.

“No, it already ended. I think this is enough for this evening and I am going to leave it like this. The kids seem to have fun with those star animals, so I think it's good to end this here."

The bean nodded her head and dusted the "stars" away from her palm. It indeed had been quite a show and this star animal thing at the end only made it better. But the bean did not wonder the star animals for a very long time, because something else caught her thoughts. As she turned to look at her side, she could see Ai, still smiling as she watched after the happy children.

Was this really Ai? The rude leader who cared only of herself and acted cold towards everyone? Now, instead of a impolite brat, Risa could see a woman in front of her. Calm and gentle, who watched after others and wanted to make them happy.

And what surprised her the most was that Ai was so good with children! Even many adults lost their cool with them very quickly, but Ai had just raised one finger and all of them obeyed her. Okay, maybe they knew of her reputation as a warrior, but still. Handling kids was always something Risa admired in people, for she herself loved kids. Also, usually persons who were good with kids, were good with adults as well.

“So, how has your festival been?”

The leader asked suddenly, not taking her eyes away from the crowd in front of her. Confused by the question, RIsa only stood silent for a while, staring at the leader with wide eyes. Had she heard right? Had Ai asked her how her festival had went? Realizing suddenly that she had been staring Ai for a good while, the bean gave her answer to the older one. But, it did not come out like she had intended...

“What? Me?”

That was all Risa could say, for she truly was confused.

“No, I was asking that kid over there. Who else than you? You're the nearest person to me right now.” Ai said laughing a bit. Even now she didn't turn to face the bean which the younger one was quite glad about for she must have looked very wise right now with her mouth and eyes wide open. What the heck was just happening in front of her eyes? This just could not be...

Realizing soon that she had not answered the leader's question and that she was still staring at her with that idiotic face, Risa shook her head a bit and cleared her throat. It's was a good thing Ai had not turned to face her, but Risa was quite sure that the leader had already seen how the bean had stared at her. God, this was embarrassing.

“It has been... Quite fine I think...”

It was not a lie, but it was not the whole truth either. True, this had been something she had never ever before experienced, lie because the little incident with Reina, which still kept bothering her.

“You think?”

Silently, Risa cursed in her mind, that she had not just lied that every thing had been fun today. Now she had Ai questioning her, but to tell the truth, she had no anticipated that the leader would care about how she had been.

“Ah, there my little mage is!”

Suddenly, a loud yell was heard nearby. Now even Ai turned her face towards the sound and immediately after it, she snapped her heels together and bowed, Risa following in suit as she saw who was approaching them. However, they were soon scolded for being too formal, by no one else than their king.

“Oh, come on! That's the 30th time tonight, right Rika?”

Yoshizawa moaned, while the queen beside her sighed. The childish king had received a lot of bowing and such during the evening, and she was tired of it already.

“I haven't counted...”

“What? Though I asked you to! Mou, whatever... Oh my gosh, you two stop it all ready! At ease, or whatever command makes you to relax...” The king was now waving her hands frantically, almost hitting the queen in face, making her snap immediately.

“Yoshizawa Hitomi, if you don't calm down this instant, I'll make sure that you will sleep in the hall for the next two weeks.”
Rika's ice cold voice snapped, causing her spouse to calm down in no time, while Risa and Ai were a bit scared of their queen.

“Aww, not the hall, I am sorry honey.” And with that the king took her loved one in tight one arm embrace. Rika just rolled her eyes and pointed with her hand towards Risa and Ai, who were still waiting for their master to say something.

“Oh yes, you too. So, how is it going?” Yoshizawa asked, as she kept on holding her wife in her embrace.

“Good, very good.” Ai said smiling, Risa only nodding her head because Ai had said what she was about to answer to the king.

“Risa too? You had these kind of festivals in your home? Isn't this wonderful what Takahashi has done here? Ne? Do you...”

“Dear, you're doing it again....” Rika said a bit annoyed as she watched the poor girl stare at her spouse, trying to decide, which question she should answer.

“Oh, sorry. So, it has been a nice evening then?”

“Yes, it has.” Risa finally got her turn to speak as she answered the king's question with a polite smile. Thank God that Rika was with her, or the bean would really had had hard time with dealing the hyper social king. Just one comment or glare from the queen would make Yoshizawa to calm down.

“That's nice to hear, but...” Yoshizawa had that childish and at the same time very devilish grin on her face again, as she examined the two young woman in front of her, mostly focusing on Risa.

“Have you tried my favorite game yet?”

“Your favorite game?”

“Yes, that one over there.” The king said, pointing at one booth, which had some kind of target like things like things flying in the air, while kids tried to shoot them with some kind of a pipe.

“No, I haven't tried it.” Risa said as she turned back towards the king, only to find her face dropping in shock. This startled Risa a bit for she thought immediately, that she had done something wrong.

“WHAT? That's the best game in this place!" Yoshizawa exclaimed, throwing her arms up, but soon brought them down when Rika hit her side with her elbow. But that did not stop the king's mouth, as she kept on ranting. "You really should try it! Lets go, I'll play with you...”

“And you're not going anywhere.” The commanding voice of her wife made the king stop in her steps as Rika pulled her arm. The queen was not very happy that her king was again trying to escape some responsibilities, for she had promised something to her.

"Eh, why not?”

Yoshizawa asked confused, while the queen only pouted at her, and for a while it seemed like the king had no clue, what the other one tried to tell her. Finally some lights lit in her head, and the king was immediately apologizing her wife.

“Aaa, I almost forgot. Of course I wont go play a game, because I promised you that! I'm sorry Rika.” The king cooed as she hugged her wife lovingly, apologizing over and over again. This made Rika smile a bit, for she had finally gotten Yoshizawa's attention to her and only her.

It was sometimes quite hard, when the king was so social with everyone and tended to forget sometimes some of her promises. But luckily it was also quite easy to remind her of those things with some simple tricks. After cuddling with her lover, Yoshizawa turned back to face her two warriors who were both a bit flustered now as they had followed the scene in front of them. It was not everyday you saw your king and queen cuddling in public...

“I'm sorry Gaki, but you got to go play that game alone. Unless...”

Yoshizawa's devilish grin was back as she turned to face her group leader, who had a bit questioning look on her face now. Suddenly the king slapped her hands together, like she had gotten a great idea.

“Yosh! Takahashi goes with you!”

“What? Me?”

“What? She?”

Both Risa and Ai said at the same time and turned to look at each others as Yoshizawa just nodded her head approvingly, clearly satisfied about her great idea.

“Yes, because you need someone to introduce that game to you. Also, it's boring alone, you need someone to compete with.”

'Well why in the heck can't I do it with some random kid then?'

The bean though, but suddenly, she felt how she was pushed a bit forwards, Ai appearing to her side as they both were ushered towards the game place by the king.

“Off you go now! Have fun!” Yoshizawa said as she gave a bit harder push to the younger girls. Ai got to keep her balance somehow, but Risa almost fell, for she was not prepared at all to this. Well neither was Ai, but she just had a better balance... Luckily, she had better reflexes too, for the leader prevented Risa from falling face first to the ground.

The king had by now walked back to her wife and arm in arm, they disappeared in the crowd again,  Yoshizawa humming happily at the same time. She had indeed wanted to play that game, but now as she thought about it, this was also a great opportunity to get those two have some time together. As a good ruler, Yoshizawa knew everything that was going on inside these walls, so she was very aware of Ai's and Risa's situation, too.

Now, that Ai had gotten back and it seemed that Risa was not too hostile towards her either, this was something that could calm things between those two. Or at least, that was what Yoshizawa hoped.

Meanwhile, Risa and Ai stood frozen in their spots, staring at each others awkwardly. Ai had caught Risa and was holding her in her arms once again. She had her hands resting on the younger girls hipbone, while the bean had her hands on Ai's shoulder, as they had searched some support when the king had almost knocked them over.

Silently, they let go of each others and immediately they faced away.

“Mmm... You wanna play that game?” The leader asked quietly, cursing immediately in her head how stupid she must have had sound.

“Yeah, whatever....” Risa mumbled as she started to briskly walk towards the game spot. She was not interested in that game the slightest now, but she just needed anything to disturb her mind and get rid of her torturing thoughts. Playing something could help a lot.

Ai just nodded her head and went after Risa, wondering why was she even doing this. She could just ask Risa, if she could go alone or rather, did she even want to Ai go with her. But now, that they were already on their way, it was quite the same to go play that game with Risa. At least, she would have something else to think than that awkward moment a while ago.

And so, the two warrior's went to the game spot, both thinking how awkward this was again and they both truly hoped that playing would fill their heads with something else to think...

-------------------------------------

It came out a bit longer than I thought... I had to change this chapter so many times that I am a bit lost now what I really wanted to happen in here... XD I hope it wont be too confusing to read.  :nervous
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 24/ 06/04
Post by: rndmnwierd on April 06, 2013, 08:05:00 PM
T_T My Tanagaki dreams, so cruelly dashed. Oh well, I was expecting it, but still. Now let's get Ai and Risa together!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 24/ 06/04
Post by: darkacex99 on April 07, 2013, 12:18:28 AM
ok well this definitely explains why reina was always acting wierd and spacing out in the earlier chapters, poor kitty shes has the case of one sided love :cry:

i am glad that risa and reina's friendship wasnt damaged by reina's actions, what a nice mame!!! XD

oh snapz more awkwardness between risa and ai :shocked will they make it though the rest of the festival, the world may never know :shocked:...until the next update XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 24/ 06/04
Post by: carzung on April 10, 2013, 11:12:21 AM

Bye Bye TanaGaki and Welcome TakaGaki  :D Please, write a lot of TakaGaki sweetness  :bow:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 25/ 18/04
Post by: MsSmigge on April 18, 2013, 10:20:03 PM
rndmnwierd: Oh no, another one who I disappointed with the pairings  :bleed eyes: Damn. But you like Takagaki too, ne? XD

darkacex99: Yup, Reina and Risa will stay friends~ It would be cruel to separate them XD And there will be more awkwardness ahead between Ai and Risa  8)

carzung: I'll try, but I also have to remember my other plans for this story and those plans... doesn't have much sweet moments with them XD


Thank you everyone for you comments and interest once again.  :oops:

Here's the next chapter (which came out A LOT longer than I planned...)
Here we go~


Chapter 25 – Do not get stuck in your past

The tension had not eased at all as the two warriors arrived at the game spot. They hadn't talked to each others and both made sure not to even glance at the other one. Somehow, the thought of just spending some time together was something they both were a bit shy about. Though they had agreed, that the two warriors would try to get better along with each others, it was still quite hard to just act normally when the other one was nearby.

Risa was still a bit unsure of what Ai was like and the leader could not forgive herself what she had done to the younger girl and to her friends. She felt ashamed of how she had changed so much and how much pain she had caused to the persons around her.

With these thoughts in mind, the two arrived at the game place, which was surprisingly end by now. They were greeted by a gentle looking old man, who had a long thin beard. He was wearing some kind of a blue dress and he was also carrying a sword. Risa had heard, that there were also a lot of veteran warriors, who carried swords with them all the time, even during peace, just in case. But they were usually very gentle and Risa could never ever had expected that these happy and joking elder people would be killers, if needed.

”Ah, isn't it my Ai-chan there!” The man greeted, spreading his arms wide at the same time.

”Konbanwa Hiroshi-san. We would like to play a game.” Ai said and waved her hand a bit as she greeted the older man.

Hiroshi turned his shining eyes towards Risa, who smiled and nodded politely at him.

“Got a girlfriend there, ne?”

The abrupt comment caused both Ai and Risa turn pale, while the old man just laughed. Soon, both girls were waiving their hands frantically in the air as they yelled at the same time, trying to cover what the old man had just said.

“NO! No, we are not a couple!”

”NO, NO, NO!! Not a couple, we are...”

They both froze again. Yeah, what were they? Well it was clear that they were not a couple and not friends but... What the heck were they? The man's laughter got them to look ahead as Hiroshi wiped some tears away from his eyes. The scene in front of him had  been just so damn hilarious, both females waving and screaming like there was a fire somewhere. Even some passer-byes laughed at them in a good way.

“Well, lets just call you friends then, okay?” Hiroshi said as he took some game stuff from under the table.

'Well we are not that either...'

Ai and Risa thought as they just silently went to the game places which the old man showed to them. They were given small wooden pipes, which had a smaller hole in one end and a bigger one in the other. The keeper also gave them small sharp objects, like mini darts.

“Okay, then, shall we begin?”

”WAIT! I have no idea how to play this game!” Risa shouted as she watched the man in panic. She had totally forgotten, that she had no clue what she was supposed to do in this game.

“Oh, it's easy, don't worry. Your boyfriend here can help you with this.”

”Hiroshi san...” Ai groaned and glared the man at the same time, receiving only a laughter as Hiroshi spread his arms giving a ”the stage is yours” sign. Ai just rolled her eyes as she snapped her fingers once, bringing some targets from behind their shelters and causing the old man to frown. Hiroshi got a bit irritated when Ai payed him back with her magic skills and the leader knew it. Ai gave a bit wicked grin to the keeper, till she turned towards Risa who was now blushing quite heavily and trying to hide her face. Thanks to Hiroshi's last comment.

“So, this is really very simple. Just hold this thing against your lips, so that the bigger hole is pointed away," Ai introduced as she handed a pipe to then bean, who took it without saying a word. "Then, you just place the dart inside, aim and blow. It might feel a bit hard at first, but once you get the blowing right, it's very easy. Here, have a go.”

And with that, Ai put a dart in Risa's pipe, the younger girl doing as she was introduced to do. She got the target in her sight and aimed before she blew hard. However, The bean managed only to get the dart fall out from the pipe, which was immediately picked up by Ai. The leader placed the dart back inside the pipe, before she started to introduce Risa again:

“That happens quite often at the first time. Just try again and don't blow with force. Gently, but firmly.”

After the introduction, Risa nodded her head and tried to concentrate more on to the next performance. As she had the target in her aim again, the bean blew with less force. The dart flew out, but only few meters. Damn this was hard...

“That's much better, but you still have too much force.” Ai said as she picked up the dart again and placed it in the pipe. By now, the leader had also gotten a pipe from somewhere and she put a dart inside it, too. Interested, how the leader would succeed with this, Risa didn't try to shoot again but she followed the warrior beside her.

Everything happened very quickly as Ai literally threw the pipe against her mouth and immediately blew the sharp object away. There was just a small whistle like sound as the dart flew out of the pipe, hitting one of the flowing targets. The target made a small pop sound and disappeared, but after few seconds, there was a new target flying around.

'Damn that was fast and she didn't even aim!!'

Risa thought as she stared the scene in front of her, mouth wide open. Soon, Ai took more darts and blew all the 5 targets in front of her with the same style. It took only about ten seconds till she had made them all disappear, all her shoots being very accurate. It wasn't only the leader's good aim, but also how she handled those things. ”Reloading” the pipe took only one second and then she was sending the dart away in a blink of an eye. Ai had either played this game too much or then she was just damn skilled with shooting games.

“You try now.”

The targets popped back up in their places as Ai snapped her fingers again. Risa watched her own pipe and the targets, feeling a bit disappointed that she could not shoot so well. Or rather, she could not shoot at all.

“You can whistle, right?”

The leader asked suddenly. Risa was silent for a while, before she slowly nodded her head. Yeah, she could whistle. She had learnt it when they had had horses back at home. For some reason, Risa's own horse had liked when the girl had whistled, so it had been an effective way to call the animal when needed.

“Just think you're whistling or you can even whistle, if you want. The blow should come out the same way.” Ai introduced again. Risa nodded her head but didn't say anything. She slowly raised the pipe against her lips once again, gathering all her concentration as she found her target again. It was not so hard to aim, for the target was so close and it also was rather big.

'Just like whistling...'

Risa tried to concentrate very hard, but soon she found how her hands were shaking and her vision became blurry.

“Relax. Your shoulders are in your ears...”

She heard Ai say and soon she felt, how two hands landed on her shoulders, pushing them gently down. Risa relaxed, though the idea of Ai keeping her hands there, made the younger girl more likely tense even more. But somehow, she managed to keep her shoulders down and that gave her back her steady hands and clear vision. It felt somehow easier to shoot now and as Risa took aim and shot, she remembered at the same time what it was like to whistle when she had called her horse at her younger days. There was a whistling sound piercing through the air as the dart left the pipe. It it the back wall, missing the target quite much.

“Hey, that's a lot better! Try again.” Ai said happily and reloaded the pipe again for Risa, keeping her hands on the younger girl's shoulders all the time. Somehow, also Risa forgot where the leader's hands were, as she aimed again and repeated her actions. Again, the whistle was heard but this time, it was followed with a small popping sound, as one of the targets got hit.

“I got it?” Risa asked immediately, looking at the missing target with amazement, while Ai only chuckled gently. “Yes, you did. Now, shoot the rest of them.”

Soon, there were no targets left, as Risa shot the rest of them away too, all of them clear shots. This was not so hard anymore! She really had thought after the two first blows that this would take forever, but now she was shooting those targets away like she had done this for years.

Hiroshi laughed a bit as he watched the two girls in front of him. This game could be a total challenge to those who could not whistle, but to those who could, it took only some concentration and aim to hit the target.

Ai Raised her other hand from it's place and snapped her fingers, bringing the targets back up. She left for her own shooting place, next to Risa's and picked up the pipe which was laying on the table nearby.

“That's good. Now it was not so hard, was it?”

”No, it really didn't feel very hard...”

Risa said, still a bit amazed how she had gotten all the targets so easily. She had never played this kind of games and now as she thought about it, she had never really shot anything. And she really meant anything; bows, darts and so on. Maybe her warrior training had made her skills get a bit better, including those she really didn't know.

“How about you two compete a bit?” The keeper said suddenly, just when Ai was about to blow the targets away.

“Eh? Compete? I could never beat you!” Risa said suddenly, causing Ai to lower the pipe and look at the younger girl.

“Well, you never know before you try it, you know.”

”Oh come on! You saw how slow I was and you know how fast you're!" Risa said suddenly as she turned towards the leader beside her. "When you blow all those targets away, I get only one single target by the same time, if even that.” The younger girl exclaimed, causing the leader to smile a little bit. Somehow, it just made her feel a bit better, how Risa was just ranting at her, forgetting all the past tension they had had before.

“What are you smiling at?” Risa asked suddenly, which caused Ai to drop her smile and turn a bit away. Damn, she had been staring at Risa while she had had thoughts about how it was so nice to act normally around her now.

“Nothing. So, you wanna play?” The leader said quietly, before she turned her now stern face back towards Risa. The bean was silent for a while, before she took the pipe slowly in her hands, mumbling at the same time.

“Allright then, lets play...”

”I'll aim slower, I promise.”

”Oh, so now you're pitying me? That's even better...” Risa groaned. This caused Ai to look at the younger one with a bit surprised look, which the bean answered only with a deep frown.

“Don't you go on pitying me. I'll never learn, if I do this in the easy way...” Risa spoke again, but this time, her voice was not harsh. The leader glanced at the younger one and to her surprise, Risa had now a small smile on her lips.

"Lets play now." The bean said and gave the leader a playful grin.

Well this was something unexpected. Ai had more likely thought that Risa was about to lose her patience again with the leader, but now she was smiling and talking in a gentle tone. Smiling shortly, Ai took her aim too, and with a snap of her fingers, she made the targets disappear.

“The targets will appear randomly when I release them. The first one to shoot it down, gets a point. Got it?”

”Gotcha.” Risa said as she aimed the target area, concentrating on what she did.

“Ready? Lets go!”

Ai snapped her fingers and nothing happened, but soon the targets started to pop into view. At first there was only one, but soon, there started to be more at the same time. The targets had small wings and they were flying around in a slow speed. There were green circles inside the target and in the middle of them was a black point, showing the target's midpoint.

Risa started to shoot as well as she could when she saw a target and surprisingly, she got some hits first. Ai would occasionally shoot with her skills, but she also let the younger one get the first hit. She always had the target in her aim at first, but she really didn't want to crush the other girl in this game. Winning was not so important to her now, she just wanted to have some good time.

Risa however noticed soon how the leader was not playing seriously. This made her a bit annoyed, for she really did not want any kind of help in this. It wasn't fun at all, though getting beaten was not fun either. But it was more fun than being helped too much...

”OI!” Risa yelled in the middle of the shooting, gaining Ai's attention. “You're either going to play this game with all you have, or then you wont play at all!”

Ai paused her aiming, while Risa kept on hitting the targets in front of her all the time. Soon, she missed few and after that, she hit only sometimes. Once again, her shoulders had raised a lot and she was tensing her muscles for nothing, which caused her aim to get worse.

Smiling, Ai took aim again and concentrated.

'Fine, lets play then...'

Suddnely, the leader started to shoot the targest away in a very fast pace, making it impossible for Risa to even get a good aim.

'Damn, I can't even aim...'

“Relax your shoulders!”

There was a small pause in the middle of the shooting and then it continued on again. Risa tried to say as Ai had said, but it was just so damn hard somehow. She just could not bring her shoulders down without tensing some other body part. Dammit, now she couldn't even think about challenging the leader in this game!

Suddenly, there was a gentle pressure on her other shoulder and as Risa looked at her side, she found Ai holding one of her hands on her shoulder, pressing it down gently. The shooting stopped completely as Ai kept a pause, still holding the pipe against her lips and towards the targets, which were still flashing in front of them. Risa was just staring at Ai with wide eyes, for she was thinking how in the heck could she shoot now. She had only one hand in use, while she tried to push Risa's shoulder down with the other.

“Keep on shooting, but relax at first. You can't aim if you're tense.”

”What did I tell you about helping me?”

”If you want to keep on going, you need to relax.”

Risa sighed a bit and took aim again, not willing to argue about this anymore. As she aimed, she found it surprisingly easy to steady her arms again without tensing her other muscles. Somehow, the hand on her shoulder calmed her down and made it easier to shoot.

“Fine then... Help me if you want to...”

Risa mumbled as she started to shoot the targets, hitting every time. Ai just kept on watching and holding the hand in it's place as Risa shot the targets one after another. This was getting boring, for it really did not feel a competition as the other one was helping her..

Suddenly, the targets started to disappear in fast pace, though Risa was not shooting them. She glanced at her side and found out that Ai had started shooting again. But what amazed her was that she was shooting as fast as she had a while ago, though she had only one hand in use. She did the reloading by swiping the pipe towards the darts which were in a neat line on the table. Somehow, the dart got inside the pipe and Ai was ready to shoot again. All this took only few seconds and the leader did not fumble at all, when she did the reloading and shooting.

'Dammit, she's good...'

Risa thought as she started to concentrate on her own shooting again. She tried to get aim but every time she got a target in her aim, it would disappear by Ai's shot. Risa cursed and started to get tense again. But every time this happened, Ai would make more pressure with her hand and force the tensing shoulder down.

Risa concentrated again and this time, she got a plan. She watched the target's places very carefully, memorizing where they would pop up. It was quite hard thought, for the woman beside her kept making them disappear almost as fast as they had came into view. But somehow, Risa managed to do this and then, she just waited. Few times, she failed but then, she got one shot at the same time with Ai.

'Yosh, just a bit more anticipation and then that's it...'

Risa thought as she kept her plan going on, Ai keeping up with her unbelievable speed, making Risa wonder, that her throat must have been very dry right now...

The game went on and Risa had not gotten her first shot yet. But she would not give in, she would get the first shot. By now, the place keeper had noticed that these girls would not end their duel soon, so he made sure of it, that their darts would not end in the mid way.

And then, it happened. Risa saw her target appear, which she had stalked for a while now and she got her anticipation just at the right time. She blew, few seconds before Ai and finally, she hit first. After that hit, the game came to a halt as both players dropped their pipes down.

Risa watched the targets in triumphant, while Ai just smiled gently. She snapped her fingers once, making the targets disappear and some kind of a board came into a view from behind the table. It counted some numbers and then it showed the hits:

Risa had gotten about ten hits at first while Ai had made them about one hundredth.
Hiroshi laughed as he clapped his hands, taking something from under the main table at the same time.

“That was one heck of a game. Here, have this as a price.”

He handed something to Ai, which the leader took. She thanked the man and gave him some extra money, for they had really played quite a long time. Usually, the game took only few minutes, but they had played it with Risa about twenty minutes now.

As they left the shooting place, Ai handed her price to Risa, causing the younger one to look at her questioningly.

“Here, you can have it.”

”Why?”

”Just take it, okay?”

For some reason, this made Risa feel a bit irritated and she didn't know why. Was the leader thinking that she really was so sad that she needed some prices so she would not feel so bad anymore? Or had she won so many times, that she already had enough of those prices she had won and now she just gave them away?

”Why, because you still pity me? Just because I lost doesn't mean I need some pity and..

”I want to give this to you, that's why.” Ai interrupted the younger one, before something bad was said or done.

”You... What?” Risa said as she stopped walking, Ai following her actions. Then, the leader handed the thing, which Risa recognized to be some kind of a stuffed animal, towards her.

“Not out of pity or anything like that. I just... Want to give this to you.”

They stood in a silence once again, staring at each others. She wanted to give it to her? But why?
However, Risa raised her hands and took the animal from Ai, causing the older one to smile a bit.

”There, it was not so hard was it?”

Risa just stared at the now smiling warrior in front of her. She still could not see Ai as a warm and nice person, so this situation felt very weird right now. But there she was, giving her this stuffed animal and only because she wanted to do it. Not out of pity, not because she didn't want this animal and nothing like that. She just gave it out of pure will.

A warm feeling spread inside Risa as she watched those chocolate eyes, now filled with such kindness and warmth instead of that cold and pained look. The whole woman even looked different, for Ai did not have those black circles under her eyes. That made her face look more bright and vivacious.

But what also made the bean feel happy was the feeling, that she could finally act normally around the leader. She had not gotten angry at her, nor had Ai tried to do or say anything rude. Maybe, they both were still a bit tense around each other but this was MUCH better than what it had been some time ago.

“Thank you...” Finally, Risa managed to get her mouth open. This caused Ai's smile grow and she politely answered to the bean.

”You're welcome.”

Those words came out without any kind of tension and it even felt naturally to speak like this, for both of them. They fell in silence again, still staring at each others. But this time, it was a bit more comfortable silence. All these two had in mind now, was how they had finally gotten over the hate and all the other negative feelings they had had towards each others. This felt somehow relieving.

A bright light flashed in the sky as someone shot fireworks. Ai and Risa turned to watch the starry sky, which Ai had made, and how the breath taking light show flashed against it. Cheering and all kind of whispering were heard as people were taken by the sight.

”Happy red leaf day.”

Ai said quietly and turned to face Risa. The bean did the same, facing the leader who was smiling gently at her. The younger one's lips also turned upwards as she replied:

”To you as well.”

They smiled at each others for a moment, till the show got their attention once again. Risa however started soon to examine the stuffed animal in her hands. It was quite cute, with it's round light brown ears and belly. It also had red cheeks with a black button nose and a huge smile on it's face. What was this? A monkey? Well, it looked like a monkey, so Risa would call it that. She gently traced her fingers over the toys belly, when something very unexpected happened;

The monkey let a noise saying ”Give me a hug!”. This caused both Risa and Ai to look at the toy with wide eyes, till Risa decided to turn into her reaction queen mode, raising her hands up and looking like a deer in the headlights.

”It was the monkey!” She rambled quickly, while Ai just stared at her, not saying a word.

”Give me a hug!”

The monkey repeated, when Risa's fingers accidentally traced over it's belly again. Now, they both turned to look at they toy, which was only smiling down at them. Both female's gazes dropped down at the same time and met once again. And then, it happened: Both Risa and Ai burst into laughter, for this situation was just too hilarious. They tried to hold back, but it was just so damn hard and it did not help the situation, that Risa managed to make the monkey speak again, trying to get a hug from someone.

When they both finally calmed down a bit, Risa gently punched Ai with the toy, making it to talk again.

”Oi! You did not tell me about this!” She said, trying to sound serious. But no matter what, she just could not stop laughing.

”Hey, I did not know either!!” Ai tried to defend herself as Risa ”punched” her again. They both talked between chuckles as they tried to calm down. After few minutes, the two warriors gained some kind of a control over themselves. They stood straight and faced each others again.

”Well, that was unexpected...” Risa said as she tried to catch her breath.

”Yeah, it was...” Ai mumbled.

'I bet Hiroshi has done something to this one... I have never ever seen this kind of toys in his place...'

The leader thought as she watched Risa holding the monkey in her hands, still occasionally laughing at the incident that had just happened. As she examined the girl in front of her, the leader got a déjà vu moment. It was like she was living something again, for this all felt suddenly so familiar...

Turning her gaze slowly back towards the sky, Ai remembered some old times. It felt like she was spending her time with Eri and the others again. She had last time laughed this much 5 years ago and now days, she had wondered, if she ever could laugh like that again.

But she had done it a while ago, which made her feel very good inside. Ai turned her gaze back towards Risa, who was now staring at the leader. They smiled at each others again, the fireworks slowly draining behind them and revealing the beautiful starry sky behind it.
Ai sighed a bit and turned to face the sky once again.

”I think I have to go take that thing away. It's quite late and I think all the kids have gone to sleep now...”

“Eeeh? You can just take it away, if you want to?” Risa exclaimed. The leader smiled a bit as she nodded her head.

“Yeah. I modified the apple so that I can dispel it whenever I want to.”

“You know, you're quite skilled with those apples...” The bean said, giving the leader a bit playful grin.

“Yeah, well... I like magic and these things are quite fun to play with...” Ai said, scratching her head a bit. The playful grin on Risa's lips turned into a smile as she watched the now a bit nervous leader in front of her. Then, her attention turned back to the sky, where the star animals and creatures were running wildly around.

”But the festival lasts still for hours?” The bean asked, causing Ai to turn her attention back to the bean.

”Yeah it does, but I am about to leave now, so I thought that maybe I should dispel this thing now, for I am the only one who knows how to do it...”

”Oh...” Risa said, suddenly a bit disappointed. She had gotten very comfortable around the leader, who had shown her new side to her. The side, which Ai probably was in reality. Gone was the rude and cold woman and now in front of Risa stood a person with a warm and friendly smile.

The woman she had hated, had turned out to be a very different kind of a person from inside and that made Risa regret all she had thought and said about Ai. She should have believed her friends who knew this person and who she really was, but Risa had been blinded by her own anger and had not accepted the possibility that Ai could have something different inside her.

“So, hopefully you had a good evening. See you around and good night.” The leader said suddenly, as she started to walk towards the place where she had had her own show earlier.

”Huh? OI! Wait!”

Ai had just spun around to leave when she heard Risa's voice and stopped immediately. She turned around to face the younger one, watching her with surprised expression. Risa had taken few steps towards her and was looking like she wanted to say something, but could not form any kind of words.

“Ano... Can't you... Can't you just leave it to be?”

Ai tilted her head a bit to the side, for Risa mumbled her words so quietly that she didn't quite catch what the younger one wanted to say.

Risa noticed this and tried to quickly form something coherent in her head. She had no idea, why she wanted Ai to stop and not leave yet. She wanted to spend some more time with her, to get to know her better.

“I mean... Can't you leave it to be?” Risa said again, speaking a lot slower now. Ai blinked once, turning to face the stars till she turned back to Risa.

“You mean, I would leave it to be, till it disappears on it's own?”

Risa's eyes lit with excitement as the leader got the message she had tried to say. She only nodded her head as response, while Ai just stared at the sky again.

“I don't know...” Ai said quietly, causing Risa to frown. Did the leader not want to be here?  Or what was it?

”But... You have the shelter for the apple and why would you erase that beautiful thing away now? I think it brings more joy, if it's kept here till the end of this festival.”

Ai glanced Risa without saying a word and seemed to consider this. It would not do any harm to leave that thing out there, so why not. It indeed would bring more joy like that.

“Okay then, I'll leave it like that. But I am leaving the festival now.”

With that the leader started to walk in different direction, only to be stopped by Risa again.

”I'll go with you.”

Now, both warriors stopped and stared at each others with wide eyes.

'What am I doing?' Risa thought as she watched those chocolate brown eyes, which had the very same look as she had now. Why did she want to go with Ai? Why didn't she want to let her go on her own way? Ai had quite the same questions rolling in her head, for she really thought that Risa would not want to be so eagerly nearby her. What was this?

“O... Okay...” The leader mumbled a bit shyly as Risa just nodded her head and the two started to walk again, now in a silence. Both were all the time thinking what had happened and what was happening right now. They walked among the villagers, not saying a word as people passed by them.

Soon, they reached the main gate, where were only few people, probably leaving for home as well. They kept on going, the silence starting to annoy both of them. A while ago, they could have talked about anything and even laugh and now, they were in this awkwardness again. This should not continue like this.

“Hey...”

”You know...”

Both started at the same time and tried to give the other one a chance to speak.

“You say first.” Risa said, but Ai only shook her head.

“No, you go on. You started.”

”Well... Actually we did it at the same time... And, I don't really remember what I was saying anyway, so you go ahead!” The bean said, extending her hand towards the leader as if giving her a turn to speak.

”Oh, yeah. Mmm... Well actually, I don't remember either...” Ai said a bit sheepishly as she watched the ground instead of Risa, the younger one being quite the same. But the bean was the first one to gather her gourage and open her mouth, ending this awkward silence.

“Hey, what do you say if we just... If we just keep on walking. Till we reach our homes?”

Finally Ai raised her head and faced the younger girl, who had a small smile on her lips. This sounded like a deal and in the end, it was something they were about to do anyway.

“Yeah, lets do that.”

The smile grew bigger on her face, as Risa heard Ai's answer and they started to walk again.

“Where do you live by the way?” Risa asked. This silence should not go on anymore, so she decided to keep on talking. The bean had had had enough of this and even if she had to talk nonsense, then so be it. Anything else was better than this damn silence.

“I live quite nearby the training area.” Ai answered, relieved that the other one had talked first. She either didn't like this silence but somehow, it was just so damn hard to talk to this girl. Maybe it was the regret she still felt of her own actions and how she had hurt this person. It was like she didn't deserve to talk to her.

“Oh, so that makes us almost neighbours!”

“Well kind of. I live... wait a minute. You have been in my house before, right?” Ai said surprised. Risa thought this for a while, when she suddenly remembered that she indeed had visited the leader's house before. How could she have forgotten this?

“Oh, yeah I have! It was then when....”

And the silence was back as both girls remembered that night. The same awkwardness was back between them and it was very hard to open a new conversation now. Risa had also hoped that Ai had not remembered that night, but of course she had to remember that. Everything would be so much easier, if people could erase all the painful and horrible memories they had had.

“Thanks.”

Ai said suddenly, causing Risa to frown. She turned towards the leader beside her, who was now facing the ground.

“Thanks for what?”

Ai was quiet for while, because she really didn't have much courage to talk now. Even saying that thanks had been quite hard. And of course, the bean wanted to know why she had thanked her, so she asked about it. Now, the leader was struggling to get more words out of her throat and in some miraculous way, she did it.

“Thank you, for being out there then...”

Risa had to listen very carefully, for the leader talked so quietly that she didn't almost hear what she said. But she got all the words and what she heard made her very surprised. The bean had not expected anything like this at all! Had she really done something good to the leader back then?

“I... I just... argh, damn it...” Ai mumbled and turned to face away from Risa. Luckily for the leader, Risa had noticed how hard this was for her. She had gotten the message and this would be enough. Placing her hand gently on Ai's shoulder Risa tried to calm the older girl down.

“Hey, it's okay. You don't have to force yourself...”

”Your home.”

”..Sorry?”

Now Risa indeed was outside, for the leader had stopped walking and was just staring ahead. She raised her hand and pointed forwards, Risa following after till she finally noticed and realized that they had arrived at her apartment.

“Oh, we are here...”

Neither didn't move, they just stared the house ahead of them, Risa still keeping her hand on Ai's shoulder, while the leader just stared the building. Well this was great; they had created this awkward silence around them, once again. Risa cleared her throat and patted the leader gently on her shoulder, walking past her at the same time.

“Well, I think I'll go now, for...”

”Wait!”

Suddenly, Risa felt how the older one grabbed her hand, but let it immediately go when the bean stopped. Ai was still a bit shy when she touched this girl, for she really thought that the personal area should not be broken. She was not quite sure what the younger one thought about her and it would be safer to just not touch her. The bean stared at the warrior with a huge question mark hanging above her head. What now?

“Ano....” Ai started as she tried to force herself to speak. Damn it, she could fight without fear on the battlefield, but when it came to things like this, she was like a wimp. What a warrior she was.

“About that night... I just... I just wanted to thank you, cause....”

A deep sigh escaped her lips as the leader tried to form something sane in her head. Risa kept her mouth shut and waited. She wanted to hear what Ai wanted to say and interrupting her would only do harm right now. So Risa patiently waited till the leader would gather herself and spit out what she wanted to say.

Ai took another deep sight and faced the ground, shaking her head a bit. She was silent for a moment and Risa was about to ask, if everything was okay, but was interrupted by the leader who suddenly raised her head and looked at her.

“I just wanted to thank you, because I really know how you must have hated me back then and how you still don't like me very much. But, you still did something unselfish and helped me, though all I had done was some pain to you. So, thank you, really.”

Her voice being stronger and her whole being radiating some determination, Ai spoke to Risa, doing a small bow at the end of her words. Risa just stood there, amazed by the leader's words. She had not seen this coming and had nothing to say. Though she tried to say something, she just could not find the words, though she wanted to.

“I.. I let you go now. Good night.”

”Ai wait.”

Suddenly Risa found her voice when Ai informed that she would be leaving again. The leader didn't get to move an inch when she froze again after hearing Risa's voice. The bean was thinking something very deeply, for her brown was furrowed and she was biting her lower lip.

“You think I still hate you?” Finally Risa found her voice again and she even had the courage to raise her head up as well and face Ai. The leader just watched her with sadness in her eyes as she recalled all the things she had done. Not only to Risa, but to her friends too. But her friends were a bit different thing, for Ai had known them for years.

But Risa was still quite a mystery to her and she just had all the time a feeling that the younger one must have hated her. Also, Ai had not hurt her friends in a way she had hurt Risa. Though sometimes, she thought could she even compare the things she had done to her friends and Risa. All of them had been something horrible and something she would regret for the rest of her life.

“Have you... Have you ever heard of a word forgivness?”

Though she wanted to turn her face away, when Ai turned to look at her in surprise, Risa soldiered on and kept her eyes on the leader. She would not run away now, when she had stared this. Though, she still kept on telling her that forgiving the leader now was a bit too early, she would do this.

Also, the sooner she forgave Ai, the sooner this awkwardness between them would end. It had been great to act normally around the older one, laugh and talk with her like they were friends. Risa wanted that to continue in the future too, and saying face to face to the leader, that she was forgiven would make things between them a lot easier. Yes, she would do it now.

“Ai.” Risa started softly, for she really wanted to be sure that the leader was listening to her. Soon, Ai snapped a bit and was looking less surprised. This was a sign to Risa that the leader indeed was listening to her and her message would be understood. Or at least, she hoped so.

“It's true I harbored some hate towards you, but,” Risa changed the subject immediately, when she noticed the pained look on Ai's face when she said the word hate. Damn, she didn't want to screw this now. “But that was then and now is now. And... I must admit, that I did wrong when I judged you so soon...”

”What other choice you had...” The leader interrupted suddenly, but Risa held her hand up, shutting Ai's mouth. She was not finished yet.

“I could have had listened to my friends instead of being blinded by my anger. But that's all past now and you have showed me who you truly are...” Risa kept a pause as she gave a gentle smile to the leader who was watching her with that deer in the headlights face again. Was this true? Did Risa forgive her just like that? This could not be.

”But... But the things I did to you! You just... I know you're going to remember those things for the rest of your life! All the suffering you have experienced... It's not just right, I don't deserve to be forgiven!!” The leader started to rant with a desperate voice but for some reason, this did not make Risa falter at all. She listened calmly and waited till Ai had finished. When she had calmed down, Risa came a bit closer, gently calling the leader again and gaining her attention.

”We talked about this already, didn't we? You are not willing to do those things to me now, you regret what you have done and you are willing to change this situation. Isn't that a good thing? If you ask me, there's a lot of reasons to forgive you...”

”I can never be forgiven about what I have done...”

Hearing this, the younger one frowned a bit, but soon she got that gentle smile back on her lips. She placed a hand on Ai's shoulder once again, causing the older one to flinch a bit but Risa did not let go. She would not let Ai fall in her self depression, she would drag her out of there.

”Ai, though I would forgive you hundred times, you have to be ready to forgive yourself, too. If you never move on from your past, you will never reach anything new in your life. So, get rid of those bad thoughts. Learn from them, but don't get stuck at them.”

”But I made so much bad things and...”

”We all have done and that's the way humans are. Hey, look at me.” Taking a gentle hold of the leader's chin Risa turned Ai to face her, keeping her gentle smile all the time. Again, Ai was like she had just gotten one of those bad dreams of hers and Risa was willing to erase that face. She wanted to see Ai smiling, or at least get rid of those eyes which were full of regret and sorrow.

”Now, you will accept my forgiveness and forgive yourself too. It might be hard but really, that will make you feel better later. Please Ai, do it for your friends sake. Have you seen how worried Eri and the others are about you? Now is a good time to start to fix the things you have done in your past, ne. And don't you dare to say that there's no way you can fix those things.”

Though her voice was firm and determined, Risa had all the time some kind of a gentle tone with it. She was not angry or anything, but she just wanted to make sure that the leader would get her message.

Ai just stared at her, the sorrow still in her eyes, but something had also changed: It was true, that she could never ever forgive herself of what she had done, but Risa's words made some sense. She would at least try to leave those bad things behind her and live again, like she had done before those dark 5 years. She would at least try. Slowly nodding, Ai smiled a bit sheepishly at Risa, which made the bean smile wider.

”I... I promise to try...”

”That's better than nothing, ne?”

Again, Ai just nodded her head as she stared at the bean. She indeed reminded her of Eri, like everyone else had said. They both had that kind being, will to help others and angel like nature. This made Ai remember all those times she had talked with Eri and how she had said same kind of words to her like Risa had a while ago. All these thoughts made Ai smile a bit wider and suddenly, she felt very thankful.

She was a horrible person and she would never get that thought out of her head, but with these people around her, she was able to get rid of that resolve for a while. And maybe, someday, she would weaken it so much, that she would not even remember it anymore. Yes, that seemed very possible right now.

”Thank you.” Ai whispered quietly, which the bean just nodded her head and smiled back.

”You're welcome. And thank you, too. I had very nice evening tonight. I really had fun.”

”That's... That's good to hear. I had fun, too.”

They just stood there, smiling at each others and once again not knowing what to say. They knew they should go home now, but somehow leaving with just saying good bye felt wrong.

“So... We'll see some day again?” Risa asked carefully and immediately thought, that was a bit silly question. Of course they would see again, for they were warriors and they practiced together...

“Yeah, we will see...” Ai answered quietly, moving her eyes a bit restlessly. It still felt a bit funny act like this around each others, but it would probably go away with the time. Or at least, that was what they both hoped.

“Well, I think it's  good night then.”

”Un. So, good night...”

Though both women had said good night already, neither did not move an inch. They just stood there, because it just felt a bit funny to just leave now. They didn't know why they could not move, but luckily Risa got so nervous about this situation that she had started to move her fingers and accidentally, she once again brushed the toy monkey's belly. And of course, the monkey ”talked”.

“Give me a hug!”

That startled both girls and eventually made them laugh too, as a funny memory some hours ago, popped back in their minds.

“I really go now...” Ai said as she scratched her head a bit and gave Risa one last gentle smile, the bean doing the same.

“Yes. See you.”

”See you.”

And finally, they were able to leave for their homes. Immediately, when they both arrived at their apartment, they changed their clothes and went to the bed, staring at the ceiling at least for one hour and smiling at the same time. It felt so good to be in good terms with each others, now. The hating and all the tension had been hard and now with it gone, every thing felt a lot better and lighter.

As both Risa and Ai stared at their own home's ceilings and thinking about this evening and eventually falling asleep, a shooting star flew once again through the sky. But it lasted a bit longer this time and after it was gone, another followed, lasting exactly the same time.

-----------------------------

This was something.... Very hard to write for some reason. @___@
Well, hopefully you enjoyed this chapter!
 :sleep: I'm off to bed~
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 25/ 18/04
Post by: rndmnwierd on April 20, 2013, 08:34:06 AM
They're so awkward, it's cute!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 25/ 18/04
Post by: darkacex99 on April 20, 2013, 01:43:17 PM
ugh soo much ackwardnessss :panic: u can tell they are trying their best to work with each other but the only outcome seems to be the ackwardness :sweatdrop:

nice lengthy chapter  :yep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 26/ 25/04
Post by: MsSmigge on April 24, 2013, 11:29:03 PM
rndmnwierd:  :lol:

darkacex99: Oh, there's once again more to come~

Thank you for your comments, thank you's and interest everyone~

I should be sleeping by now, but here I am, posting this. I'll sleep a bit longer tomorrow~

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 26 - Watching over her


As everyone had expected, it took only few days after the festival, when Yoshizawa got a guest who would bring some bad news. However, this guest was not let inside the village's gates but she had to stay outside the walls. They could not take the risk that enemy would be led inside the village even, if there was only one of them. Even one person would do a lot of harm. She could for example spy about things, if she got inside and you could never be sure what they would left behind them when the would leave.

So, the ”guest” was riding her horse in front of the main gate, the horse trotting back and forth and the rider waiting for someone to come in her sight. Soon, her waiting was priced and Yoshizawa's head came into view from behind the wall. At the same time the Heng army's leader could see other heads pop out as well. But these heads had something growing above them and Ju could also see something small and shining.

'Archers...'

Goto had insisted that there must be at least one person watching over the king when she reveals her face to the enemy and is on open land. She personally was standing beside the king, ready to do anything, if something was to happen. The soldiers always become very nervous when it came to their king, because losing Yoshizawa would be a hard hit for everyone. She was their leader and she kept things rolling and safe in here, but she was also loved as a person and a good leader. Losing her would lower everyone's moral and motivation in this war.

But the king herself was very calm when she was in front of her enemy and this was the only time she showed some of her royal education. She had to show that she was higher than her enemy, but with her people she could act more freely.

Standing on the platform, which was located above the main gate, Yoshizawa stood with her head held up high and with a proud face. She had a whole black dress on but she had no weapons on. She would show she didn't carry weapons all the time, for it might have provoked the enemy. Diplomacy was her way to solve things, not cruel power.

Ju got only exited when she saw the king who was watching her with a stern face.

“Well hello there, Yossi!” She yelled and rode a bit closer, the archers and Goto following her every moment all the time. When she got closer, Ju stopped her horse which started to nervously dance around, but Ju managed to hold it so that she could speak with the king. After changing looks with her enemy, Yoshizawa only nodded her head a bit and waited what the Heng wanted to say.

“You have quite a nice place here don't ya?”

There was an evil grin on Ju's face all the time as she sat on the nervous horse. As it jumped a bit around a red white blanket which was tied on the saddle flapped in the air. It was a mark, that the person who carried it came only to talk, not to fight. This symbol was something which even the Heng would not dare to break.

It was said that if someone used this symbol in a wrong way, the God's of war would come and send the fallen soldiers ghosts to get their revenge. It was just a myth, but it was strong enough to scare people so that they would not use the symbol in a wrong way.

“You know why I came here?” Ju yelled at the king, trying all the time to keep the animal under her in control. ”Well, of course you don't, for you're so dense...”

The mocking did not make Yoshizawa falter. She just kept her position, holding her hands behind her back and keeping her head up high. The leader should never show any emotions, no matter what, so the opponent could not use anything against her. When the leader was talking with the enemy in front of her people, she should be cold like a rock and steady as a peaceful ocean.

“I came to give you a warning. Warning, you hear?” Ju pulled the reins and the horse started to dance around even more. Letting the animal jump few times, Ju soon calmed it down, all the time keeping her eyes locked with Yoshizawa, who did the same.

“We are coming to you,” Ju Raised her hand and pointed towards Yoshizawa, holding the reins now in her other hand.

“After one week when the sun rises, our troops, stronger than before, bigger than before, come to you and your sissy army. We are going to beat you, free this land and blend it in Heng's! Yes, you can order your men and people to get ready to a new time, for we are taking you down this time.”

As Ju raged below, Yoshizawa stood still and didn't move an inc. She had noticed how her opponent had gotten a bit impatient for she had not said anything and was just staring at her. The punch of archers didn't help Ju's situation at all either.

“But, my master is merciful and gives you an opportunity to solve this without blood.” The Heng clan's warrior waited for a while, if she could get some kind of a reaction from the king, but when nothing happened she growled furiously and made the horse dance under her, once again. She pulled the reins with power, causing the animal to get on it's back feet. When it came back down, Ju kept on speaking.

“Join us and give up. That way, you may live and your people will be treated well. Fight us and be stubborn, you're all going to die and your name is wiped away from the history books.” The Heng yelled and let the horse run for a while. But soon, she made it to turn around forcefully so she could talk with the king. ” It's your choice. Say it out loud in front of your people! What will their future be? It's all up to your next words.”

Still, not moving an inch, Yoshizawa kept her stern stare on Ju, who had gotten some power from speaking and was waiting for the king's answer eagerly. Finally, the king moved as she took her arms from behind her back and spread them to her sides.

“Both of your choices give me and my people only a ticket to our own graves...”

”No, they wont!” Heng interrupted Yoshizawa. She wanted to provoke the king, so she would get nervous and say something wrong. ”Give up and we will spare your life!”

But Yoshizawa knew her enemy and what they wanted her to do. If she only kept her head cool and calm, she would make this through without any bigger problems.

“I know you wont spare our and especially, my life, if you get in here. I know what you want and I know what your leader desires. No, there's no such an option as staying alive without a fight.” The king's firm and calm voice boomed through the open, sounding almost like thunder.

”As long as you're willing to fight and we have our land, these people will fight for their own liberty and home. And as long as I am alive, I will give all I have and do everything I can, so I can keep my people safe. If you have nothing else to say or you haven't changed your mind, please, return to your leader and tell what I just told to you. When ever you're ready to make peace, so are we,”

There was a small pause as Yoshizawa leaned a bit over the wall looking deep in Ju's eyes. ”But as long as you keep on fighting, so do we.”

It seemed like the horse under Ju got nervous when Yoshizawa stared at them, for it started to dance around more than before, tossing it's head up and down and making weird whining sounds.

Suddenly, a loud yell was heard from behind the walls as all the villagers, who were listening to this conversation, showed their favour to the king. Ju listened as the yelling kept on going and grew louder and louder all the time.

'Damn, all the people are standing behind the king though she just continued the war...'

Ju turned the horse furiously around few times, before she made it stand still. She stared deep in Yoshizawa's eyes, gritting her teeth together in anger as the king just stared her sternly back. Her people were still cheering for her, making sure to show their enemy how much Yoshizawa had support behind her.

“Fine, keep on fighting and kill you people then!! It's your choice, but remember! We offered you peace but you would not accept it!” Ju yelled at Yoshizawa and at the same time she took her sword in her hand, causing all the archers to get prepared and Goto to flinch a bit.

But Yoshizawa just stood still, like she had done for the last 20 minutes. A sword could not reach her in here and she knew that Ju was alone. She had nothing to be worried about.

“And before I go, I have a message to someone inside the walls, which you may deliver unless the person herself hears this now.” There was a small pause as Ju grinned evilly.

”Tell Takahashi, that I am looking for her on the battlefield and that my duel challenge is always valid. She better not chicken out...”

And with that, Ju finally turned the horse fully around, kicking her legs to it's sides and sending the animal running wildly forwards. The ”peace flag” got off in the action and it flew to the ground, while Ju got further and further away.

Yoshizawa watched after her enemy, keeping her cool and pride as Ju rode away. The archers kept their position, too, till they could not see Ju anymore. When Ju was gone, Yoshizawa gave a hand signal and all the archers left the wall, Goto following after her king as they exited the platform.

Under the platform, people were gathered around and were ready to welcome their king back. When Yoshizawa came to sight, she was immediately greeted by her son, whom she caught in her arms and lifted up. Rika walked after Akira, proudly and elegantly as she came beside her spouse, giving her a light peck on the lips while the king wrapped her free arm around her wive's waist, holding her close tightly.

The general and captain came immediately closer, ready to take the king's orders in and make their troops ready to leave.

“You heard what she said. But we can't never trust our enemy fully, so we are not going with full force.” Yoshizawa gave orders to her highest ranking leaders, who were carefully listening to her.

”Goto, gather your men and prepare them. Fujimoto, you prepare the rest men and make sure that there is no place, where the enemy may enter our land with large groups. Also, inform the other villages about the situation and do preparations in there as well.  Understood?”

”Yes, sir!” Goto and Miki said at the same time and left for their missions. Yoshizawa watched after them, till her attention was caught by something else. Someone was approaching her and when the person came closer, the king could recognize her young group leader. Ai stopped in front of Yoshizawa and bowed a bit. This caused the king to frown and sigh deeply.

Yoshizawa was back in her civil mode and was not the cool and perfect leader anymore, so she would get annoyed by all the bowing and such again.

“My lord, I....”

”And stop right there. No my lord's, got it?” The king said firmly, causing Ai to mumble something and nod her head a bit nervously.

“I was just coming to inform you that I am going to take part in this fight.” There was a nervous tone in Ai's voice as she spoke and of course, the king understood immediately what was wrong.

”You are? Are you fully recovered?” Ouch, straight to the weak point. Ai turned her head shyly away, for she didn't want to admit that she was not quite fully recovered. But she could not lie to her king either. She had to tell the truth.

“No, I am not... Or at least that's what they say... Though, I feel fine.”

”Well you know what that means then?” Judging by Yoshizawa's tone, Ai was so sure, that she would not get what she wanted from the king.

”Yes, but....” Ai moved her eyes to the ground, till she raised her head and looked at Yoshizawa with determination.

“I know I can fight! Please, let me go! I have been away for too long time and I have to get to the battlefield!” The young group leader pleaded, her voice almost desperate.

Yoshizawa listened calmly what her warrior wanted to say at her. After Ai had finished, the king knew exactly, what the younger girl had heard and why she was so eager to get on the battlefield:

”You heard Ju, didn't you?”

”I....” Ai fell silent as she was caught. Yes, she had heard her rival speak and she had wanted immediately to go outside and take a duel with her. But now, that the king knew why she would not rest till she was recovered, she would not get away from here. There was just no way that Yoshizawa would let her go...

“I know what you're thinking about and I don't like it at all.” The king spoke in a firm tone as she let her son and Rika go and walked towards Ai, stopping just in front of her.

“If you want to go so that you can duel with Ju, There's no way I will let you go.” The firm look made Ai falter a bit backwards and she shyly lowered her head and moved her gaze frantically around, not being able to face the king.

This scene made Yoshizawa sigh and massage her temples. Damn, it was like she was looking an eagle trapped in a cage when she saw Ai like this. It was not the whole truth that the group leader was only after her rival. Ai was also a warrior who had practiced her whole life, so it was no wonder that she wanted back to the battlefield. Being a warrior was also in her vein. No matter what, her blood always told her to get back to the battlefield. She probably had lived most of her life out there, too.

“But,” Yoshizawa started, cursing immediately in her head that she even began this sentence. As she glanced at the younger girl, the king could see how Ai's head had popped up and a hopeful glistening was visible in her eyes. Damn, it was too late already...

 ”if you go and promise me that you wont duel with Ju, I might consider about this.”

”What?” Ai gasped and looked at the king with wide eyes. Would she let her go?

Yoshizawa had anticipated this and she was still regretting that she opened her mouth in the first place. Now, she had to end this somehow and so, that she would not hurt Ai nor she would sent the group leader to her death.

“But you must promise me you wont duel. If I hear anything like that when you're on the field, I devote you, Takahashi Ai, to a stable girl and you can be sure you will see the battlefield never again.”

”I promise my lord.” Ai said quickly already making the decision in her mind. She would respect Yoshizawa's will and would not take part in the duel, no matter what. She would keep the trust she had earned from the higher ups and the king and she would not lose it.

She grieved so badly to get back to fight for her people and now that she got a chance, and the rules were given to her, she was willing to obey them as long as she could get there.

“I would like to keep you here, just because you called me ”my lord” again....” Yoshizawa grumbled, causing Ai to chuckle a bit. It sounded like the king was more worried about Ai calling her my lord than letting her go.

“Please, let me go. I'll promise to fulfill your word and fight only by the orders I am given. I'll stay away from the duel, as you have wished.” Ai said and was almost about to bow, but when she saw the firm look on Yoshizawa's face, she stopped her actions and just stared at her.

The king sighed deeply and waved her hand a bit, signaling that she had lost this fight. Ai's face lit as she thanked the king and left running so she could get ready for practices and such.

So, Ai ran away, oblivious that the king was following after her all the time. When the group leader was out of the sight, Yoshizawa walked back to Akira and Rika who had waited for her. The king scooped the small boy in her arms again and took a hold of her wives hand.

“You let her go?” Rika asked.

”You saw how eager she was. I just can't let that fire burn down. She cannot be hold back when it comes to fighting.” The king said as the small family started to walk away together.

By now, people had gotten back to their own chores and tasks. Yoshizawa looked up at the sky as she walked on with Rika and Akira, a small knowing smile forming on her lips.

'She's just like you sensei, young and reckless, full of energy and spirit. I just can't hold that girl back when she is chasing after her dreams. I pray you'll watch after her when she's out there and make her and the others be safe. Onegaishimasu Heishiro-san'

--------------------------------------------------

Ai ran as fast as she could. Her body was full of energy and she could not be happier. Though, battles and war never were anything fun, this young warrior had spent her whole life only thinking about fighting and practicing so it had grown to be part of her. She could not live without this and she was sure, there was nothing in the world that could beat her desire.

Noticing she had finally gotten to her destination, Ai did not slow down at all, but she ran inside the training area. The door flew open with a loud band as Ai entered, making the four women inside scare to death.

Though Ai had run a long way here she was not exhausted at all. No, she could not be exhausted after she had gotten the permission to go.

“Geez Ai, where's the fire??”

Eri was the first one to recover as the three others gathered themselves back together.

“I got permission.”

It was all the warrior said before she went to her personal closet and took some equipment out of it, putting them on a nearby table.

“Permission to what?”

Sayu asked frowning a bit, for Ai's interruption had ruined her cuddling moment with Eri and that indeed didn't make the bunny very happy. Reina and Risa were also now back on their feet now, outside of everything what had happened.

The two were quite okay with each others by now and they didn't feel any awkwardness when they were in the same room at the same time. It was made clear, that they would be friends, no matter what, and ”the crush” between them had been long forgotten already.

They didn't want to ruin their friendship because of this so they would throw all the awkwardness away and enjoy each others company, like they did with their other friends.

“Permission to leave for battle.” Ai chirped and was followed by a death silence. Everyone was just staring at her, mostly with concerned eyes.

”Ai...” Eri called out gently, causing the young leader to turn her attention towards her. Her smile vanished away and she stopped rummaging through her closet, as she noticed her friend's faces.

”What?” The group leader asked confused.

”Are you sure about this?”

The leader turned now fully towards her turtle friend who had still that concerned look on her face. In fact, when Ai watched around her, she could see that everyone was watching her with concern and she had a clue why. After her little breakdown, Ai would be very vulnerable to get some flashbacks when she would return to the battlefield and that wouldn't be very good thing. She could get immobilized, get more traumas and even change again, this time maybe forever. Ai knew this too, but she just wanted to return so badly to the field. It had been her life for a long while and she didn't know what other things she would do than keep on fighting for her country.

”Ai, we know how much you love our country and how much you want to defend it, but... Could you just please recover completely before going back?” Eri asked quietly.

”But I have already recovered. See? It's the old me.”

Spreading her arms, Ai spun around few times which caused a smile to grow on all her friend's face, even on Risa's. Yes, it indeed was true Ai was back again and she was recovering well, but no one could know what the battlefield would do to the young leader. Also, if she saw Sayaka or Ju, she would probably get very furious and remember her past and that would again gain some conflicts inside Ai's head.

Still smiling, Eri walked to Ai and patted her gently on her shoulder, causing the leader to lower her arms.

”We know that Ai and you have no idea how happy we are because of that. But, we just want to make sure that we wont lose you again. That's why we want you to rest till Lin Lin gives you a permission to leave for battle.”

Ai understood her friends, but she could not do as they asked. The papers she got from the nurse had said that she should recover 2 more weeks and there was no way she could do that. The thread she had heard this morning made her blood boil and she wanted to protect this country once again. She would stand the stress and other things fighting would bring back in her mind. She would not fall in the darkness again.

”I promised the king already that I will do only what I am ordered to do.” The leader tried to play her triumph card, for she knew that her friends were very aware of her respect towards Yoshizawa. Ai would never ever do against Yoshizawa's word and that was her way to get her friends accept this thing, too. Eri watched her friend with a deep frown, seeing a bit of hope in the chocolate eyes of her friend.

'Damn, go and play that card then...'

Eri thought as she bit her lip a little bit. Finally, she took her hand away from Ai's shoulder and spun around, sighing loudly as she did so.

”Fiiiine.... Be a stubborn leader, damn it...”

Ai could not help but smile a little bit at her friend's reaction, but as she turned back to check her equipment, the leader stopped for a moment. She was quite selfish when she was doing this to her friends, leaving them to worry after her. Smiling gently the leader put her sword away and turned towards her friends who were still in their places, Sayu, Reina and Risa sitting on chairs as Eri was standing.

Ai walked to the turtle and gently took a hold of her hand, gaining the younger girl's attention. She had gotten an idea which could make them be a little less reluctant to this permission thing.

”Nee, how about I promise you guys I will spend this evening with you guys? I'll start practicing tomorrow, but I'll take it easy today with you guys. I know, that you don't have training today so we have some free time.”

Eri watched her friend with a frown and so did Sayu and Reina.

”One day doesn't replace two weeks....” The kitten growled from her seat, gaining an approval nod from her two friends.

”But if I spend it with the greatest friends in the whole world and have fun and forget all the sadness, it's quite the same thing, ne?”

All The Team Alfa members just rolled their eyes as their leader just could not help but grin at this situation. It was like in old days; Ai was always thinking only fighting and training and her friends would try to get her do something else. Then, when they got annoyed enough, Ai would promise that they would do something fun together for one day and that would usually make them less annoyed.

”Ai, we are not 13 anymore...” Sayu growled as she got up as well and walked beside Eri. She wrapped her arm immediately around the turtle so she would stay calm as her leader was playing stubborn, once again.

”Yeah, this is a whole different situation now...” Reina said, doing the same thing as Sayu and soon, the whole team was standing in a circle, subordinates glaring at their leader and Ai trying to convince them to let her go. Risa followed this scene in front of her with amusement and at the same time she felt some kind of happiness too. It was so nice to see how her friends could be with their leader like they had been years ago and how Ai had changed. She was a whole different person now, smiling, thinking others and even joking once in a while. Now, Risa could totally see a good leader instead of that cold and heartless person.

“Come on guys, don't be so dense.”

Ai moved her gaze between her friends, till she suddenly noticed how they were approaching her slowly. The leader started to back away, raising her arms a bit as she guessed what her team would do next, some memories coming back to her mind.

“Guys....”

”Get her!!” Eri commanded and Reina and Sayu did as ordered. Reina attacking her leader's legs and Sayu trapping her arms, they made Ai fall face first to the ground and when that was done, Eri jumped right on top of her, preventing Ai's escape.

”Hey!!” Ai protested as her jacket was tucked up with her shirt, so that her lower back was revealed, the cool air causing goose bumps to travel through her body.

”And here, Risa, you get to know our leader's weak spot which we always use when we punish her or make her do what we want to.”

Though Eri was talking in a serious tone, Risa could see some playfulness in her friend's eyes. They were not doing anything bad at the leader, they were just doing... something only The Team Alfa knew...

”Oi! I order you to let me go!” Ai yelled, as she tried to get away.

”Did you hear something Sayu?” Reina asked, faking surprised as Sayu did the same.

”Must be the wind.”

”GUYS!!”

”Here we go.”

Suddenly all the shouting and yelling was replaced by a hysteric laughter as the sub leader attached her fingers at Ai's sides and started to tickle her furiously. The leader squirmed like an eel which had been caught, howling in laughter at the same time and trying to catch her breath.

”STOP IT... HAHAHAHAHAH! ERIHAHAHHA!!”

Risa could not help but laugh herself too, for this was way too amusing! The leader was completely under her group's mercy and couldn't do a thing. Heck, only if the enemy knew, they could have had killed this warrior by tickling her so much that she could not breath anymore.

Eri kept on assaulting her leader for a few more seconds, till she gave her a break, slouching on her friend's back and smiling a bit as she felt Ai's fast breathing moving her up and down.

“Now, as we have grown older and wiser, we are not falling for your trap so easily.” Eri said as she poked Ai's side few times, causing the leader to yelp.

“We want something more than just a trip in the town, so we wont be angry at you." Reina continued Eri's words, tickling her leader as well and almost getting Ai's heel in her head.

“And even I am in this childish game...” Sayu mumbled, but kept her pride and did not tickle Ai, which the leader thanked in her mind. She was still out of her breath and she was seeing stars by now, because of the lost of oxygen.

“So, say the magic words and we will let you go.” Eri said, giving Risa a wicked grin and a wink. The bean got up and walked closer to watch the pile of warriors on the floor, smiling all the time. She so could not wait to hear what the ”magic words” were.

Ai huffed few times before she had calmed down enough to speak again.

”Yes, Eri I'll buy you some candies, Reina, I will give you a foot massage and Sayu I'll borrow you my tactic book... Phew.. Now let me go?”

But the team did not let their leader go. Instead, Eri just poked her side again, causing Ai to jump up.

“Hey! I already promised you everything!”

”You forgot one.”

”Eh??”

This time, Eri rose a bit and grabbed Ai's head, turning it towards Risa who was quite surprised of what she had heard.

“Make a promise to her too.”

”EH??!!”

Now both Risa and Ai yelled at the same time. What could she promise to her? She didn't know at all what that girl liked! The same thoughts ran in Risa's head too as she stared the leader with wide eyes, Ai doing the same.

“Well? You going to do that, or we will give you a nice second round of....”

”NO!! No no.... I'll... Umm...” Ai panicked and started to think feverishly what Risa could like so she would be safe from another tickle attack, which her friends would be more than happy to give to her.

“I'll count to ten. One.”

'Come on now, think of something!!'

Though Risa had a feeling she should help the poor leader, in truth, she was quite curious what Ai would promise to her. Well, it could be anything, for the leader would probably just threw out something so she would be saved.

“Two.”

'What does she like? What does she like??'

“Three.”

Not getting anything in her mind, Ai tried to do the second best thing and get away, but soon found it was a bad idea: Immediately she started to squirm free, both Reina and Eri attached their fingers in her body and tickled her, while Sayu just held her in place.

“Now, that took you at least four more... So we are in... eight.”

”Oh shi...”

”Nine”

”I, I... I'LL PRACTICE WITH YOU TOMORROW!”

Ai yelled when the idea popped in her head, causing everyone to get silent around her. Eri stopped counting and even Sayu and Reina loosened their grip, while Ai and Risa just stared at each others.

Well this was something she did not expect, not at all. Risa had thought that Ai would promised her something material or better, not promise a thing for she didn't know this girl at all. But promising to practice with her? Well that was something, for Ai clearly knew that Risa was not very experienced warrior yet so she would have to take it slow whit her.

“Well, that's reasonable enough. Let her go.”

As soon as she got free, Ai shot up but because she had hyperventilated so much, she felt quite dizzy immediately. Her team being still on the ground level, Risa was the one who got there first, when the leader almost fell. She put her hands on Ai's shoulders and pushed her up, but damn was she heavy!!

“Woah...”

Before she even knew it, Risa found herself on the floor on her back and Ai on top of her, holding her head for her vision had darkened for a moment after she had gotten up.

“Uh... sorry...” Ai mumbled as she tried to get up but froze immediately when she noticed who she had dragged down with her. Risa was the same as she could only stare the leader above her. Well this was so non awkward again...

Suddenly, Ai was dragged up and Risa was freed from under her as Eri and Reina had grabbed their leader by her shoulders and drew her on her feet again.

”You better remember those promises then, ne? Now, we're off to town!” Eri declared as she and Reina linked arms together with Ai and started to drag her outside. Sayu stayed a bit behind, shaking her head as she watched her friends to go. Damn those brats. The bunny helped Risa up, who was still a bit shocked of what had happened a moment ago.

“Hey, you okay?”

”Huh? Oh yeah! I didn't fall down hard...”

Sayu just smiled at her and started to walk after her friends, Risa doing the same.

“We better go after them and be there for Ai, because knowing Eri and Reina, those two are going to torture Ai for the rest of the day....”

Risa didn't need to question what the bunny meant for she knew very well. Reina and Eri were known by their hyper mode, which they got once in a while. They both had it always at the same time, never separately. Risa smiled sadly as she remembered what Reina had told her, but she was also happy that her friend could live close with her loved one and be at least in a friendship with her. It was better than nothing, right?

As they exited the building, Risa could see three figures, all dressed in black moving on the street, the middle one trying to get away while the ones on the sides kept a tight hold of their leader. Poor Ai, but she had caused this on her own, Kind of.

“Come on, lets go save Ai....” Sayu sighed as she and Risa started to follow after the trio. They soon reached them and immediately Sayu went to Eri and gently pried her away from Ai, which the turtle protested a bit. Sayu silenced her girlfriend with her arm around Eri's waist and the turtle forgot the leader's teasing for a while. But she would not forget the promises her leader had made.

Reina kept Ai in her hold so that she couldn't get away and Risa just walked beside them. For some reason, the promise that Ai had made to her made her inside tickle and feel funny. Was she expecting tomorrow's practice so much? Well, it at least seemed so, for she had this strange feeling when she just thought about it.

But before that, she would have quite a show when Eri and Reina kept sure that Ai was going to fulfill all the promises she had done today. And Risa was sure, that this show would not end without another tickle attack.

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Hope you liked this chapter~

Oyasuminasai everyone!  :sleep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 26/ 25/04
Post by: darkacex99 on April 25, 2013, 12:18:55 AM
wow things are moving along, the war is fixing to start and Ai wants to b a part of the action, something tells me that Ju is going to mess things up for Ai cuz she seems evil enough

i forgot that the battle scenes may trigger bad memories for Ai and cause her to go cray cray so it will be interesting to see how she does in battle, i hope she goes beast on all them bad guys

 XD Eri, Reina, and Sayu are too funny when they gang up on someone, the countdown was funny too  :rofl: poor Ai-chan XD but at least it caused her to promise to do something with Risa :)

thannk goodness there wasnt alot of awkwardness this time :nervous nice chapter and i definitely enjoyed it :lol:

sleep tight Mssmigge :tama-wakey: :mon bye: :tama-wakey:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 26/ 25/04
Post by: rndmnwierd on April 25, 2013, 08:48:08 PM
I can't wait for the Takagaki practice to happen! That's going to be great.
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 26/ 25/04
Post by: carzung on April 26, 2013, 01:45:28 PM
Wow TakaGaki  :w00t: They're so awkwardness but too cute  :inlove: together.

I really like when Rokkie team up, it's make everything so cute and funny.  :grin:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 26/ 25/04
Post by: alwaysYou on April 27, 2013, 07:00:04 PM
Looking forward for aigaki practice! hope it wont get too awkward  :lol: :lol: :lol:

Demand more sweet stuff between them!!!!  :angry: :lol:

Quote
”Tell Takahashi, that I am looking for her on the battlefield and that my duel challenge is always valid. She better not chicken out...”
something tell me that something bad will happen huh..
Even Ai promise not to duel with the enemy, somehow i think it might still happen..And something bad might happen to her..
but well, i'm ok if something bad is gonna happen to Ai and there's gakisan there to look after her.. :lol:

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 27/ 2/05
Post by: MsSmigge on May 02, 2013, 01:18:43 PM
darkacex99: Just when I got Ai back from her depression and beast mode, you wish that she would turn back? XD Well, maybe I'll make her snap once in a while ;)

rndmnwierd: You don't know how long I have waited this  :lol:

carzung: Someone has to beat some sense in their leader's head and what's better than team rokkie XD

alwaysYou: Lol, the last sentence. I'm not sure if that's sweet or just cruel XD


Thank you everyone for your comments and interest once again~ :shy2:

The next chapter which became WAY LONGER than I expected  :bleed eyes: I got a bit carried away...  :nervous
Hope you will enjoy this.

Here we go~


Chapter 27 - And for a moment, the war was forgotten


“A bit left. No, not that much! Yeah, better. WAIT! Riiight there”

The voice of Tanaka Reina echoed in Risa's apartment as the kitten was having some foot massage from her leader. They had spend quite a long time in the town, relaxing and having fun and Ai fulfilling all her promises she had done to her friends. At the end of the day they had decided to go to Risa's place for it had been the closest one at the moment and since Eri said her place was a mess the bean's clean apartment was voted to be their choice.

Now, the whole gang was sitting on the floor in Risa's living room, the leader giving her promised foot massage to Reina who was laying on the floor on her back. The kitten had her legs in Ai's laps and she was extremely relaxed as she was enjoying her massage. Her hands were on her stomach and there was a smug grin on her lips. Ai almost swore, that her friend was even purring when she was massaged.

The rest of the girls were just sitting and watching the scene in front of them, Eri eating candies and Sayu glancing once in a while the book Ai had given to her. Risa was the only one who had nothing special to do for her promise was to be fulfilled tomorrow. All though, the bean had her doubts would Ai really practice with her.

Also, if the leader cancelled her promise, Risa would not mind. She knew how skilled Ai was and that she was just a beginner, so she would not bring much joy to the leader's training. Nonetheless, she would probably be beat quite badly....

But it would also be nice, if Ai kept her word and Risa was not quite sure why. Maybe it was always nice when promises were kept. Yeah, It had to be that.

“Oi, I think the time's up.” Eri called, causing Ai to slow down her actions only to gain a gentle kick from Reina.

“No it's not. Keep on going, you magic finger.”

But Ai just patted the kitten's feet, giving her last relaxing strokes and leaving Reina's legs in her lap. This caused the younger girl moan in disappointment as her relaxing massage ended.

“Sorry, but if I keep massaging you any longer, you wont be able to practice so well tomorrow.”

”Eh, what do you mean?”

”Muscles get tired when they are massaged enough and then you wont have energy in them, if you don't let them recover.”

”That's stupid....” Reina muttered as she glared the ceiling while Ai just chuckled. The leader looked outside, noticing how late it was already.

“I think I should leave now...”

”Eh, so soon?”

Eri exclaimed suddenly, her mouth full of candy. Yes, it indeed was quite late but the three friends had thought that Ai would literally spend the whole day with them. Including the night, too.

“Yeah, and I think you should leave too,” Ai said as she turned back to her friends. ”Risa probably wants to sleep tonight and that's impossible, if we all stay in here for too late.”

This caused everyone to silence and stare the leader who had a knowing smile on her face. But before anyone could question anything, Eri was already protesting against the idea, for she could see this only as Ai's excuse so she could escape again.

“No way! You're staying here with us! This night, we are all going to camp in here!”

”We do?”

”You do?”

Suddenly everyone's attention had turned to the sugar addicted turtle, who was now on her feet. Eri stormed to the front door and started to put her shoes on.

“Hey, where are you going to?” Sayu called out, but was soon silenced by Eri's hand signal and before anyone could question more, she had left the apartment. There was only the sound of Eri's footsteps as she descended the stairs outside.

“I knew I shouldn't have bought those candies to her...” Ai mumbled as she got up as well. As she did so, she placed Reina's legs gently on the floor and caused the kitten to frown for she had been very comfortable in her current position. Ai headed to the front door where everyone's shoes were. The rest of the girls soon followed after the leader, forming a half circle behind her.

“It has been a nice day, thank you for that.” Ai said after she had gotten her shoes on. She bowed towards her friends, but when she got up she was met only by dark looks and frowns.

“Yeah, it has,” Sayu mumbled. ”But we really hoped that you would rest some more... One day wont replace much...” The bunny crossed her arms in front of her, Reina doing the same.

“But hey, I relaxed and even fulfilled my promises to you, ne?” Ai said, as she spread her arms to her sides, smiling sheepishly at the same time.

”Yeees but it's not the same thing! Damn you're so dense...” Reina growled earning a laugh from Ai. Suddenly, the leader turned towards Risa. She smiled at her, causing Risa to confuse.

“I guess we will see tomorrow at the training place, then?”

Risa didn't answer immediately, for she was quite stunned at what the leader had said. She still remembered her promise? She would keep it? At first, Risa was sure Ai was just joking but the look in her eyes told her, that she was serious. A warm feeling build up in Risa as she watched the woman at her front door. It really felt good to hear that Ai would keep her promise for her, too.

It was obvious, that she would do that to her friends but Risa was not quite her friend. They just knew each others and hang out together because their friends insisted that. But friends or not, this indeed made Risa feel great. She nodded to the leader, causing Ai to smile wider.

“So, good night then guys and see you...”

”Where do you think you're going??” An irritated voice of Eri interrupted Ai, as she appeared at the door just when the leader had opened it. The turtle was carrying some blankets with her and it seemed like she was going to make a camp for a small group. The turtle pushed Ai inside as she entered the apartment. At first, the leader tried to protest, but when Eri glared and growled at her, the older one just shut up and did as her friend said.

Though Ai could order her sub leader, there was just no way that she would do that when the turtle had had so much sugar. When Eri was in her sugar high, no one shouldn't make her angry. The girl just got some inhuman powers when she had enough sugar in her engine.

“Eri, what on earth are you doing?” Sayu questioned her girlfriend, who threw the blankets on the floor, folded her arms in front of her and watched everyone seriously.

“We are all going to stay in here.”

”EH?”

”Yes, you heard me. We will sleep here. Every one of us.” The last sentence was said slowly and clearly as the turtle moved her gaze through her friends and giving a meaningful glare to Ai.

Everyone was silent as they stared at the turtle. Well this was uncalled for but it was not the first time Eri would do something like this. She was also known of her ”great and unexpected ideas” as her ahoness. Reina was the first one to regain from this announcement, as she shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly.

”Well why not? It sounds fun.”

”Eh, you too Tanaka?” Sayu exclaimed as she looked at he friends in disbelief. This was so normal of these two when they were in the mood. They would always team up like this...

“Ano, shouldn't you first ask Risa about this?” The voice of their leader said in and caused everyone to turn their attention towards Risa. The bean was quite shocked, not because she was now the target of everyone's attention, but because of Ai's words. Since when did the leader concern about what she thought about things? This was the second time this evening Ai had mentioned how Risa's opinion should be hear too.

When the bean finally realized what everyone was waiting for, she could not find any words.

The sleepover at her place sounded fun but would they have enough room and blankets? Or well, the room was more likely the problem, for Eri had just brought blankets for a whole army...

But would Ai really want to stay and even if she wanted to, it felt a bit awkward to have her sleep in here and Risa bet it was the same for Ai too.

“Well Risa, it's up to you to decide.” Sayu said. She was not against this plan but she would do as Risa wanted for she lived here and in this aparment, she was the one who decided who stayed and who didn't.

“Mmm... I guess it's not a problem...” Risa mumbled as she didn't find any reason why she should say no. Immediately after she had said that, Eri jumped forwards, startling everyone.

“Yes it's settled then!!”

”Mmm, I think I'll go home...”

”Oh, no you wont!!”

Before Ai could even move an inch, Eri had grabbed her arm and was attacking her sides, causing the older girl to squirm around.

“You'll stay here with us!!” Eri announced as she made circled her arm around the older girl's neck, making a lock around it and immobilizing her leader totally.  After that, the turtle turned towards Risa with Ai. ”Right, Risa?”

All the bean could do was to stare at the two females in front of her. Would it really be okay if Ai stayed here overnight? Thoughts running wildly in her mind, Risa tried to think about something but her mind was so messed up that she only ended up nodding and mumbling something others didn't quite catch. Maybe they would manage somehow...

Seeing this, Ai's eyes widened as she registered what was about to happen. She was going to stay overnight in here, at Risa's place and it was okay to the bean? But before Ai could say or do anything else, she was once again dominated by her sub leader.

“Well it's settled then! Now, come on you macig finger. We have a looot to discuss.”

Eri announced as she dragged the leader after her who tried to get away from the turtle's grasp. But Eri with her inhuman powers had no problems holding back the squirming leader. Ai had no other choice but to do as her friend said.

Sayu and Reina were unusually calm about this situation, as they just shrugged and started to gather the blankets so they could get a good place to sleep. Risa in turn was very, very nervous right now. What the heck? Ai was going to spend a night in here? Though they were in good terms now they were still quite awkward with each others, if the other one came too close to one's personal area.

It was probably, that they were still so unknown to each others. Normally, people would not take strangers in their house or get close to them before they knew them, right? The point was, that Risa didn't know this ”new Ai”. The old one she would have thrown out immediately, but now that the leader had radically changed, the bean was only unsure how to behave around her.

But there was also the fact that maybe, Risa was a bit interested about this ”new person”. Now that she knew that Ai was not so rude and cold, the bean actually wanted to know more about the leader. And that of course meant that they should spend some time together. So, in the end, this sleep over and tomorrow's training wouldn't be so bad, right?

Sighing, Risa walked after Eri, wanting to make sure that the turtle would not do anything stupid in her sugar high. As she found the duo, Risa could not help but chuckle; Ai was still in Eri's tight grib, while the younger one was ranting her something about the candies, the leader nodding her head and trying to squirm away all the time.

They didn't notice Risa, who silently slipped away and went to help Sayu and Reina. At the same time, the bean decided that it would be the time for her and Ai to get rid of these walls around them. Yes, it indeed sounded quite good.

---------------------------------------

The sleepover went surprisingly well and all that Risa and Ai had feared at that night was for nothing. They both slept well, nothing happened and even Eri got down from her sugar high, thanks to Sayu. They had all slept in the living room, for Eri had insisted that they do that because that way, they could even spend the night time together. The turtle had even watched over, that no one would leave the living room after they had went to sleep. It seemed like the turtle was promoted to the group's leader, when ever she got sugar high.

When they all had showed her that they would stay in their places, Eri had calmed down so that Ai was able to do some magic which Sayu had suggested. The leader had sneaked next to her sleeping friend and given her a quick foot massage. This had caused Eri to totally fall asleep and even when Sayu had pinched and tickled her, there had been no reaction from the turtle.

Risa had of course seen this, but she didn't understand what Ai had done to Eri. Well, maybe the leader would explain her someday.

After Eri had been out of the game, everyone had had a chance to change their sleeping place if they wanted to. But for some reason, all the girls had stayed in the living room. They had had enough space and no one was sleeping awkwardly close to anyone, expect Sayu and Eri who slept cuddled up together.

Next to them had been Reina, who had fallen asleep quite fast. Then was Risa and of course, the leader had ended up sleeping next to her. The bean had been still awake, when Ai had returned to her place after knocking Eri out. Just when Ai had been about to lie down, Risa had noticed how the leader had glanced at her. Their eyes had met and though it had been dark they had still seen each others very well.

The staring competition had been broken by Ai who had just smiled shortly and lied down. After she had settled down on her back and closed her eyes, the bean had heard how the leader whispered good night to her. At first, Risa had been speechless but finally ended up saying good night as well, till turning on her side, her back facing Ai.

The bean had been sure that she would not fall asleep at all, but to her surprise, she actually slept quite well.

The morning had come like any other day and everyone woke up early, the only one having problems with getting up being Eri. The turtle had complained about how tired she felt and how her head felt like a mess. Sayu had promised to take care of her and after they had done all the things they needed at the morning, the girl group had left Risa's apartment, Sayu and Eri heading downstairs to the turtle's apartment while Reina left for her own home.

Ai and Risa were now heading to the training area, where the leader was about to fulfil her last promise to the bean. The closer they came to their destination, the more nervous Risa became. She was about to practice with Takahashi Ai, an excellent warrior and what she had heard and experienced, she was VERY GOOD and even a bit feared in the enemy lines.

Risa had also heard a rumor from Eri and the others that Ai had never ever lost in a duel and that she had taken a lot of them. Also, they had told the bean that Ai had a rival in the Heng's clan who searched all the time an opportunity to duel with the young leader. Ai was also doing the same, for she really wanted to beat her rival. But Goto and Miki had made sure that she would not do such a thing.

Duels were always risky and it was said that the general and captain feared that the enemy would cheat immediately, if they got Ai in a duel. She was always bothering them with her skills so they would do anything to get rid of the young leader. The duel would be an excellent moment to do that, because then others had no way to interrupt and if they managed to cheat in hide, there was nothing to do so they could save their group leader.

That was their trainer's opinion and Risa quite understood it with her friends. Ai however was of course thinking otherwise but she respected everything the higher ranking samurais said to her. If she didn't, she would surely be banned from the battles and that would be a bad thing for a warrior who lived her life so she could fight and protect her land.

So, the two had arrived at the training place and were now changing clothes. They decided to leave armors away this time so they would get into the training sooner. There was not so much time for this so Ai had decided that they should use all the time they had effectively. They had other preparations to be done too, before they would leave for a battle next time. That's why, they would make this informal training short but effective.

However, training without all the equipment was not as effective, but Risa agreed that with her skill level she would do very fine without the full armor. After they had changed to their practicing clothes which were the same as the black ones they always wore, but the color being grey, Ai took some wooden swords from a closet and did some magic to them so they could get at least something real in this.

After they had gotten all ready, Ai kept short but intensive warm up which Risa took as a training already while the older one barely sweated at all. Though she had been away for weeks, Ai still had her skills in her mind and spine. During the years, she had also learned to do everything so that she would not waste so much energy. Even though her muscles were not in as good condition as they had been earlier, the leader still had unbelievable strength and stamina.

After the warm up Ai signaled Risa to face her, so they could begin. They bowed to each others and took a stance. Ai had suggested that they would do a little practice fighting at first. It was part of the warm up and at the same time, Ai would get a picture of Risa's skills. She had of course dueled with her once but it was in ”that time”, so Ai had no clear pictures from then. Or more likely, she didn't want to remember that time.

As they started, both moved around slowly at first, circling each others and trying to find a place where to hit. Risa tried to have a go and attacked forwards as fast as she could, trying to hit Ai two times in her upper body. Both her attacks were meant to be in Ai's head, but the leader blocked all the strikes easily only by moving away from the attack's way. The bean cursed and was ready for an attack from Ai, but when Risa got back from the attack, Ai did not follow. She only continued circling around.

This made Risa confuse, for she had thought that the leader would immediately try to go after her. The bean sensed that Ai was planning on something, but she had no idea what the other warrior would do.

Doubting that waiting would only give Ai more opportunities to beat her, Risa decided to attack again, this time hitting twice in Ai's legs and then her abdomen. The leader blocked the first two hits and dodged the last one. When the bean didn't recover fast enough, Ai grabbed Risa's sword so that she would not touch it's ”edge” and pulled forwards, causing the younger girl to fall face first to the ground.

At the same time, Ai stepped aside and let go of the sword, so she would not go down with the bean.

“Ouch...”

Risa grumbled as she got up. She definitely didn't see that coming. As she got back on her feet, the bean remembered that they were in the middle of a fight and right now, she was very vulnerable to any attack. Risa spun quickly around to face Ai, but as she saw the leader's position, she let her own guard fall down.

Ai was standing normally, her sword lowered down and there was nothing that said she would be ready to attack or harm someone. Allowing herself to relax, Risa let her guard completely down. As her sword dropped and her legs straightened, there was only the sound of fast footsteps. The bean managed to only blink her eyes when she was greeted by Ai's face and a sword, which was pointed at her neck.

'Damn... she's fast...'

Risa thought as she stared the leader who had a stern mask on her face. Finally, Ai sighed and took the sword away, allowing Risa to relax.

“Okay, lets start with some basic things...”

Was she that bad? Risa could not help but feel a bit hurt. She had gotten a lot of positive comments from the trainers and her friends when they had practiced. Of course, she had received a lot of critic, too, but as she heard this from Ai, it made Risa feel somehow a bit disappointed.

“Fighting position.”

Ai commanded, or more likely said. She didn't raise her voice but her order was still firm and very clear. Risa did as she was told, doing her best all the time. Ai started to circle the bean. She had her hands behind her back all the time and she moved quite slowly. When the bean turned to look what on earth the other girl was doing, the leader hit her suddenly with her sword's dull side in the back of Risa's knee.

The bean's leg betrayed under her and she fell forwards. Somehow, she managed to stay up but immediately her head rose up, Ai hit her quite hard in her back and Risa fell face first to the ground. Air escaped her lungs as she hit the ground. Risa spat some sand out from her mouth and tried to get up again. As she raised her head up, a hand was offered to her. Risa looked up and found Ai standing in front of her, offering her hand.

At first, the bean was not sure if she should take the hand. The leader could be tricking her and right now, Risa really didn't want to kiss the earth again. But as she examined Ai's face, the bean felt that she could trust Ai this time.

So she took the hand and immediately her skin made contact with the leader's Ai closed her hand around Risa's and pulled the younger girl on her feet.

“Fighting position.” Ai said and for a moment, Risa didn't move an inch. The leader was still holding her hand and it seemed, like she wouldn't let go any moment now. When nothing happened, Ai only smiled at Risa and at the same time squeezed her hand a bit. But it didn't feel like that.

Instead, Risa almost dropped down on her knees as she felt sharp pain in her hand. But all this ended as fast as it had started. Ai loosened her hold and after that, she checked Risa's position. A smile spread on her face once again as she noticed the effect of her little hand trick.

“Well now you're bending your knees.”

“Eh?” That was all Risa could say before Ai let go of her hand. Automatically, the bean took a hold of her sword with both hands as Ai backed away a bit. She examined the bean, nodding her head and mumbling something at the same time.

'What on earth is she...'

“Good, good...” Ai said as she started to circle around Risa once again. ”Now, keep your stance. I am going to disturb you a little bit.” The leader paused in front of the bean, waiting for a sign that the other girl was ready. When Risa slowly nodded her head, Ai only smiled and suddenly, she kicked Risa's leg. The bean waved, but somehow stayed on her feet.

Ai kicked her other leg too and again, Risa moved, but didn't loose her stance. The leader only nodded her head and started to move around the bean again. Suddenly, Risa felt how she was pushed from behind and she almost fell on her face again.

“Keep your stance.”

Ai said sternly, causing Risa to stumble back in her previous position. The leader kept on her assault, kicking, punching and pushing the bean. She attacked from sides, from behind and sometimes she even attacked so that Risa could see Ai. Though the leader was quite rough with her attacks, she never hurt the younger one. It didn't feel nice either, but Risa didn't feel any sudden urge to cut the training because she felt so much pain.

Risa was so sure that she would fall down any minute now, and she wasn't sure if she would get up again. Though they hadn't done this for a long time, the bean already felt how her legs turned numb and her concentration started to loosen.

Ai was now in front of her and she attacked straight forwards. The bean could see that she was going to receive an attack nearby her face. As Ai came closer and she send a punch towards Risa's face, the bean closed her eyes and raised her sword in front of her head for protection.

But the hit never came. Confused by this, Risa opened her eyes and was greeted by Ai's fist which was only millimeters away from her face. Soon, Ai's face popped from behind the fist. She was smirking broadly.

“Remember to keep your eyes open, or,” The leader pushed her fist slowly ahead, so that it made contact with Risa's face. Naturally, the bean started to move backwards so she could get out of the fists way. But Ai had made a little trap for her:

She had put her front leg forwards so, that it was behind Risa's legs. Now, when the bean took one step back she tripped in Ai's legs. There was only a yelp as the younger girl fell down on her butt.

“...This happens.” Ai said as she once again offered her hand to the bean. Risa groaned. Damn she had fallen in a trick. She took hold of Ai's hand and once again, she was pulled on her feet by the leader.

But Ai didn't let go of her hand. ”Fighting position.” Ai said and when the bean did nothing, The leader used the same hand trick she had done before. And once again, Risa bend her knees and made her position deeper. Ai smiled and feet go of the bean's hand.

“Good, your position got a bit better. But now, we have to do something to these...”

Ai reached her arms out and tried to place them on Risa's shoulders. But just before the contact, the leader stopped her movements. Risa frowned, but when she saw the look in the older female's face, she knew what was it; Ai was nervous. She was unsure and she didn't know if she could come this close to the bean.

“It's okay if you touch me...”

Risa huffed, which caused Ai to snap back in her trainer mode. She placed her hands on the bean's shoulders, which immediately tensed as Ai's palms made contact with them.

“Relax. You're way too tense...”

Ai said as she pushed Risa's shoulders down. But the bean more likely tensed them up even more. She didn't know why, but she felt extremely nervous right now. Maybe it was just the lack of experience and that she wasn't very used to this...

Or then it was because of Ai. Immediately, Risa vanished that thought from her head and mocked herself. Why would Ai make her nervous?

Noticing, how the bean didn't relax at all Ai took her other hand and placed it over the bean's eyes. The skin to skin contact made Risa tense up even more. Damn, it was because of Ai that she was so damn tense right now.

“Relax.” Ai said again, her voice a lot softer now. Risa did her best. She tried to think of something nice and she even closed her eyes. When the world around her turned black, she found it a lot easier to concentrate. Her shoulders started to descend and her whole being fell a bit down.

Noticing this, Ai smiled and removed her hand from in front of Risa's eyes.

“Good, keep that. Don't open your eyes.” She said, her voice getting quieter and quieter as she moved around the bean. When she was behind her, Ai placed her hands again on Risa's shoulders. The bean tensed up at first, but when Ai commanded her to relax once again, her shoulders went down.

Ai moved a bit closer, so she could reach out and test how stable Risa's arms were. As she did so, the leader had to come quite close to the bean's back, so that her face was next to Risa's ear. When the bean felt that something touched her arm, her shoulders shot up.

“Don't tense up.” Ai's hot breathing on her ear surprised the bean and she only tensed up more. Somehow, the bean managed to calm herself down and she relaxed. But though her body was relaxed, her mind was a mess.

'Why is she so close to me? What on earth is she doing? Why am I so bothered? Is it hot in here? Okay, concentrate...'

“That's quite good. You can open your eyes now.”

The bean heard Ai's voice, but it didn't come from behind, but from in front of her. As Risa opened her eyes, she could see the leader standing in front of her, grinning. At first, Risa was so confused of all this that she only raised an eyebrow. But when the smirk didn't disappear from Ai's face, the surprised look turned into a frown.

“What is so funny?”

“Oh, just nothing.” The leader said quickly, as she took her sword once again. ”So, to the next subject. But before we move on, I suggest you do some relaxation exercise. You're way too tense and it eats your speed in the battle. Remember, relaxed muscle is a lot faster than a tensed one.”

Risa only nodded her head, so the older one knew that she had gotten the message.

”So, to the next thing. Fighting position.” Ai said suddenly and took a fighting position, Risa doing the same.

All the time, Risa tried to think how she should be relaxed and have a good position. She was still tense, but at least she wasn't standing on straight feet anymore. But if the two warriors were to be compared, Ai seemed a lot more natural than the bean did. That was maybe because the monkey had practiced these things through her whole life, while Risa only had half a year behind her.

“Attack.”

Ai commanded suddenly. At first Risa didn't move at all, but when Ai commanded again, the bean did as asked. The leader blogged the attack with her sword and encouraged Risa to attack again. Once again, Risa did as asked. She attacked furiously, all the time hitting twice or more in the same place.

Finally Ai moved to the side and raised her hand up. This meant that everyone should stop and so Risa did. Ai walked to her and pointed her sword in Risa's shoulder.

“If you want to attack here, where do you attack first?”

Risa glanced first at Ai and then the sword. She then looked back at the leader and answered.

“In the shoulder?”

”No.”

Ai said immediately, taking her sword away and backing few steps. She sighed and took a fighting position as well, but did not move yet.

“Think about this. If you want to hit my shoulder, the first blow can't be in there.”

Risa tried to wrack her brains. She knew that there was something she did not notice. When nothing came in her mind and Risa didn't answer, Ai decided to give her a little demonstration.

“I'm going to attack to your shoulder. Defend yourself.”

Risa nodded and immediately after that, Ai attacked. But she did not try to reach Risa's upper body. She was moving slower so Risa had time to see that the leader tried to hit her in legs. In no time, the bean's sword dropped lower but as she did so, Ai changed her direction and soon the younger one found the leader pointing her weapon towards her shoulder, Risa not having any kind of guard in there.

Ai pulled soon back, but signaled that Risa should stay there.

“Now, if I want to attack you in here, I must trick you to think that I'll attack in somewhere else.” Ai lectured as she pointed Risa's shoulder. ”First, I attacked your legs. Your guard went down and you revealed your shoulder, where I wanted to hit. You follow?”

Realization washed over Risa as the leader spoke and she could finally see the missing part. Damn, she felt so stupid now, of course it was like that.

“You go now.”

Ai said backing away a bit and taking a stance. Risa did the same and when the leader nodded that she was ready, the younger girl attacked. She slashed two times in the leader's upper body, for she had gotten so used to hit in the same place twice. Ai blogged the attacks and ordered Risa to try again.

This time the bean really concentrated and went first at Ai's head. She blogged and Risa had to keep a small pause as she tried to think where she should attack next. After quick thinking she dropped a bit down and tried to hit Ai's legs. The leader dodged, but now she was nodding her head, messaging that Risa was doing something right.

“Good. But,” Suddenly, Ai jumped forwards and hit Risa in her stomach with the sword. The bean tried to dodge, but because she had forgotten to retire after her attack, the distance was so short that she didn't have time to react. Ai's attack hit and Risa felt a light stab in her stomach.

'Damn...'

“You must be faster.” Ai said as she watched Risa back away a bit. ”Now, try again.”

And so they continued. Risa attacked and Ai blocked or dodged her attacks. Every time she would be too slow or forget to retire, Ai would remind her of that in a way or another. But Risa learned quite fast. Soon, the leader couldn't catch her anymore, when the bean attacked quickly in two different places and then retired away. After getting two good performances from the girl, Ai decided this would be enough of this. Risa was getting tired and judging by her face, even frustrated, too.

Just when Ai was about to show the stop signal, Risa attacked her. Ai dodged all three attacks and when she noticed that Risa forgot to retire, she attacked herself. She could have done this in some easier way, but Risa was so tired right now, that she probably wouldn't listen to her so easily.

So, Ai went very close to the bean. She but her hands on Risa's shoulders, pushed her hip close and placed her other leg behind the bean's. Before the younger girl could say a word, Ai had already pushed her upper body downwards and at the same, she kicked Risa's legs from under her. Risa's world spun once and then she found herself from the ground.

Ai let go of the bean quickly and offered her hand to her once again. But Risa only sat up and didn't try to get on her feet. She was panting quite heavily and Ai could also see how her training coat was drenched from sweat.

“Lets take a break.” She suggested and kept on holding her hand out for the younger one. But to Ai's surprise, Risa only glared at the hand. Then, she hid her face and stayed still. This totally surprised Ai and immediately she thought that she must have had taken this too far.

Yes, Risa was a soldier and she should get used to a bit stressing and hard training, but when someone acted like this during the practice, it was never a good sign.

“Oi, Niigaki?” Ai called out and came a bit closer. She noticed how the younger one itched a bit, but did nothing else. Now the leader got very alarmed. What the heck had she done for the bean was acting like this.

“Hey, did you get hurt?” Ai came closer and now she was standing only few inches away from the bean. At first, Ai hesitated, but when Risa did nothing, she reached her hand out and tried to place it on the other girl's shoulder.

'Bingo.'

Suddenly, the reaching hand was grabbed by Risa's as the bean's head shot up. She pulled Ai's hand, causing the leader to fall forwards and almost bowl Risa to the ground. Ai let only a surprised yelp as she fell on her knees. Well this was something she didn't see coming.

As she looked up, she found Risa's smirking face.

“Finally, I caught you.” The bean laughed. At first, Ai was about to scold the bean for scaring her so, but then she got a better idea. Risa's smirk was soon vanished from her face as Ai suddenly smirked back at her.

“Oh, you think you got me?” Ai said as she suddenly got up. ”Well, I don't think so.”

Risa didn't even get a change to protest, when her wrist was suddenly twisted and she was moved on her stomach. She didn't feel any pain, but the force she felt in her wrist was enough to make her do as Ai implied her to. When she was on her stomach, Risa felt how her hand was let go. When she looked up, Risa found Ai above her, laughing.

“Come one, lets take a breaaaaakk!!!”

The leader's laugh didn't last for long when she let out a loud yell, for her legs were suddenly swept from under her. She fell on her back, but she got into sitting position in no time. Risa was still on the ground on her stomach, but she had gotten up a bit so she was able to used her legs. She had noticed how Ai was standing perfectly in front of her legs. Just one movement, and her legs would be swept away from under her.

Risa had decided to have a go and since the leader had been quite unprepared for some reason, the bean had managed to get her fall down.

Ai was staring the bean with wide eyes, as she sat on the ground. She had not seen that coming at all and she was very surprised how the bean had caught her so easily.

'And I even once said that she is not suitable for a warrior...'

The two warriors stared at each others. Though they didn't say a thing, there was a new feeling around them. Like reading each others mind, both shot up suddenly and took a fighting position. As they got up they picked their swords with them and pointed them towards each others.

At first, Ai doubted that this would end well. But after seeing a playful smirk on Risa's lips, the leader decided to against her thoughts. She would play in this.

Once again, like reading each others mind, both warriors attacked at the same time. There was only a loud clanging of the wooden swords as the two women delivered hits for each others.

Once in a while, Ai would hit Risa and the bean would be out of the game for a while. But soon, the battle was on again and both warriors were fighting with all they had. But though it seemed very rough and even serious, this fight was purely a playful one.

When the two would got close to each others, they exchanged playful smirks and sometimes even laughed out loud. There was nothing serious in this. It was just friendly sparring.

Once again, Ai got Risa down to the ground. The bean groaned in frustration. This was at least the 20th time she had been taken to the ground today...

Noticing how heavily the younger girl was panting, Ai decided it would be a good time to take a break. She let got of the bean's arm and once again offered her hand to her.

Risa looked up and when she noticed the hand, and idea flashed in her mind, once again.

'I wonder if she fells for this trick again...'

The bean thought as she reached out for the hand and took it. Immediately after Ai's fingers had enclosed around her hand, Risa pulled with all her might. Ai was totally taken by surprise. She had thought that the other one didn't have any energy left, so she was not prepared to this attack at all.

Ai fell down to the ground face first, but she rolled on her back immediately. By now, Risa had learned to read this game better and she let the leader roll on her back. When Ai had done that, Risa jumped on top of her and straddled the older girl's waist. Ai's eye widened in surprise, but for some reason she didn't fight back. In fact, she was very interested how the bean would use this position. She was now clearly having upper hand in the battle, since Ai was under her and had worse chances to effect on the bean.

“I finally figured out how to beat you...”

Risa huffed and to Ai's surprise, her hands started to travel downwards, Curious what the younger girl would do, the leader raised her head a bit so she could see the younger one's hands. The bean didn't make contact with Ai's body yet, or she would lose the surprise. When her hands were on Ai's sides, Risa gave a wicked grin to the older female. Before the leader could react, Risa's fingers had already sunk in her sides, tickling the over sensitive group leader even through the clothes.

Ai's eyes widened in shock and she started to squirm under the bean, who just kept on her relentless attack.

”STOP IT!!! HAHAHAHAH STOP!!!”

Ai howled as Risa laughed at the same time. Finally she got her sweet victory and the leader was defenceless in front of her. However, her victory did not last for long, for Ai's fighter senses kicked in.

Her hips shot up from the ground and Risa was pushed forwards. The bean's attack ended as her hands shot forwards when she tried to take support from somewhere. This caused Risa to end up  higher on Ai and the leader got a bit too close view of the younger girl's stomach.

But the battle continued on, as Ai pushed Risa away from on top of her and the bean rolled on her side.

They got up immediately, attacking each others again but this time they stayed on the ground level. They were both on their knees as they started to wrestle, the wooden swords long forgotten. Even without weapons, Ai was very skilled and she ended up beating Risa few more times.

The bean just didn't stand a change against the leader. Ai was always one step ahead and Risa found herself many times on the ground on her stomach with the leader on top of her. The situations usually ended when Ai made a lock in some part of Risa's body and the bean had to give up.

But every time, they would get back to the fight. They forgot the time and how this should be a practice. All that was left behind, when the two warriors were having fun with each others.

Once again, Ai had Risa in a head lock as they were both laying on their sides on the ground. The bean had no choice but to tap the leader's arm which was choking her. When she felt the tap, Ai let go of the bean's neck immediately.

After that, she slowly rolled on her back beside Risa as the bean did the same. Though they were tired as hell, both warriors had a small smile on their lips as they tried to catch their breaths. Even Ai was breathless, though she didn't show it as much as Risa did.

This had been fun indeed and even Risa was very satisfied though she had not won at all. But she had learnt a lot and the best thing was that she had indeed enjoyed her time with Ai.

Risa had been quite sure that the leader would be dead serious when things considered about fighting, but no. The way Ai had taught Risa was something totally different than what the bean had expected. The playful and gentle way had made the atmosphere a lot lighter and that had been the key for the locks which were holding these two back around each others.

The bean did not remember when she had had so much fun as she had had few minutes ago. There hadn't been much awkward moments between them and the two had been more like small kids playing around than warriors.

As they were catching their breaths, Ai got up slowly. As she looked outside, she could notice how it was already midday. But instead of panicking, the older woman just smiled. Risa was not the only one who had enjoyed of this practice.

But more than anything, Ai was happy that it finally seemed that they could also act non awkwardly around each others.

As Ai was looking outside, she could hear few coughs from beside her. When she turned to look, she found the bean getting up and grumbling something. The sight was quite amusing and it didn't help at all that Risa was panting like she had just run a marathon. Ai's smile turned even wider and finally, she let out a chuckle.

“What's so funny?” The bean huffed as she looked at the leader beside her. Ai's chuckles didn't subside. They more likely got louder.

“Nothing. I just feel like laughing.”

Frowning, Risa also sat up though her tired muscles protested, but she didn't care right now. Why was the other one laughing at?

“Oi, it's better not to be something about me...” The bean grumbled.

”Well... It kind of is.”

Somehow the leader controlled herself and turned to face the bean. She had a wide grin on her face which caused Risa get a bit annoyed. What was so damn funny?!

”Nani yoo!!”

Suddenly Risa reached out and took Ai by her collar, catching the older one off guard and causing her to fall forwards. She tried to circle her arm around the leader's neck in order to make a neck lock she had learned today. She would erase that damn grin from Ai's face and make her tell her what was so damn funny. But of course, Ai fought back.

The leader pried herself free and turned so that she was face to face with the younger girl. They were now very close to each others and before Ai registered what she was doing she found herself pushing Risa down to the ground.

The younger one lost her balance, but Risa wouldn't go down with out a fight. Grabbing a hold of Ai's collar, the bean dragged the older one down with her. This caused Ai to land quite hard on top of Risa. During the fall, both had closed their eyes and when they opened them, they were greeted with a very close view of the other ones face.

Immediately Ai's fighter senses kicked in and she pried Risa's hands away from her collar and pinned them down to the ground. At the same time she got a bit up and rooted her legs to the ground so that the bean could not use her lower body in order to free herself.

Risa only groaned, for she was too tired to fight back. She let the leader trap her under her and all she could do was to pout at Ai.

The leader laughed as she watched her pouting prisoner under her. She was still grinning like a maniac, but when she spoke, her voice sounded very gentle.

“I was laughing because I simply just have so much fun with you.”

All the struggling stopped and Risa's pout turned into a frown. Had Ai had fun with her? Or was she just saying it?

Studying those beautiful chocolate eyes, Risa found nothing but sincere in them. A warm feeling filled her mind and a small smile formed on her lips. At the same time, the leader's grin changed into a gentle smile as she noticed the change in the bean's expression.

“There. Now, are you satisfied?” Ai spoke quietly, but so that the bean could hear her. Risa only blushed, for she didn't know what she should say to that. Yes, she indeed was very satisfied that Ai had sincerely had fun with her. But somehow, it just felt a bit odd to say it out loud. So, Risa only nodded her head as an answer. She couldn't look straight in the leader's eyes, for it just felt so... How could she say it? Embarrassing?

Noticing how bothered the bean looked Ai frowned a bit. She didn't want to lose this comfortable atmosphere they had just created and Ai bet that Risa didn't want it either. Releasing the younger one's other hand, she moved her now free hand under Risa's chin. The leader turned the bean's head gently so, that she could see her face.

At first, Risa made sure to keep her look in somewhere else than in Ai, but somehow, they just traveled to meet with the leader's gaze. At first, Ai was looking at the younger one below her with a stern look. But as she finally got the eye contact with Risa, the smile came back on her lips.

The hand on Risa's chin opened up and Ai's palm traveled on the bean's cheek. It felt warm against her cheek and somehow, even comforting. Unwittingly, Risa leaned her face slightly against Ai's palm. At the same time, her lips formed into a smile. She didn't know why, but Risa was feeling extremely safe and comfortable right now. And the way Ai looked at her... It made the unknown warm feeling spread inside her.

A silence fell in the training area, but this time it was not an awkward one. In fact, it was very comfortable. The two women were totally lost in each others eyes. They just couldn't turn their eyes or head away but they didn't even want that.

Finally, they both seemed to snap back on earth and realize where they were and in what kind of position. Ai's eyes widened and Risa could not help but blush as she turned her gaze away, embarrassed. The leader got up quickly, releasing the younger one. The warmth was gone from Risa's cheek and if the bean was honest, she felt slightly disappointed because of that.

When Ai got on her feet, she hastily offered her hand to Risa, which the bean took. Being still a bit confused of what had happened a moment ago, the leader pulled Risa up with a bit too much force. As the bean was hauled up fast, she couldn't control the lift up at all. This lead to that that she found herself colliding with Ai's chest. Automatically, the leader's arms took a hold of the bean's midsection and Risa also grabbed Ai's shoulders in order to steady herself. Realizing that they were once again in a close position with each others Ai and Risa looked up at each others.

The fact that they had their faces a lot closer now seemed to steel both warriors. Also, the fact that they were literally holding each others, wasn't helping much either...

Again, the time froze as their eyes met. But this time, they snapped back down on earth a lot faster. Ai coughed and turned her head nervously away, Risa doing the same.

”Sorry, I got a bit carried away...” 'How awkward...'

“No, no... I mean... It's nothing...” 'Well you're not the only one...'

They stood there for a moment, turning their heads around nervously and landing their eyes on anything but each others, till they finally decided to glance the other one at the same time.

But when their eyes met, it didn't take long before there was a smile on Ai's lips. Noticing this, Risa could not help but smile too.

”Ano..” Ai mumbled. ”You.. You did well today. Very well.”

This surprised Risa. Had she really done well? Did Ai really think that?

“I did?” The bean asked, cursing immediately how stupid she must have sounded.

But Ai only laughed and nodded her head. ”Yes. You did well. And.. You learn very fast.”

The smile on Risa's lips got wider when she got the positive feedback. It indeed felt great to hear that she had done well, though through the whole training Risa had felt like she could do nothing.

“Well... I think I just had a great teacher...” The bean said shyly. After hearing this, Ai felt how her cheeks started to get warmer. Before the bean could notice this, the leader had do to something.

“No, No.... It's just that you're a good student and... I mean you learn very fast and...” Noticing how she dangled with her words, Ai got a bit panicked. Damn, this wasn't going very well now.

But Risa could read the game too, and when she noticed that the awkwardness was on it's way, she decided to break it before it reached them. She placed her finger in front of Ai's lips and shut the leader up.

“Lets just say that you teach well.” She laughed and before Ai could say or do anything else, the bean was speaking again. ”I think we should go to change our clothes, ne?”

Ai's head got even more messed up when the bean's finger made contact with her lips. At first, the other girl's words didn't register in her head at all, but when they did, the monkey could not accept more with the younger one.

“Yes, lets... Lets go change.”

And with that, Ai opened her arms and let the bean go. Risa let go of Ai's shoulders and stepped a bit backwards when she was released. The two looked at each others one more time. They smiled and started to walk together to there where their equipment were.

And so, the two went to change their clothes and get ready to leave the training area. They did not say anything, because they didn't need to. The silence around them was now a nice one and the two warriors did not feel the need to escape or break it.

When they were ready, Ai checked for one last time that everything was in order before they left the training place. As they got outside, Ai suddenly rushed to the front door, surprising the bean. The leader went outside first, holding the door open for Risa and smiling gently at the same time. Risa was stunned and all she could do was to smile at the gesture.

“Maa, how polite of you.”

Ai just smiled at her and after closing the door behind them she went beside Risa as they started to walk away.

“Didn't they tell you that I own the best manners from this group?”

”Eh? You?”

Risa blurted and immediately regretted her words, for she must have sounded incredibly rude. Okay, after bearing Ai's rudeness for a long time it was still quite hard to see her as a polite person. Risa was so sure that she had just hurt the leader, but Ai only laughed nervously.

“Well yeah, I... I understand... It's quite hard to believe that, ne?”

Risa was about to deny at first, but somehow she wanted to be honest to this warrior. She nodded her head but immediately started to talk after that.

“But you're different now.”

This caused the leader to smile shortly. Indeed, she was different now and how damn relieved she was because of that. She had missed her friends deeply and all the self torturing she had done to herself had almost made her maniac. But she had not controlled herself then and the leader had vowed to herself that she would never ever fall like that again. She could do that, for she had her friends with her.

Suddenly a sound of rushing steps was heard nearby and as the two turned to look what was going on, a troop, about 30 men, ran past them. This made the happy atmosphere drop as they were reminded what was going on outside this village's walls.

“We will leave soon again...” Risa mumbled, while Ai just nodded her head. She was just about to open her mouth, when their captain showed up to them.

”Takahashi, Niigaki!”

Both warriors snapped a salute, which Miki just waved off as she approached them.

“I was looking for you two." The captain said as she looked at her warriors. "About our incoming battle... Takahashi, Your mission will be the same as always, but remember that you're still under our eyes. Understood?”

The leader nodded her head firmly and the captain turned towards Risa.

“And Niigaki, we have something different for you.”

”Different?”

”Yes. You're going to stay here.”

”What?”

This caused a frown to appear on the bean's face. Miki had anticipated this and she was ready to explain what was going on.

“Now, it's not because you were not so succesfull the last time, but we need someone in here too. Also, I sense that you would probably prefer to stay and keep order in here than go on the field. Am I right?”

Though Risa was a bit disappointed that she was not taken with the others, she could not but accept with her captain. Yes, it was true that she would like to stay in here, because she did not belong to the battlefield. Last time had proven it and she was just in front of the others.

“Yes, captain...”

Hearing her disappointment, Miki placed her palm on the younger girl's shoulder and smiled at her gently.

“Hey, we are not devoting you or anything. We just noticed that we could use you better in here. Satying in the Castle is as important as being on the field.”

The bean nodded her head, smiling a bit at the words the captain had said to her. Noticing that things were okay, the captain patted Risa's shoulder gently and turned back to the group leader.

“Any questions?”

”No captain. I know my mission.”

The captain nodded her head and just stared at Ai. Slowly, a knowing smile rose on her lips and Miki patted the younger leader's shoulder.

”Good to have you back...”

Answering the smile, Ai bowed towards her captain. After this Miki gave a small salute, leaving the two alone. Ai followed after Miki till she could not see her anymore while Risa followed this whole scene very carefully. She could see clearly that these two were not in bad terms with each others anymore and it made her feel relieved.

“So, I think we will meet someday then...”

The leader whispered quietly. The bean nodded her head and could not help but feel slightly disappointed that they could not see each others after one week, like she could not see her other friends either.

They were going on the field and she was going to stay here. Of course, they had a week to spend time together, but depending on her mission at the Castle it was not very sure if she had time to do so. They had preparations to do and Risa would most likely be assigned to do them in the Palace while her friends and Ai would be in the training place.

Thinking all this made Risa feel suddenly very sad and she also showed it by her expression, which caused the leader to frown.

“Please be careful...”

Risa whispered suddenly as she slowly lifted her head up to face the older woman.

”Oi, that's not very convincing...,” The leader mumbled as she suddenly turned towards the bean. ”And we still got one week before we will leave.”

Risa grumbled something, which for some reason caused Ai to laugh.

“But if it makes you feel any better...,” The leader said as she stepped in front of the bean. This caused the younger one to look up and their eyes met once again. ”I promise to be careful. But you promise me to do that too.”

”Well, if I have something to be careful about.” Risa said, rolling her eyes at the same time.

”You never know.”

Risa huffed, but could not help the smile which crept again on her lips. They had a small staring competition again which ended when Ai slowly put her palm on Risa's shoulder, being still a bit shy with her actions.

But when the bean did not stop her, the hand found it way on the shoulder. The contact made both females feel a funny tingling in their stomaches.

“See you.”

The leader said gently and Risa answered, not being able to hide her disappointment once again.

”See you.”

They stayed like this, till Ai dropped her hand and Risa turned around to leave. They glanced each others one more time, before they really left for their homes. However, Ai stopped after few meters and turned around to watch the beans back which was getting further and further away all the time.

The funny feeling inside her hadn't ceased and Ai couldn't quite say what it was. As she watched after Risa, she got a feeling that she did not want her to go away. This day had been awesome and all day long, Ai had had butterflies flying in her stomach. But this was something she had not felt before. Maybe...

The leader shook her head as she got a bit carried away in her thoughts. She could still see Risa walking away, but then she turned around a corner and disappeared. Ai decided that she should go home too, for she had wasted too much time only standing here.

Besides, she would probably see the younger girl again in few days, so she shouldn't think they would not see each others in a long time.

But as Ai started to walk away, the strange feeling would not leave her alone. What was this?

---------------------------

I rewrote this at least four times and still, I am not very satisfied with this... @___@
Well, I don't have any energy left to write it again, so this must do now... XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 27/ 2/05
Post by: rndmnwierd on May 02, 2013, 03:24:49 PM
So much warrior flirting! >.<
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 27/ 2/05
Post by: darkacex99 on May 02, 2013, 05:39:35 PM
haha eri on sugar high is hilarious :cathappy: i know who im not messing with :nervous

its kool how ai kept her promise and is training with risa  :yep:

nice lengthy chapter it was good :thumbup keep up the good work  XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 28/11/05
Post by: MsSmigge on May 11, 2013, 10:59:12 AM
rndmnwierd: I know right XD

darkacex99: People in sugar high are very dangerous, really.... Been there, seen that  :lol: And thanks~


Once again, thank you everyone for your interest and comments~

I might not update in a while, because I have two f***ing training incoming... They both last for 5 days and after that I will have my entrance exams. Yeah, I am going to die.

Anyways, here's the next chapter.

Here we go~



Chapter 28 – I really wish that you will come back alive


As Risa had guessed, she had no time to say proper farewell to her friends when they left the Castle after one week. She only got a small glimpse of them as the village's gates were opened and all the soldiers slowly floated outside, leaving their homes behind.

The Team Alfa had been in it's usual place, the second last group, and they all had their full armor on but Risa could still recognize her friends. The bean had also her armor on, for she was in the same situation as Miki had been when they had had their small talk a long time ago. She was in response of the village's safety now and thought nothing usually, and hopefully, happened in here, it was still a very responsible job.

There were also some other warrior's because Risa was still quite new and she could not be left alone with a responsibility like this. She had also gotten an order to help Lin Lin, who was supposed to be taking care of the wounded ones. The king had estimated that this battle was going to be bloody and hard. Jun Jun had once again brought some important information for them and it was revealed, that Heng was attacking with bigger force once again.

Though Yoshizawa seemed very cool of this situation, everyone knew that the king was very concerned about this. Every lost men made her heart broke and thought she knew that people died in war and had also accepted the fact, she could not help with how she felt. This time, Yoshizawa had stayed at the Castle, for Goto and Miki had insisted it.

It was too dangerous to take their king with them when the enemy was attacking with a such force. Yoshizawa had of course protested but her general's pleading finally made her give in. She also had some administerial things to take care of, so it was better if she stayed away from the battlefield.

Risa walked along the palace's corridors, greeting everyone who passed by politely and saluting higher ranking warrior's. Though no one showed it, there was a huge tension flowing around everyone. They knew that things started to get very serious now and that they should be prepared to anything. Risa was also prepared but she was also very afraid that someday, someone would bring news about her friends, who would never again return back to her.

Vanishing those thoughts away from her head, the bean instead thought about the past week which she had spent with her friends. And indeed, what an extraordinary week it had been! Though, they had practiced a lot the five women had also spend a lot of time with each others.

And for some odd reason, Risa had been extra happy when a certain leader had showed her face every time when they had met with the whole group. But seeing Ai was not the only thing that had made Risa's stomach flip over and butterflies fly in there.

It was the way she and Ai had been acting around each others: Gone were all the awkwardness and tension between them and even when the two had sat next to each others when they had watched how Eri and Reina had set up a fight about Eri's sugar addiction, the bean hadn't felt any kind of a discomfort. Also, Ai had seemed unusually relaxed and calm, though her shoulder had brushed once in a while against Risa's.

And not to mention, the way how Ai acted when they had talked had made Risa very happy. The leader was a bit shy, but she had also shown to have some kind of a humorous side in her and sometimes, she even joked about things. At first, this had confused Risa, but during this one week, she had grown used to it.

But what had impressed Risa the most was the caring side of Ai. Reina had once twisted her ankle in the training and to everyone surprise, Ai had been the first one to get to nurse her. Usually the leader was so concentrated in her own training that she didn't notice things like this. And though the injury hadn't been very bad, the group leader had insisted, that the kitten should go to the nurse. When Reina had refused, Ai had carried her to there.

This had been something Risa got very surprised about but at the same time, it made her feel very good. Ai indeed was a very gentle and nice person in truth and all that rudeness had been someone else in her shoes. And the bean indeed hoped that that gentle side of Ai would stay and never change again.

Stopping by a window, Risa looked outside and to the horizon. Far away, black smoke was visible which told the bean, that the fight had already begun. She prayed, that her friends would return alive and that the battlefield would not change Ai back to that cold and rude person she had been before.

Not now, when Risa had gotten to see under Ai's mask and find out a nice and gentle person.

----------------------------------

After two weeks the first wounded ones arrived to the nurse's place. There were a lot of them and some people had to lend their homes so the warriors could be treated. It was one of the most horrible things Risa had ever seen; blood, a lot o blood, screaming warrior's who had lost limbs or their mental balance. Some survived, but some lost their lives, even though they were treated. In the first days, Risa did not sleep or eat at all, because she just couldn't. All the horrible pictures were all the time teasing her mind and the screams would not leave her alone, even when all the person's in the nurse's place were sleeping. Luckily Lin Lin understood immediately what would happen to a young person who saw this for the first time.

Once, she went to see Risa at night and gave her something to drink and after that she had taken the girl's head between her hands and rubbed her temples gently. Risa had not found out yet what Lin Lin had done to her that night but it made her feel a lot better. That night, she slept well and after this she was also able to eat and even when she was helping the patients, she kept her cool and was not so shocked of all the blood and injuries she saw. Without Lin Lin, Risa was sure she would have lost her mind in here. With her help, she was able to think clearly again.

After few days the warriors had left, Risa already found herself missing after them. But what surprised her even more was the fact, that she missed even Ai. The feeling was new for her and every night Risa went to sleep, she could not get the leader's face out of her mind. She even once got a dream of her! This was very strange indeed...

Soon, there was another wounded group to be fetched and Risa was ordered to do that. The wounded ones were usually transported some kilometers away from the battlefront, so it would be safer to evacuate them. Risa left with a small group, about 20 warriors, having wagons with her so they could take the wounded warriors away easily. As they approached the evacuating place, the scene around them turned darker and darker all the time. The sky was dark because of all the smoke and there were blood all around. Risa was sure that she even once saw a corpse on a side way.

When they finally arrived to their destination, there was one person standing beside the road, crouching behind a tree and keeping her eyes keenly on the road. When closer, Risa raised her hand up and did a signal which revealed that she was not an enemy. The warrior behind the tree answered and started immediately to wave with her hand when another warrior jumped from a hiding place to check the situation. Risa recognized the person immediately and so did the soldier as she gave more signals and soon, the road was filled with warrior's carrying wounded ones to the wagons. Risa rode closer to the person who had given the last signals and she could not help but feel a bit of happiness to see that she was okay.

The warrior met her halfway, but stopped a few meters away from the horse. Risa was once again riding Fuego and was by so far the only one who could handle it well. Seeing this, the bean stopped her horse and mounted down. After patting the stallion gently she went to the soldier, who had by now removed her mask and helmet so Risa could see her chocolate eyes better.

“Hi there.”

Risa greeted, which Ai only nodded her head a bit, but there was a visible smile on her lips. She was happy to see Risa again but at the same time, she was worried because this was not the exact place where she wanted to meet with the girl.

“Where are the others?”

Before she could chat anything else with Ai, Risa wanted to make sure that her other friends were okay as well.

“Reina is here helping me with the evacuating. Eri and Sayu are at the field doing their own mission.”

So they were all alive and okay. That made a relief wash through Risa and she allowed herself to relax. As long as her friends were okay, she would be okay.

“That's good to hear...”

The bean mumbled as she glanced at the wagons which were slowly loaded by the wounded ones. The ”emergency wagon” was already full and it was already leaving the place, like they had planned. It had the small textile, like all the evacuation wagon's, that it should not be attacked.

“How are things going at the Castle?”

Ai's voice dragged Risa's attention back to the leader, who was watching her now with a stern face.

“Quite well, though, we are drowning to these wounded warriors...”

”It's quite normal and this is not even much yet...”

”Yeah, I know...”

”Risa!!”

Suddenly a different voice interrupted them. When the two turned to look, they could see their kitten friend running toward them. When she got to them, Reina could not help but launch herself on Risa's neck, almost knocking the bean down.

“Well hi there Reina!”

Risa embraced the kitten back. It was so good to see her again. Ai smiled at the two, but suddenly she moved and grabbed both girl's by their shoulders and pulled them back.

”Hey, what the...”

Reina started to protest as she was teared away from her friend and almost fell down, Risa being the same. They were both standing behind Ai, who had spread her arms wide and was now staring the black stallion in front of her.

”Fuego...”

Risa whispered as she suddenly remembered that the horse was not very fond of others being close to her. Ai had seen how the animal had gotten restless as Reina and Risa were embracing each others and finally decided to divide them. The leader had pulled them away and immediately after seeing this, Fuego had stopped in front of the group leader, being much calmer now. Risa frowned a bit as she walked past Ai, but the leader grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the horse.

“Hey! What are yo doing?” Risa protested.

”Be careful around that horse!” Ai ordered, her eyes not leaving the stallion in front of her.

”Fuego knows me! It wont do anything to me!”

”Hey Ai, I think that's not very good idea to do that in front of that horse...”

Reina interrupted her friends as she had noticed in what kind of position they were. Ai had protectively wrapped one of her arms around Risa's waist, while she held her other free so she could do something, if the horse decided to do ”attack” again. Last time Reina even thought about approaching Risa around the horse, she had gotten almost kicked in head, for the stallion was very overprotective when it came to Risa.

The group leader turned to face Reina, frowning at the same time. What did she mean? That animal could be dangerous and she should do nothing?

“Ai, there's nothing to be worried about...”

Risa said calmly as she tried to gently pry herself away from Ai's hold.

“But that's Fuego! The most restless horse I have ever seen!”

”Yeah, but it is calm with me and if you didn't notice, I rode him here. Just look...”

And with that, Risa finally got away from the leader and went to pet thee animal, which had been calm for several minutes now. This caused Reina to frown. Why had the horse been so calm though Ai had had Risa in her arms? Suddenly, an idea came to her mind.

”Ai, go closer that horse.” Reina encouraged the leader.

”Why?”

”Just go now.”

Frowning, Ai did as her friend told her to and went beside the horse. Though she looked very calm and convinced, the leader was prepared all the time. She knew Fuego and once it had even bitten her, when she had been careless around the stallion.

”No, the other side! Where Risa is standing!”

Again, Ai did as asked but she was all the time thinking that her subordinate had lost her mind. What the heck was this? Risa was quite the same as she tried to figure out what the kitten was doing.

As Ai stopped beside Risa, Reina waited for a few moments and when nothing happened, she implied Ai to move aside. Ai did so and now Reina started to approach the horse and Risa. Immediately she got closer, the stallion started to act restless and calmed down only when Reina started to back away. After doing that, she showed Ai that she wanted her to go beside the horse again. Ai walked to her previous spot beside Risa, the stallion only waving it's tail few times but not showing any kind of signs to be restless because the leader was close to Risa.

“What the heck...”

Reina mumbled as Ai and Risa glanced at each others and then the kitten. They had no idea what the other warrior was trying to find out with this, but then their question was answered by Reina's outburst.

”Why is it that when I get closer, that horse goes crazy but when Ai is there, it's calm??!!”

Now the lights switched on in Risa's head too as she realized what Reina had tried to solve with this. Ai was standing between her and Fuego and the horse was calm as a cucumber. Usually, it didn't let anyone get close to her, but now it let the leader be. Strange...

“What do you mean?”

Ai was totally outside of this all and she had no idea what Reina was ranting about. Suddenly, the kitten's ranting stopped and for a while it seemed like she had seen a ghost or something. But then, her shocked face turned into a mischievous grin.

'Oh, so it's like that...'

“Reina, what's so funny?” Risa asked a bit concerned as she noticed the smirk.

“Oh, nothing nothing! Just that you look so lovely together." Reina paused and smirked even more, giving a wink to her friends. "Like a couple.”

”Reina!!”

”What the heck?!!”

Both Ai and Risa started to yell at the younger girl, who only giggled as she came closer. However her smile dropped immediately, when Fuego noticed her and started to turn it's ears behind and move restlessly again.

“Woah, woah. I wont come any closer to these lovebirds here.”

”WHAT??!!”

Now both Ai and Risa were blushing furiously. Risa just turned her face away while Ai growled and tried to go after her subordinate.

“Reina what the...”

”Oh! All the wounded ones are in the wagons! It means it's our time to go. See you around Risa!”

And with that the kitten gave a hand signal and the troops they had had with Ai started to follow her, leaving their leader behind. Ai growled as Reina got away. She would deal with her later. Turning around, Ai went to Risa, who was still facing away and was now absentmindedly brushing Fuego's soft fur.

“Hey, you okay?” She asked gently as she placed her hand on the younger girl's shoulder, causing her to stiffen immediately.

“Yeah! Yeah, I am... Ano, what Reina said...”

A silence fell between them as both women felt how their faces got a bit warmer. They turned away once again, Ai coughing few times and Risa mumbling something.

”Mm... about that...”

”Niigaki-san!”

A different voice interrupted them as a soldier approached them. A young man,  who was a lower ranking, came to them and immediately he noticed the leader, he gave a salute which Ai answered.

”May I talk to Niigaki-san, ma'am?”

”Sure.”

After gaining permission from Ai, the warrior turned towards Risa and spoke: ”We are ready to leave now. The wagons are loaded and men are ready.”

Risa nodded her head a bit and glanced behind her, noticing how the road was now empty off the warriors and only the wagons with their drivers were there.

”Okay. We will leave in two minutes. Get everyone ready.”

”Yes.”

And with that, the warrior saluted both of them and went away. Risa turned back towards Ai, who was looking at her with a concern.

”I think it's good bye now.”

”We will see again.”

The leader assured as she smiled a bit at the bean, who answered with her own smile. They stood a while in silence, till Ai gently tapped Risa's shoulder with her hand and took few steps backwards, putting her mask and helmet on at the same time.

”Take care of yourself.”

”You too.”

Before the mask was on Ai's face, Risa got a glimpse of her smiling face, before she turned her back to her and started to run after Reina and the others.

Slowly, Risa lifted her hand and placed it on her shoulder were Ai's hand had been a while ago. She could still feel the touch and it made her feel warm inside.

Watching Ai's back, Risa could not help but smile a bit as she sent her prayers after the other warrior.

'I really wish, that you will come back alive...'

-------------------------------------------

As night came, both sides retired to their camps and did only small attacks once in a while. In Yoshizawa team's camp the atmosphere was quite heavy for there had been massive losses in their side. But what warmed their minds was that the enemy had lost at least the same amount of warriors, maybe even more, as they had. It always gave them hope to know, that they were not losing and that there was all the possibilities that they would win this battle.

But it was not easy, as they had to be on guard 24/7. They didn't get much sleep and when they did, it was very disjointed and every single fighter saw nightmares if they managed to fall asleep for a longer period.

There was a small basement few hundred meters away from the battle front, where the troops rested and sustained their equipment and themselves.

Ai was sitting outside of the tents, watching in a campfire. She wasn't tired, or more likely, she didn't want to sleep. She had gotten all kind of nightmares every time she fell asleep and when she woke up she was even more tired than what she had been before she had gone to rest.

She also avoided sleeping because the nightmares had been one of the things which had changed her five years ago. Even now, after the nightmares the group leader felt like a different person. And what was the worst was that she could not prevent those nightmares. They just came to her mind, though she tried to keep them away by thinking something nice.

So now she was spending her rest time just staring in space and thinking. The leader knew that she needed to sleep but she just could not. She hated those nightmares and this was the only way to avoid them.

“Ai.”

Her sub leader's gentle voice ended the silence and the turtle joined the leader, sitting beside her. Eri said nothing in a while, but Ai could sense that something was bothering her.

“You should sleep...”

And there it was. Smiling, Ai just shook her head and moved her gaze up, watching the sky were stars were not visible all because of the black smoke and clouds.

“I am fine, thank you. But shouldn't you go to rest, for....”

”Not before you go.”

Sayu's voice came out of nowhere and as Ai turned to watch, she found Reina following after the bunny and soon the whole team was sitting around the campfire. Ai knew what this was and she didn't like it. The look on her teams face told that they would sit here with her, till she would give in and go to sleep. A smile formed on Ai's face once again. Damn, she had great friends.

“You know that we wont leave before you go.”

Reina said in and crossed her arms in front of her, pouting at her leader, Sayu and Eri doing the same.

“But I don't want to...”

Ai said quietly as she dropped her head down, all the nightmares coming back in her mind and making her feel even worse. Damn this war...

“It's because of your nightmares?”

Eri's soft voice surprised Ai. How did she know? If Ai remembered right, she had not spend any rest time with Eri and when she had slept, she was positive that she had been alone then. The questioning look on her leader's face was all that Eri needed, so she could read the older one's mind once again.

”I saw you tossing around one night. It reminded me immediately of the time when your mental state was unbalanced and you had those nightmares.”

”Oh...”

That was all Ai was able to say. So someone had seen her while she had been sleeping. It was not that Ai didn't want to sleep with others, but every time she calmed down, her senses became hyper-active and all the small sounds made her jump up and be ready to action. That's why sleeping with others would be problematic, cause the leader would probably attack someone who just turned around when asleep.

“I know it's hard, but when you go to sleep, try to think something positive. Just anything. It helps me a lot.” Eri tried to advice her leader.

”Well you have Sayu to sleep with...”

Reina mumbled which caused everyone to look at her with a frown, the kitten once again spreading her arms and questioning the dark looks she received from others.

“What now? Of course you sleep better when you have your lovely bunny with you, ne?”

Ai was expected Eri or Sayu to say something back to Reina, but to her surprise the couple only nodded a bit, a visible blush decorating their face. Reina in turn just smiled broadly as she saw that she had been right.

”See? That's what you need. Someone to sleep with!”

"Reina....”

Sayu sighed as she noticed that her friend was getting a bit too excited again, which caused Eri and Ai to chuckle. Someone to sleep with would have been a bad idea, for Ai would have just kicked the poor person all night long, because of her senses.

”Hey, wait! I got a better idea!!”

Suddenly, the kitten had gotten extra energy and was now jumping around like Eri did when she got too much sugar.

“Oh yeah, I can't wait to hear this....”

Sayu mumbled After a while, Reina stopped, took a broad stance and held one finger up.

“Oh you're going to love this one.”

”What is it....”

”We should have Risa here for our leader.”

”What?”

”Risa?”

”.............”

Both Sayu and Eri watched their friend like she had gotten insane, but Reina's grin got even wider when she noticed how her leader hid her face.

”Reina what are you talking about?”

Eri laughed nervously, while Sayu was still watching the kitten like she was an idiot.

“Oh, you should have seen them together today. It was almost like they could not let each others go.”

”Hey, it did not go like that!!”

Ai protested as she tried to make Reina stop, but her friend was now posing dramatically, giving the whole team a show of her theatrical skills.

”Oh, Risa be careful! Yes, you too! Be sure to come back to me again!”

And so she went on, making all kind of classic ”farewell phrases” and poses.

“You know it was not like that! And you don't even know what happened in the end when you left so early!”

Suddenly ”the Reina theater” stopped and the whole team turned to look at their leader, Reina still grinning like a maniac while Eri and Sayu were staring at their leader with wide eyes and mouth open.

“Uuuu, so something happened?”

“No....”

The leader grumbled as she turned her face away, so her friends could not see it. She felt how the temperature raised slowly bit by bit and there was no way that her skin was as pale as it usually was. Yup, it had to be like an apple now.

“Aww, come on now Ai, you can tell us.”

”There's nothing to tell about...”

By now, Reina had somehow sneaked herself behind Ai and was leaning on her shoulder with her arm, having that stupid grin on her face all the time.

“Well that's true. There's no way that you will say something to us..." She mumbled quietly, but Eri and Sayu could see the mischievous grin on her face. "But, I am sure that your face does.”

Taking her leader by surprise, Reina poked her side a bit causing Ai to jump. Using this, the kitten pushed Ai forward so her face could be seen in the campfire light. There was a silence as both Sayu and Eri's eyes widened even more and their mouths fell open.

Ai was deeply blushing and there was no way that it was because of the heat. The campfire was just too weak and now was almost winter so the outside temperature was very low, too. Reina put her arm around Ai's shoulders and moved her face closer to Ai's blushing one.

“Now, would you like to admit that you have something to tell us?”

The leader said nothing, as her kitten friend cooed beside her. She just could not, there was no way that she could spill her mind out to these guys. She wasn't even sure of her feelings and she had all the time denied them when she was having a battle in her mind about this.

Suddenly, Risa's image popped in her mind again and the temperature in her body raised once again. That smile, those brown eyes very similar to her own, that voice and her whole being. That all made her feel funny inside and not noticing at all, the leader had soon spaced out and was blushing even deeper, which of course did not went unnoticed by her friends.

Eri decided that this was enough. Ai was seemly embarrassed and if they took this any longer, she would get frustrated or stressed out and that would not be a good thing at all.

“Reina, let her go. I think we should all go to sleep. You too, Ai.”

Reina pouted a bit, but when she saw Eri's determinated face, she decided to leave this subject to be.

”This is not over yet...”

She whispered to Ai, who did not respond anything. She just stared down her feed, trying to get herself calm down.

”Sayu and Reina go ahead. I'll escort Ai to her tent.”

Sayu just nodded and walked to Eri, giving her a quick kiss, while Reina just pouted but as Eri glared at her, the kitten shut up and went with Sayu, not saying a word to her leader about this subject.

As her friends had gone, Eri took a hold of Ai's arm and dragged her towards the tent. Surprisingly, Ai did not protest at all but followed the turtle obediently.

As they reached the small and empty tent which was Ai's resting place Eri held a ”door” open to her leader and Ai crawled inside, immediately laying on her side, but not closing her eyes. Eri smiled a bit and patted the older woman's thigh gently before leaving herself.

But before she could get even on her feet, the leader's voice made her to stop. At first, Eri did not hear what she said so she crouched down again and went a bit closer.

“What did you say?”

Again there was just some mumbling and Eri had to ask Ai to speak a bit louder, which caused the leader to bury her head in to the cushion she had under her. But now, she spoke louder and Eri could finally hear her.

”I can't get her out of my mind....”

This surprised Eri quite much, for she had really thought that this ”Risa Ai thing” was just something Reina had made up. But could it be that those two had gotten something between them? Could it...

Before starting to do any kind of analyzes, Eri just smiled and patted Ai' again, this time on her shoulder before she leaned forwards so she could whisper in her ear.

”Maybe, if she doesn't leave your mind, you might be able to sleep tonight.”

If she could choose, she would prefer to dream of Risa than those nightmares she had once in a while, too. Ai did not respond, only nodded her head and Eri got this as a sign that she should go now, before her leader would get up and resist to go back to sleep.

”Good night Ai. Sweet dreams.”

And with that Eri left her embarrassed leader to sleep and went to her own tent which she shared with Sayu. Ai stayed awake for a while, thinking about all the things her friends had said to her tonight. Then, her mind was filled again by Risa and especially with the moment today, when she had seen her at the evacuation place. How good it had felt to see her face again and know, that she was okay. Or well, of course she would be okay, if the front line was defended well. There was a very small risk for commando attacks, but they were possible, too. It had been a surprise strike to Risa's village too, thought he front line had been defended.

Before she could recall anymore of those sad memories, Ai changed the pictures in that girl who had made her life so different lately. And with Risa in her mind, Ai found her lids closing slowly and soon she was snoring lightly, having a dream of the person in her mind. That night, the young leader slept well, Risa in her mind through the whole night and when she woke up next morning, she felt like a reborn.

And then, she made her decision. She would survive today, too. She would go back home once again and she would see her. Right now, she wanted that more than anything else.

-----------------------------------

I hope you enjoyed~  :cow:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 28/11/05
Post by: GNUpon on May 11, 2013, 01:09:40 PM
I'm a ninja that has been lurking alot on this fic  :mon hobo:  :nervous
but this day i decided to show myself up  :cool1:
and tell this is such a beautiful fic  :ptam-shy:

well then writer-san here are my reactions: 

that fuego horse is a takagaki shipper  :farofflook:

Quote
”Well you have Sayu to sleep with...”

Reina mumbled which caused everyone to look at her with a frown, the kitten once again spreading her arms and questioning the dark looks she received from others.

“What now? Of course you sleep better when you have your lovely bunny with you, ne?”


yeah someone to sleep with.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sUWHo5HN_uQ/T_7AsY6C1hI/AAAAAAAAA5Q/ysbZJfaA8eg/s1600/Spider+man.jpg)



Thank you for this great chapter :farofflook:

 :pen_whirl: Bye bye~  :pen_whirl:

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 28/ 11/05
Post by: darkacex99 on May 11, 2013, 08:33:34 PM
yesss an update XD

risa helping out linlin oh yeaa 8)
poor ai, cant sleep again :( and her awesome friends helping her out :) so nice

reina is juss too cute :cathappy: such a kid, i like "reina's theater" i can just imagine all the exaggerated things she does to replay the story haha :lol:

MsSmigge do you best these next couple of days, and dont die  :pleeease: u will survive :on hypto: u will suuurvivvvveee :on hypto:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 29/ 29/05
Post by: MsSmigge on May 29, 2013, 10:07:54 PM
GNUpon: Well hello there new reader  :welcome Thank for your comment  :wub: And that huge face what ever got me totally XD Hope to see you more around here~

darkacex99: There has to be someone to lighten up the atmosphere in the middle of the war~ That's why Reina theater~ And thank you for cheer. I will survive somehow XD

Thank you everyone for your interest and comments~ I had my training and one entrance exam and now I just have to empty my head.  :depressed: Then I can continue reading for my second entrance exam which is after one week~ (And I am going to write a new history for Europe like I did today.... XD I pity that person whoever checks my answer.)

Anyways, here's the next chapter.

Here we go~


Chapter 29 – A peace, which had grown to something deeper


The battle front was filled with smoke and fire. Death bodies laid all around and the stink of burned and rotten meet was almos unbearable.
There was a battle going on as the two teams had stroke against each others once again. This time, it was all or nothing duel, as both sides put all the force they had to use in their attack.

But one side was more nervous than the other one, for they had a certain uncertainty of one thing. Along the whole battle, which had taken for six weeks now, The Heng team had been disturbed by the Team Alfa. The small group always seemed to strike when the other side was in a bad situation and with their surprise attacks they managed to do a lot of damage to them and weaken their motivation to fight.

Once again, the team was prepared but now they had a whole different plan in their hands. It was required, because if they used the same plan all the time, enemy would start to learn their strategies and it would be easier to block them. This time, Goto was moving with the team, as they were hiding in a forest nearby the battle front. They had somehow managed to sneak behind their enemies side once again and it would have been easy to strike from here and make two fronts for the Heng. But the general had thought that they needed something stronger now, something that would push them back totally.

Ai was standing a bit separately with her team who were all on horse back. The small group of men where on foot, including Goto.

The general gave a signal and the group behind her prepared to strike. Gathering all her concentration, Goto but her palms together and soon, something started to form in between them. A grey dust ball like thing was soon formed and after it was about a size of a pumpkin, the general raised her arms up, aimed and released the ball from her hands.

The dust ball shot away landing exactly in the middle of the two battling groups. Miki was left with the other group and after getting a signal from the general she had had 10 seconds to back away. They had done so and now the enemy ran straight into their trap. As the ball Goto hand send hit it goal, a small explosion was heard and then the field was filled with smoke.

Immediately after this, the general gave a signal and the Team Alfa was on the move with the men behind them, swords drawn and ready to fight. They went quickly, but avoided screaming their far cries until they were in the middle of the smoke. They did not see anything but they knew their own men. The general had put a small light ball in their own men helmet so the warriors could recognize their friends in the smoke.

Ai was the first one to reach the smoke and almost immediately she was met by a group about 10 men of enemy warriors who were very shocked because of the smoke. The first few Ai blocked with her horse, making them to fall down and at least one of them lost consciousness. Next ones Ai used her sword mercilessly, causing blood to spill around and the soldiers to fall down with silent screams.

Soon the others joined in and now the enemy was just a mass of panicked soldiers. They did not see a thing and they were panicked because of the smoke. When they tried to escape, they were either blocked down by a horse or then someone just came out of nowhere from the smoke and killed them. This caused a huge panic erupt and all the warrior's on Heng side tried to escape.

Outside the smoke, where the Heng's general Ju was standing with her small group and Sayaka, all the warrior's were watching the scene with a shocked expression. They could not see anything, but they could hear what was happening. Their men begged for mercy and were escaping but on top of all noises were the war cries Yoshizawa's men were screaming.

Ju just gritted her teeth as she saw more men run away from the smoke.
Finally, one warrior crawl her way to the general. She had some wounds and her face was bleeding, but she could still move one.

”General!”

She cried out and fell on her knees beside Ju's horse. The general just glared at her because she knew what this bishop was about to tell her and she didn't want to hear it.

”General, we have to retreat. Our men wont last long and if we don't get away, we will all get killed.”

Ju just glared the smoke from where the soldiers were still escaping. After few minutes the screaming and running soldiers ended and one of Yoshizawa's soldier came into view. Ju snarled as she recognized the other general who was staring at her.

“General, we got to go...”

Suddenly Ju took her sword out and slashed to her side. There was a silence, which was followed by a thud as the female warrior's head fell to the ground. Ju didn't even bother to look at her side, for she was occupied now by Goto.

She pointed her swords towards the Yoshizawa's general sending daggers towards her.

“We'll meet again and then I'll finish you and that damn Takahashi.”

With that Ju kicked her horse's sides which caused the animal to jump. Giving some orders Ju rode away with her men and Sayaka and moment by moment, the battlefield got more quiet as the Heng clan's warriors were escaping.

------------------------------------

As the last warriors, who had been able to escape, were gone, Yoshizawa's team started to clean up the battlefield. They searched their own wounded ones and treated them. They tried to help Heng's men too, but they usually only ended up committing suicide. It was a shame to be helped by the enemy and killing her or himself was a lot better way. It was also their master order that they had to do so, if they were offered help.

The Team Alfa was also helping with the clean up, taking wounded ones to the evacuation place and trying to treat them as best as they could.

Ai was carrying one wounded male warrior on her shoulders with Reina as they were approaching the place were the evacuated ones were to be taken. They had not survived without wounds either, but their injuries were less fatal. Ai had gotten some painful hits in her leg and upper body. There was quite nasty wound made by sword in her thigh, but luckily it was not very deep. The armor had protected her enough so the swords edge hadn't gotten very deep under her skin. But it was bit hard to walk because of the wound. Also, moving her other arm was one pain in the ass, but Ai could live with it somehow.

Reina had gotten her old wound open again and it had also gotten another hit, but luckily it had not caused any fatal bleeding. She had been lucky that her armor had not been completely on it's place as the hit had come, or she would probably have no arm anymore.

Eri had gotten a small slash in her stomach, but once again she was being lucky that the blade had not done very deep wound. Her stomach was only sore and it hurt to do some things, but it would go away with time. Sayu had survived almost without injuries, she had only some bruises here and there but nothing more.

When Ai and Reina finally arrived at the evacuation place they saw for their relief that wagons were already approaching them. This was good, so they did not need to wait anymore. They would get the injured ones away from here so they could be treated better in the nurse's place in the Castle.

The help they got on battlefield was very limited and all the others could do to them was draining the bleeding and give some basic magic which healed very small scratches and so. But they could not disinfect the wounds or sew them close, neither could they repair broken bones or do anything when someone's stomach was sliced open. The treatment they did kept the warrior alive, but did not erase the pain or injury. It was just something that kept their souls in their bodies till they got a real treatment from their nurse and other medical persons.

Ai lifted the man she was carrying carefully down with Reina and made sure that he was okay. This warrior had a tight bandage around his right leg, just above his knee. He had done it to himself when he had been injured and immediately evacuated from under the enemy's threat. These warriors were trained so, that they could act even under a lot of stress. Even though they felt pain and would be in panic, their training always kicked in first and they would save their or their friend's life before it was time to panic. If this man had not done this comprehension bandage to himself, he would have probably died in blood loss.

Checking that the bandage was okay and that the man was breathing, Ai left him in a comfortable position, keeping all the time sure that he could breath easily, and went to the approaching carriage. A disappointment washed over her as she noticed that the driver was not the person she wanted to see. It was some young girl, about 13 or 14 and she had younger student clothes. She saluted Ai immediately she got closer, the leader just waving her off when she recognized who the girl was.

“Takahashi Ai-san. Mittsui Aika ready to take injured one's away.”

Ai nodded her head a bit and pointed towards the group of wounded warrior's. Mittsui saluted again and gave some signals to the people behind her. Soon, there was a group of men taking care of the injured ones and loading them in the carriages.

Ai left them to do their work and went back to Reina, who was now talking with the captain. The leader hurried to them, because Miki's being told her that there were some news to be told. And she was right, for the captain immediately turned to her when she got closer.

“Ah there you are. I have some good news for you.”

”Yes, captain?”

”We are able to leave soon.”

Ai's eyes widened in surprise. What was this? They could leave?

“But isn't there a lot of work to do? Also, what about the enemy?”

”We are leaving a small group in here which should arrive from the Castle in any moment now," The captain said before Ai could open her mouth again. "We have tired and injured warrior's and they need their rest so they can fight better in the next battles. Also, the enemy thread has gotten smaller now. Jun Jun informed us about the situation behind the enemy borders and she even managed to spy some of the leader's talking. We have no need for such many men in here now, so we are sending you home. I'll go too and general stays here until she gets enough new leaders in here.”

Ai could not believe her ears. They were able to return to home now, they had won this battle. Though Ai loved to protect her land and fight for it, she also loved her home and sometimes it felt so good to get back and just rest for a while. But now, among all the other things, she had also something new occupying her mind.

'I can see her, too...'

“So, get your men ready and prepare to leave.”

”Yes, captain.”

Miki smiled a bit and left for to check the other warriors, leaving Ai alone with Reina. The two friends smiled at each others and gave each others high fives and an one armed hug.

“We are going home...”

”Yeah we are...”

They stayed like this for a while, savoring the truth that their friend was alive in front of them. Though they were warriors and they had to be prepared to that, that their friends might fall someday, they always joyed about these little moments when they all were safe and okay.

“Lets get prepare our leave. I want to see Sayu and Eri, too...”

Ai whispered to Reina who just nodded her head. They let go of each others and went to search for their friends, who they found soon. Sayu and Eri were very relieved to see their teammates too and immediately they got closer, Eri gave a bear hug to both Ai and Reina, causing the later one to blush furiously. Luckily, Ai neither Sayu didn't notice it at all and so the kitten avoided all questioning and such.

“We did it guys!”

Eri celebrated as she went back to Sayu and gave her a hug, the younger one reminding her all the time about her injury and how she should be careful. But Eri could care less now. She was alive, her friends were alive, the enemy had retreated and they were going home. Of course, they all knew that the war would continue but not for a while. Even few days without this hell was like blessing.

Soon the reinforcement arrived and Goto started to immediately put them in defense, the older troops leaving the place with the arrived carriages. As they rode back to the Castle, Ai could not help but feel her heart jumping wildly in her chest, as a familiar village came into her view. She knew she could see Risa soon and she was more than happy about it.

-------------------------------------------

The nurse's place was floating with the injured ones, but they were not all going to die. There had been many losses, but by Lin Lin's, Risa's and some other helpers restless work, many were saved too. Lin Lin was the most reason why many were saved, for she used her healing skills very much and with them even many fatal injures were treated. But she would not have done this all alone, for Risa and the others kept doing all the smaller things like arranging the places and getting all the needed equipment and supplies, so the nurse had to only concentrate on the healing, which helped a lot.

There was a new emergency load coming and when Risa heard from Mittsui that this would probably be the last one, the bean's face lit up in surprise. Last one? There was no more to come? It meant then that...

”It's over?”

”Yes, this battle is over now. The enemy retreated and it seems very unreal that they would attack anytime soon. Oh, and the troops are heading back, too.”

”What?”

Risa almost let the plate in her hands drop as she heard the younger girl's words. Images of her friends came to her mind and Risa could feel how happiness flooded through her. But then it was replaced by an even warmer feeling as one certain warrior's face came into her mind. Though she had had a lot to do in here, Risa had remembered Ai, and the others of course, every night she went to sleep. She had prayed every night that they would come back alive and that they would be okay. Energized by these news, Risa rushed to help with Lin Lin so they could get these injures ones treated quickly.

After everything were taken care of and no one was under a danger, Risa and Lin Lin allowed themselves a small break. However it didn't last for long, when there was a loud shouting heard nearby.

“The warriors are returning!!”

Risa shot up immediately, but stopped as quickly too. She could not go, she had to treat these people in here. She could see her friends later but these people would lose their lives if she did not help. A sadness filled Risa's hear, for she really desired to see her dear friends.

“You can go.”

Lin Lin's soft voice said suddenly. Risa whipped around, staring the nurse with wide eyes.

”But these people need help! I can't leave....”

”There's no emergency patients left, so no one is under danger right now. Also, I have a lot of helpers in here and I think that you wont be much help when you're grieving to see your friends so much.”

”Lin Lin I can't...”

”You can. Go, we will survive in here.”

The nurse said gently as she got up and faced the bean. Risa just shook her head a bit as she came closer and gave the nurse a tight hug, causing her to laugh that happy laughter of hers.

“Thank you so much. But if there's an emergency, be sure to inform me. I'll come flying back.”

”Yes, I'll do that. Go now. She's already waiting to see you.”

Risa pulled a bit backwards and frowned at the nurse.

”She?”

Lin Lin's eyes widened as she tried to repair her little blurt.

“I mean they are. They are waiting for you. Your friends... Friends, there's more than one...”

The nurse laughed nervously as she ushered Risa to go. The bean did so and soon forgot her friend's words as she started to run down the street. Her heart was beating as she approached the front gates which were opening already. Risa was tired but she got some extra energy as she thought of her friends and seeing them after a long while. Instead of rushing in the middle of the people mass, the bean made b line to the stables where she knew the Alfa team would bring their horses. After waiting for about ten minutes, her patience was finally praised.

At first, in her view came Eri and Sayu who noticed the bean immediately and rushed to her. Eri even mounted down from the horse and ran to her friend, not caring about Sayu's warnings about her injury. As Risa got to her friend, she gave her a bear hug, Eri doing the same thing. Soon, Sayu was with them too and Risa did the same to her too, causing the tactic to laugh gently.

“Hey, don't I get a hug...”

Reina's voice was soon heard nearby and as Risa turned around she found the kitten mount down from her horse. Grinning broadly, Risa opened her arms and Reina lifted the bean in a tight hug, minding her injuries a bit all the time.

“It's so good to see you all back and safe...”

Risa whispered as she was put down by Reina. Her friends nodded in response and smiled at her.

“It's good to see you too.”

”Indeed it is.”

Suddenly a hand landed on Risa's shoulder and the king's laughter was heard. The whole team could not help but laugh at Yoshizawa, who came closer and gave them all a tight hug. This was quite usual that the king went to greet her soldiers after a long battle. She did it to every single person who had been on field, not missing a single one.

“Welcome back my children.”

She whispered as she released the team from her bear hug. Risa watched this all with a smile till she suddenly remembered something. Where was Ai? Turning around, Risa tried to look around her for the leader, but her searching ended quite quickly when she immediately pumped her face in a hard armor.

”Woah there.”

Hearing that familiar voice and feeling those warm hands on her arms again, Risa raised her head up and saw Ai's concerned face searching her.

“You okay, you did not hurt yourself... HEY?!”

Immediately, the bean launched herself on Ai's neck, squeezing her tightly. Though her wounds hurt a bit, Ai did not protest. She just wrapped her good arm tightly around Risa's waist and placed her head on her shoulder.

”Welcome back.”

Risa whispered and nuzzled her face against the leader's head. Ai could not help but smile as she heard the bean's words. This was the thing she had waited for and boy, she indeed was happy to see this girl again.

“Aww, look at them now.”

Reina cooed suddenly and cause both Risa and Ai to pull a bit away from each others.

“Oh no, don't mind us at all. Please continue.”

This caused both Ai and Risa to blush, but the help to this situation came in a quite surprising form.

”Now now, I bet you have a lot of things to do. Leave them alone! Come on now.”

And with that the king ushered Reina, Eri and Sayu away. But before leaving herself, Yoshizawa made sure to slap Risa quite hard on her back, causing the bean to fall forward and of course, Ai was there to catch her. The leader had to take few steps backwards when her injury was revealed and this of course caused the bean to get in her reaction queen mode.

“You're hurt??”

”It's just some small injury.... Nothing serious..”

As Ai turned her gaze to the younger girl, she saw her frowning at her. Before she could say anything else, Ai felt how she was guided inside the stable and sat down on a hay bale.

”Stay.”

Risa commanded as she started to take the older warrior's armor away.

”Oi, what are yo....”

”Sush. You're injured and you need some treating.”

”But...”

Risa took a small textile piece from her jacket's pocket and pushed it in Ai's open mouth, shutting the leader effectively. This was something Lin Lin had advised to do, if someone had pains; put something in their mouth so they could bite on it. In some magical way it helped the pain but now Risa put that rag in Ai's mouth so she could shut the leader's mouth. She continued to take away the armor as the older one tried to get rid of the textile in her mouth. Soon she spitted it out but by then, Risa had gotten her whole armor away, leaving the older one only in her clothes she kept underneath the armor, that including black pants and a white shirt.

“Your leg is injured.”

”No, it's not...”

”Don't lie to me. I can see it.”

Having been weeks under Lin Lin guidance at the nurse's place, Risa had learnt quite much things and she could already see some wounds just by looking the injured person. Right now, the way how Ai held her left leg stretched out revealed her injury. She was trying to get all the pressure away from her limb and keeping it stretched out helped and it also relaxed her muscles.

“You have pants under those?” Risa asked, which caused Ai to frown.

”Yeah, I have shorts...”

”Take the longer ones away.”

Ai gasped loudly as she heart Risa's blunt command. What the hell? She was supposed to strip in front of the younger one? No way!

“I am really fine. You don't need to... OUCH!”

The leader had tried to get up but she only managed to make her situation even worse now. She had moved too fast and her leg had protested immediately, causing it to cramp and Ai went down with a loud scream. She fell on her back and her first reaction was to grab her limb but Risa got first. She took hold of Ai's pants and pulled them down to her ankles, revealing her black shorts underneath. Immediately after this, she pulled the short's up and was greeted with a large bruise on Ai's thigh. There was also the wound from the sword and Risa could see some blood around the wound. Before Ai could do anything, the bean had taken something away from her pocket and pressed it hard on Ai's injury, causing the leader squirm and groan in pain.

”Hurts?”

Ai only nodded as she bit her lip so she would not howl in pain. Risa was again rummaging through her pockets, all the time pressing on the wound. Suddenly, the leader felt something very cold on her leg, which caused her to jump up and try to get away even more. But Risa only kept the pressure on the leader's leg and used her body to pin the squirming woman down. She was laying on her side on top of Ai's stomach, her back showed to the leader. One of her hands was pressing the injury all the time, while the other one was somehow trapped around Ai's middle section so Risa could have some support when trying to hold the stubborn warrior down.

“Stay still. This helps.”

”But it's cold and it, ouch... Hurts...”

”Stop whining.”

”Aren't you suppose to help me, not make the injury worse...”

”This will help in few minutes. Just try to relax and stay still.”

Ai only groaned as she tried to do as Risa had told her to. It was easier said than done, but as the bean had said, after few minutes the pain started to ease. The leader relaxed bit by bit and soon she could feel only something cool on her thigh. What had the younger one done to her?

Risa noticed how her patience relaxed and that was a sign that she could finally stop pressing on the wound. Lifting her hands Risa examined the injury and pocked it few times, not gaining any kind of reaction from Ai. This made her smile; she had finally gotten this almost as well as Lin Lin did.

Of course, Lin Lin was always better but after having done this so many times Risa was becoming quite good at this. Not lifting her body up, Risa turned her to face the leader who had a frown on her face. The pain in her leg had eased but her arm was a whole different story. She had hit it again on something as she had fell but her concentration had been in the leg before Risa eased the pain in there.

”Any other injuries?”

Nodding a bit, Ai pointed her right arm with her good one, making a face as she somehow managed to twist her injured arm.

Risa got up a bit and gently lifter Ai's upper body, implying her to sit up. The leader did so, groaning at the same time.

”This is going to hurt again...”

Risa warned as she slowly wrapped the shirt's sleeves up, revealing a bit of the leader's shoulder and upper body. The bean got a good view of Ai's chest, which was covered in some kind odd bandage, probably the chest binding, so it would be more comfortable to do some hard exercise or battle. Risa had that thing on too, but it was not very comfortable in her opinion. Soon the whole large bruise was revealed and Risa did the same painful operation to it as she had done to Ai's leg, causing the leader to howl in pain again.

Usually Ai did not whine at all about injuries, but after being away for so long she had gotten somehow sensitive, for it felt like Risa tried to kill her with this treatment. Her arm having a bit worse injury, Ai tried to squirm away again. The pain was just so unbearable.

”This wont take long. Relax.”

Risa said gently as she reached her free hand out on Ai's stomach. Sliding it a bit forwards, she found Ai's side and moved her fingers against it few times. The leader jumped as she felt the younger girl tickle her. Knowing how sensitive she was in here, Risa kept her touch feather like so Ai would not get in her panic mode. She could feel the tickling but it was more likely ”nice one” and did not cause her to squirm away. Soon, the pain in her arm eased and Ai could relax again. Risa made sure that the injury was now properly treated, pocking it few times and making sure all the stuff she had put on it was absorbed.

”What was that?”

Ai groaned as she glanced at Risa.

”Something Lin Lin invented a while ago.”

The bean rummaged through her pocket once again and took out a small rag.

”These textiles are full of one kind of liquid. It will react with air and cools the injury so the bleeding would stop. There's also something else she said to me, but then it all turned out to be too difficult for me to understand. All I know is that I have to add pressure on the wound, keep this thing on it for few minutes and make sure that it will get some air so the reaction may begin. And that's all I need to know.”

”This really helps?” Ai asked.

”It does. First it makes the injury numb and this liquid does something to the circulation around the wound or injury which helps it to heal faster. The ”numb state” lasts for few hours. During that time, the patient must not move much around or the medicine wont help in the best way. Then it must be checked again and if everything is under control, the injury will get better in few days.”

Ai was quite amazed of what she had heard. This kind of treatment she had never heard of and judging by Risa's words, this was quite good thing.

”What about bleeding wounds?”

”With bleeding you must first stop the flowing or at least make it weaker. Then you just do the same thing as I did to you. This is good stuff because it has also some disinfection with it so it also keeps the wound clean.”

Ai just nodded her head, amazed of what she had heard. She should go to see Lin Lin one day and make sure to thank her of this invention. Yoshizawa was probably already praising the young nurse, but Ai wanted to thank her personally. Something like this would save lives on the field and make warriors recover sooner.

Suddenly, a chill run through Ai's body as a gust of wind got inside the stable. Somehow the leader had forgotten how cold it was outside when Risa had treated her but now with the pain gone, the feeling of cold was stronger once again. Immediately she tried to pull her sleeve down and get some clothes on but the younger girl stopped her.

”Don't cover it! It needs air to heal you wound.”

”But It's cold...”

Only now did Risa realize that the leader did not have much clothes on and that it was not very warm outside.

“Oh my gosh! Sorry!”

Risa got up and pulled Ai's longer pants up so much as she could, still leaving the injury without cover. She grabbed some kind of a wrap which was nearby and covered Ai's body as much as possible tugging some of the textile underneath her so the cold ground would not freeze her.

”There, better now?”

”My leg and arm are freezing...”

Ai whined. The wrap helped, but she had still some bare skin revealed to the cold weather.

”Well we can just arrange this wrap here...”

”No, I have a better idea.”

Suddenly Ai wrapped her arm around Risa's waist and pulled her into her lap, causing the bean to gasp in surprise. Minding so that her wounds would not get covered, the leader loosened her coat a bit and then slipped her injured arm inside and around Risa's waist, leaving only the wounded shoulder bare. She also moved so that the younger one's legs would cover her bare legs, once again leaving the injured place bare. After this, Ai took a hold of the wrap with her good arm and threw it over the bean too and pulled her closer with the arm inside Risa's coat. The younger one was shocked about this. She could not utter a word as Ai moved under her and when she came back down to earth, the leader was already comfortably sitting still and pressing her head against Risa's shoulder.

“Ai! What the hell do you think you're doing??!!”

Risa almost yelled as she blushed fiercely and tried to get away.

”You're warm.”

Hearing this, Risa stopped to squirm around as she felt how the older girl shivered a bit under her. Sighing, the bean stopped moving around and only sat still, giving the warmth Ai needed. The leader sighed as she felt the bean's moving around and adjusted her hold around her. She pressed her face against Risa's warm neck, causing her to shiver when Ai's warm breathing hit the skin. This felt nice, or even better than nice. Being close with Risa like this just felt somehow... How could she describe it? Right? Yes, this felt right. A smirk spread across Ai's lips as she remembered the bean's words a while ago. Moving her face so that she could whisper in her ear Ai asked a question that made them both blush.

”Ne. How long did you say it was that the patient must not move around when this stuff influences?”

”Few hours...”

”That being exactly?”

”From 1 to 2 hours...”

The smirk did not disappear from Ai's face as she breathed few times in Risa's ear, causing her to shiver again.

“That's good.”

The leader whispered and pressed her head against Risa's, her nose and lips gently brushing against her ear and neck. The bean was on a verge of getting a nervous breakdown. Her heart was beating rapidly and the fact that she was being VERY CLOSE with Ai now did not help at all. Also, the realization that they would stay like this at least for one hour made the bean blush. Not that she was uncomfortable right now, but just the thought that this was Ai she was being in this kind of situation made her very nervous. Suddenly, she felt a breathing on her ear again and shivers ran down her spine immediately.

“Are you always this tense?”

The leader whispered which cause Risa to blush even more. She could not utter a word or do anything else than just sit still and be all tensed up. This cause Ai to smile and she moved a bit around to get in a bit comfortable position, minding her wounds again. She started to move her injured arm's hand in small circles around Risa's back, which caused the younger warrior to tense even more. Ai's other arm which was wrapped also around Risa, a bit higher though, started to massage her gently, too.

”Relax.”

Ai said softly against Risa's neck, not stopping her actions with her hands. Little by little, Risa somehow calmed down, the shooting hands on her back feeling quite good and relaxing. Taking few deep breaths, she adjusted her position too as she took her hands from between her and Ai and placed them around the older one's neck, making them to press even closer to each others. Both blushed but did nothing to move away anymore.

They had to admit that this felt very nice to be close with each others. It was a bit awkward but that feeling was soon replaced by a warm and cozy tingle in their stomach. Little by little as Risa started to relax more, Ai stopped her hands movement and just held Risa close to her trying to drain all the warmth from her.

The leader had already relaxed completely and she started to feel quite sleepy as she sat there. Nuzzling her head against Risa's neck, Ai took a better ankle to her neck and it took only few minutes before she dozed off.

After noticing this, Risa sighed a bit. Well it was a good thing that the other one was relaxed now because it made the injury heal better then. Checking Ai's shoulder with her eyes and trying her leg with her hand, Risa made sure that the wounds still had some air contact.

Satisfied with what she felt and saw, the bean returned her arm around Ai's neck and pressed herself closer to her again. The leader mumbled something and ended up snuggling her face against Risa's neck once again. The bean just smiled shortly at this and sighed comfortably. She was so content in her situation now that ”being caught” did not even enter her mind. But she did not have to worry, because they were not alone.

Outside the stable, Ai's team had been spying on their friends and after seeing where they ended up, they decided to leave them alone. They made a sign that said the stable to be under some kind of renovation or cleaning so no one would enter it, not caring if it was legal or not. Horses could be treated in somewhere else too and these two would stay there only for an hour or two.

As the team left the stable area, all the three high fived each others. They were happy for their friends who had finally found some kind of a peace between each others. A peace, which had seemed to grown something deeper than just friendship.

The trio was not the only one having this kind of thoughts as the bean was holding Ai, a light blush decorating her face all the time as she thought all kind of things about the leader, who she was holding at the moment.

'Please, don't let this be the last time...'

--------------

I hope you enjoyed this chapter~ Goodnight everybody! :sleep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 29/ 29/05
Post by: darkacex99 on May 30, 2013, 12:33:39 AM
FINALLY!!!! I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS UPDATE!!!!

alrighty the wars blazin and they caused the enemy to retreat...oh man Ju must b soooo pissed  :shocked: im sure shes gunna do sumthing super evil

risa and ai gettin supah closer O0

awesome chapter, keep up with the good work  :peace:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 29/ 29/05
Post by: alwaysYou on May 30, 2013, 05:13:34 PM
Really love AiGaki interaction  :wub: :wub: :wub:
Aichan is such a teaser.. :lol:

Ju wouldn't let Aichanthem off so easily..hmmm..
i'm worried for AiGaki future..LOL..

Nice chp!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 29/ 29/05
Post by: rndmnwierd on May 31, 2013, 12:52:17 PM
This was totally worth the wait! I love how happy they are to see each other. Maybe the awkwardness will hopefully not come back when it's time to get up XD
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 29/ 29/05
Post by: maikeatoot on May 31, 2013, 05:02:10 PM
Its an aigaki fic right ? :P how about sayueri ?
Hehe i still haven't read the whole story but i can guess its an aigaki fic ?
Or tanagaki ?
Oooh answer me !!!!
Mouuuu ~
Sayueri ?
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 30/ 06/06
Post by: MsSmigge on June 05, 2013, 11:53:45 PM
Darkacex99: Oh, this was just the beginning on Ju's rage  :twisted: Thanks~

AlwaysYou: I love how you're always like "YAY TAKAGAKI!" And immediately after that you are worried how they are going to survive XD Not that you should not be, though  :twisted: Thanks~

rndmnwierd: Lol, maybe I'll be nice and wont add so much awkwardness between them anymore XD Thank you for your comment~

Maikeatoot: Read the previous chapters so you will find out more about the pairings~ Or then just read this chapter, and find them out XD Thank you for your comment!

And thanks to everyone for your interest, thank yous and so on.  :wub:

Because I had so damn good day today, I finally finished my entrance exams, I met a great person and I got a promotion yesterday, I decided to post this chapter a bit earlier than I had planned. Partially also because I had checked this for a while ago, so it didn't take much time to post this.


The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 30 – The one you hate at first, might someday be your beloved one


After their little cuddling session, which lasted for one hour, Ai and Risa headed to the nurse's place because the leader's wounds needed someone professional to check them. When it had been time to get up, the bean had woken the older one up and helped her on her feet. They had been quiet for the whole time, but somehow, they hadn't needed any words back then. Also, the bean's main focus was now in Ai's injuries.

Risa's treating had done its's job very well but she just wanted to make sure that Ai would really be okay. She was not any kind of a healer and she could not be 100% sure about her own skills. Also, you could never bee to careful with this kind of wounds now, could you?

Eri and the others were also at Lin Lin's reception. It was a common think that all the battle wounds were taken very seriously, even scratches. The reason was that this kind of wounds got infected easier and if that happened, it was one hell to heal. That's why it was a good thing to take care of them immediately, even the smallest ones.

When Risa and Ai arrived, they were immediately greeted by Sayu who was helping Lin Lin for she did not have much injuries. The bunny had a very rare grin on her face as she saw her two friends at the door. Risa had helped Ai to walk the whole trip, for the leader had complained how she did not feel her leg. When the bean had offered help, Ai had immediately refused, but when Risa had just gotten her arm around the older one and supported her, the squad leader had just shut up. She didn't like to bother others with her problems, but if it meant that she would be close to Risa... Yes, then she would consider it again.

So, the two of them had walked very close to each others to the nurse's place. Risa had one of her arms around Ai's waist, while the leader had her arm around the bean's shoulder. Even at inside, Risa did not let go of the leader before she got her some place where she could sit and rest.

Sayu had followed this scene curiously, grinning all the time. She was soon joined by Reina who had come to whine that Sayu had not brought the water she had asked. But when the kitten noticed her friends, she could not help but stare at them, too.

Ai was now sitting on a chair, while Risa was checking her wounds and asking her all the time if she wanted something, the leader answering that she was fine. This scene was quite normal, but Sayu and Reina could see more. All the time, their leader had her eyes on the bean and Risa was glancing Ai once in a while. They both had a very tender look in their eyes and once, they even smiled at each others.

Finally the squad's own turtle joined them as she too had something to complain about to her girlfriend. She had asked some water and when Sayu hadn't showed up, she had asked Reina to bring it to her. But now, even the kitten had gotten stuck in here.

As Eri arrived in the room, same thing happened as for her two friends and soon the trio was just staring at their friends who were tenderly looking at each others.

Finally Lin Lin got to the scene too and she decided to have some fun. She cleared her throat very soundly, which caused the trio in front of her to froze and Ai and Risa to turn and look at their audience.

“Oh, sorry. I got a flu few days ago and my throat is very sore right now... Don't mind me! Please continue.”

And with that the now very happily grinning nurse left the room, leaving five quite embarrassed soldiers in there.

“The water....”

Sayu mumbled and left the room, Reina following closely behind and muttering something about needing to see the captain. Eri just stood there watching after her friends, till she turned back to Ai and Risa who were staring at her.

“Ano... I... Well... Yeah, I just leave.”

Eri said laughing nervously as she left for the next room, leaving Ai and Risa alone. They had both noticed how their friends had been staring at them and how they had had that grin on their face. They were both very embarrassed about this and Risa tried to hide it by saying that she needed to ask Lin Lin, if she needed some help. But just when she was about to leave, Ai grabbed her arm and stopped her. Risa gasped a bit as she looked behind her, blushing deeply as she did so. She was met by Ai's gentle gaze, a slight red color decorating her cheeks as well.

“Don't mind them.”

She whispered and squeezed Risa's arm gently, causing a somewhat pleasant shiver run up the bean's spine. Nodding her head, Risa smiled at the leader who finally let go of her. She took a bit more comfortable position in the chair, leaning her head on the wall behind her and closing her eyes.

Risa just smiled at her before she left in order to find Lin Lin and ask her to check Ai. She soon found the nurse who emerged from a room with a lot of blankets in her arms.

“There you are. Hey, could you come and check Ai? She has some injuries which should be taken care of.”

”Of course I can. Just a second, I'll take these away.”

The nurse answered cheerfully as she but the blankets in a nearby closet. They headed to the leader then, who had her head a bit down which messaged that she had fallen asleep. Risa went closer and gently patted Ai's shoulder, causing her to wake up with a flinch.

“Wake up sleepyhead. Lin Lin checks your wounds now.”

Ai frowned a bit at the chuckling bean but when Lin Lin came closer, so she could see the leader's wounds, Ai immediately gave her some room and showed her were she had been hit. It took only few minutes when the nurse happily tapped Ai's shoulder and then did the same to Risa, confusing both warriors.

“Those wounds will heal in few days for they are so well treated. Good job there! Oh, and you don't have to stay here if you don't want to. Just stay out of trouble for few days and you will be okay.”

The nurse said to the leader, who just nodded her head as she got up.

“Well then, I think I wont bother you anymore. Thank you.”

She bowed a bit towards Lin Lin till she turned to Risa, smiling immediately when she met her gaze. Risa smiled at the leader too and was just about to ask Lin Lin if she needed any help, when she heard the nurse's, who had already left the place for her own chores, voice from another room.

“No Risa, I don't need help here. You can go with Ai. Have fun!”

Risa froze totally and blushed quite much, when she heard the nurse's words. Ai just chuckled a bit as she walked to her and patted her shoulder gently.

Before she could do or say anything, the front door burst open and Reina poked her head inside, grinning like a madman.

”Guys! Oh, there you are! Come on, there are some great news!”

And with that the kitten disappeared as fast as she had appeared, leaving Ai and Risa to stare the door very confused. Just when they were about to move, Reina's head poked back inside.

“Come on now!! You can cuddle up later!”

Again she disappeared quickly, but this time she had another reason to be fast, for she got a furious Risa after her.

”WHAT??!! Reina! Get back here!!”

The bean yelled, blushing furiously as she ran after the kitten. She didn't get very far however, when Ai's desperate voice stopped her.

“Risa, wait!”

Stopping her movements, Risa turned to watch the leader who was now trying to walk after her, limping quite badly. She still had no feeling in her leg and it was quite hard to walk. The bean came immediately to her support, placing her other arm around Ai's waist and the leader's good arm around her shoulder.

“Thanks...”

Ai grinned a bit, gaining a bit shy smile from Risa. They started to walk slowly, leaving the nurse's place and heading to the market place, where everyone else seemed also be gathering to. When they arrived to the edge of the human mass, they could see how Yoshizawa rose on a stand which was placed in the middle of the opening, holding her hands up and silencing everyone around.

“My friends, I have good news for you all!”

The king boomed, a huge smile on her face. Risa watched Yoshizawa with a great curiosity, for she really wanted to hear this. By now, she had usually gotten only bad news but now she had a feeling, that something bigger was on the way.

“We have gotten some messages from our beloved and hardworking Jun Jun, who has headed back to her position in order to gain more information. The enemy threat has weakened.”

People gasped out loud and soon the air was filled with all kind of loud talking, but was silenced as soon as Yoshizawa raised her hands up again.

“This is not over yet. No, though I really wish for that.” The king paused for a while. ”What this means now is that we can relax a bit more. We can live a bit more normally now that the enemy is not all the time attacking us. We can rest, refresh our minds and get ready when they'll strike again. So now, everyone.”

There was another pause as the king spread her arms, as if she was calling everyone to come closer to her. ”Lets celebrate this small peace we have won for a while!”

The people burst out into a huge cheering and some even threw hats and some other clothes in the air. Risa was also beaming and imperceptibly took a tighter hold around the leader's waist.

Ai was also smiling, for this was what they had been looking for. Peace. Though, they knew that they enemy would come back again, a calmer season was always welcomed. They would still practice a lot but they could also be able to do more other things too, for they were not needed on the battlefront.

“There they are!!”

A loud voice of Kamei Eri got Risa's and Ai's attention as she approached them with the rest of the team. Eri threw herself immediately on Risa's neck and hugged her tightly, the bean answering with her free arm. Both laughed and were soon joined by the others, the five girls forming a huge ”hug ball”. They were just so happy about this thing that all they could do was laugh with each others.

“Finally something good happens...”

Sayu whispered as she patted Reina's and Ai's shoulders gently, both warriors nodding in approval. Finally Eri let go of Risa and immediately after that she went to Sayu and cuddled up on her side. The bunny smiled at her and gently kissed her forehead, causing the older girl to giggle.

“Aww look at you guys now. We have two couples in here. How cute.” Reina said suddenly.

”Two?”

Ai and Risa said at the same time as they watched their friends with a questioning look.

“Yeees, two. You heard right.”

Reina cooed as she leaned on Sayu's shoulder with her elbow, the other couple just grinning at their leader and Risa, who in turn just stared at each others. Soon they pulled away and started to blabber all kind of things, waiving their hands frantically in air at the same time.

“No no no, we are not a couple!” 'It feels nice when she supports me and is close like that...'

“Reina, stop saying silly things like that!" Risa huffed, "You know we are not together!” 'For some reason, I want to be close to her, like we were at the stable..'

But the kitten just kept on grinning with her turtle and bunny friends as they watched the two trying to cover this thing. They would have been very convincing, had they not blushed so deeply and kept on glancing each others all the time.

Once again, Sayu was their rescue. At least for a while.

“Yeah, yeah. You two stop yelling and come on. We are going to relax now!”

------------------------------------------

The five friends headed to Sayu's place for it was the closest one of the homes right now. She lived in a house, which her parents had bought for her. The house was quite big for a one person to live with it's five rooms, bathroom and kitchen. But it was a home like any other and she at least got some room to keep her equipment and items she didn't need out of her sight.

The group stayed in a large living room which was the first room. There was a small table with cushions around it and few a bit bigger chairs. There was also a brown dresser and a closet and on the floor was some kind of a mat. Eri went immediately in one of the bigger chairs, Reina taking the other one. Sayu went to sit in front of Eri, taking one pillow with her. Ai and Risa in turn went to sit around the table, the bean helping the older woman to sit down, before she settled herself down beside her.

After Sayu had placed the cushion in front of Eri, she disappeared in her kitchen and soon returned with five glasses, which all had something bright liquid in them. She handed each girl one glass and took one for herself too.

“For the peace, we reached today.”

She toasted, the other girls answering with loud cheers. After this, Sayu took her place in front of Eri and the girls started a conversation about various things. They were so happy and relieved when the burden of getting into battle again was lifted off from their shoulders. Of course, the war was not over yet, but even a one week of peace was enough. They had no idea how long Heng would stay away, but for now, they did not care. All that mattered to them now was that they had time and chance to think about something else than fighting.

They talked and talked till came evening and and night before someone noticed that it was quite late. Before anyone could suggest anything else, Eri got up and announced that they would have another sleepover tonight. Surprisingly, no one protested and actually everyone thought that it was quite a good idea. Sayu also had a lot of room for everyone in here and she also got enough blankets.

So, for they were so tired, they decided to make their beds now and start sleeping. Eri of course went to sleep with Sayu, so only Reina, Ai and Risa needed beds. Reina immediately started to tease that Ai and Risa should sleep together too, but she was silenced rather quickly when Risa glared her threateningly.

When everything was settled and everyone had beds, Sayu and Eri went to sleep immediately, while Reina Risa and Ai decided to talk a bit more. They were all in the room, where the leader would spend her night. They had brought some extra pillows in here so Risa and Reina would not have to sit on a hard floor. They chatted all kind of things for about one hour, till Reina decided it was her time to go to bed. She left with Risa to their own rooms, but the bean made a b line to the kitchen. She took some water from a container in the corner into a small cup and headed back to Ai's room. When she opened the door, the leader was just arranging her bed so that it would be more comfortable to sleep, but stopped when she noticed Risa at the door.

She was wearing her black shorts and white shirt, the same costume all the warriors had under their dress. Risa was wearing the same kind of attire, her shirt and pants only having longer sleeves. She was still having her jacket on however, for she had been for some reason felt a bit cold tonight.

”Did you forget something?” Ai asked, as Risa just shook her head and approached the makeshift bed slowly.

“How are your wounds?”

She asked quietly, causing the older one to raise her eyebrow a bit surprised. Her leg had gotten it's feeling back during the night and her arm had been fine for a long time now.

But something just made her say that there was something that would need some checking, for she knew what that would mean then.

“Mmm, I am not quite sure, for I know nothing about wounds and so...” 'Very convincing....'

“Oh, maybe I should check them then?” Risa said maybe a bit too eagerly. “I mean.. Do you have any kind of pains? Numbness?” She backed away a bit shyly as she spoke, for she had jumped forwards a moment before.

Ai was quiet for a while, before she slowly nodded her head.

“Yeah, my arm feels a bit tense...”

”Let me check it then.”

Risa said as she knelt down and put the water away. Ai sat a bit closer to her, moving her white shirt's sleeve away from the bruise. She felt how Risa placed her soft fingers against her skin as she examined the wound.

The bean put all her willpower to this now. The wound was totally okay and there was nothing wrong with it, but it just felt nice to be close with Ai like this, so she showed that there was something she really needed to examine. In truth, she had already seen that everything was okay when Ai had rolled her sleeve up.

“Mmm, can you move your arm well?”

Risa asked quietly, keeping her head down so Ai would not see the blush she had. The leader moved her arm a bit up and down, careful not to hit the girl beside her.

“Yeah, I can but it's still a bit tense.”

”Oh... Well, try to relax it...” Risa said and cursed immediately how stupid she must have sounded.

“Well, I think it would be easier if it was a bit warmer in here...”

”You're cold?”

Risa asked and finally raised her head so she could see the leader. Ai nodded her head a bit, blushing furiously. They were in silent for a while, before Risa got up.

“I.. I can bring you another blanket.”

She said quickly and turned around to leave. But she did not get to take the first step when Ai grabbed her hand, once again, and stopped her.

“No!”

She said in a loud whisper which caused them both to freeze. Risa did not dare to turn around, for her face was like a tomato now. Ai was not any better as she tried to calm herself down. What the heck was she doing now?

But then, a determined look formed on the leader's face as she finally raised her eyes up to meet with Risa's back. Gently, very gently, Ai pulled Risa's hand and caused the younger one to turn around. The bean had somehow gathered herself too for she was now looking straight into Ai eyes and not turning away. They stayed like this for a while, staring at each other till Ai whispered.

”Stay...”

Slowly, Risa fell on her knees and on Ai's level, still keeping her hand in Ai's. There was some kind of a funny tickle inside them again as they stared at each others. The ledaer brought Risa's hand closer to herself, placing her other hand around it too and squeezing it gently.

“I will stay....”

Risa whispered quietly. This caused the leader to smile and soon the bean had a gentle smile on her lips as well. Ai drew her closer, taking the younger on in her arms. Risa did not resist at all as she was hugged by the older one. It was quite the opposite, she more likely fell in her arms. As they hugged, the two slowly lied down, Ai still keeping her hold around Risa, the bean only snuggling closer. Before doing so though, she got rid of her jacket, or it would get too hot.

When Risa was taking her jacket away, the leader got up in order to take the blanket and wrap it around them, before she returned to her previous place, wrapping her arms around Risa again.

This time, her arms went around Risa's waist, the bean doing the same. They stared at each others for a while, smiling all the time gently. Finally Ai drew the younger one closer to herself, the bean's head being pressed against her chest, while the leader placed hers on top of Risa's. The bean one closed her eyes and took in Ai's scent, which she had gotten familiar with today.

Ai had raised her other hand behind the bean and was now absently stroking the younger girl's hair, when she suddenly felt something warm and wet on her chin. Raising an eyebrow, Ai glanced at the girl in her arms, while Risa just quickly snuggled closer and buried her head in the leader's neck. As she realized what the other girl had done, a deep blush rose on Ai's face. She just drew Risa closer to herself and pressed her head against her head, trying to calm down.

'Did she just kiss me?'

'Did I just kiss her?'

Both were very confused of this, but soon Ai decided to answer this cute act. She craned her neck a bit and kissed the top of Risa's head. After that she snuggled closer to her, if it was even possible anymore.

“Good night, Risa.”

She breathed and closed her eyes, soon feeling the bean's hot breathing against her neck as she whispered the same words, followed by Ai's name.

In no time, they were both deep asleep, comfortably laying in each others arms. They were still quite confused of this all, but one thing they were certain about: They enjoyed each others company and liked to be close to each others. That was something they both admitted to themselves and as long as the other one was okay with it, they would try to seek these moments where they could stay together.

-----------------------------------------


It was never a good idea to give Tanaka Reina a reason to tease someone. It was especially dangerous then when the victim was her friend and was somehow involved with some other person.

When the kitten had noticed Risa's untouched bed in the morning, she had immediately went to wake Sayu and Eri, or more likely the later one, for the bunny always woke up very early. When she had announced that they should wake up Ai too, Sayu had immediately seen where this was going. She had experienced this when she got together with Eri and now her two friends were going to be her victims, she just knew it. Eri however did not see anything behind Reina's words and the two dashed immediately in Ai's room, Sayu trying to stop them but it was too late.

The room's door was opened with a loud bang as the two friends ran inside it, freezing immediately at the door. They were greeted by a sight, which made Eri's mouth drop and Reina's grin grow even wider.

On the bed were her dear friends, cuddled up together and sleeping very pleasantly. Ai was resting on her back one of her arms wrapped around Risa's waist and protectively keeping the bean very close to her, while the other was on her stomach with Risa's other hand.

The bean was using Ai's chest as her pillow, her head placed just under the leader's chin. Her other arm disappeared under Ai's body and was probably wrapped around her midsection. The covers had fallen so that their legs were not in sight, probably because they had tried to cool themselves down while sleeping. It gave surprisingly much heat to sleep close with someone so no wonder these two had abandoned their cover.

“Lets wake them up!”

Reina said in a loud whisper, which Eri answered by shaking her head.

“But they look just too cute together! Let them sleep.”

”Do you really want to miss the whole circus which follows after these two have been woken up from that position? Well I don't!”

And with that the kitten went closer, not caring about her friend's protests at all. She sneaked very quietly behind Risa and knelt down, the grin only growing even wider when she got a good view of their friends pleasant faces. She raised her hands a bit, but stopped when Risa started to move. Her hand on Ai's stomach moved slowly forward and went to the older woman's side. Her fingers caused the leader to tickle and move on her other side, so the the two were now facing each others.

As she turned on her side, the leader pulled Risa even closer to herself, her other hand wrapping also around the bean's waist. During this, Risa pressed her head in Ai's neck, so that all Reina could see now was her long brown hair and Ai's pleasant face as the leader snuggled her own head in a more comfortable position on top of Risa's. When they both had stopped moving, Reina could not help but to turn towards her friends and grin like a maniac.

Eri was blushing now and Sayu just shook her head, taking her girlfriend's arm and dragging her into the kitchen. She knew what would follow from this and she did not want to get under Ai's rage, if she woke up in a wrong time.

But Reina would take all fun from this. She raised her hands up, ready to scare the two sleepyheads, but then something she did not expect happened. The kitten had totally forgotten that this was her leader she was teasing, the warrior whose senses were as sensitive as horse's and who had been trained in a best way.

So, when Ai noticed in her sleep how something moved in front of her, her eyes snapped open and she reached with her upper hand to grab Reina's collar. Her other hand squeezed Risa protectively against her chest, the bean only mumbling something and trying to get into a better position.

'She heard me, but did not wake up to the banging of the door? Just, come on...'

Reina in turn was very shocked, for she was now looking in her friends dark eyes and judging by that, Ai was not very happy.
She had not have this good sleep in times and now someone had came and disturbed her. But the kitten tried to fix this situation somehow and she only smiled at Ai.

“Well morning there. Slept well?”

The reaction Reina had expected did not come, but Ai only glanced at Risa, her gaze immediately softening till she turned back to the kitten. Where was all the ”Oh my God, no you understood wrong! We are not together!” yelling and all? Why was Ai so calm about this and why had not Risa woken up yet?

“I did, till you came to interrupt it.”

Ai said in a stern voice, not taking her eyes of Reina. Realizing that her plan had somewhat gotten ruined and if she did not think up something very clever now, her leader would probably kill her.

“Well.... I think, I'll let you sleep then?”

The kitten said, laughing nervously at the same time. There was a short silence, till Ai let go of her collar, causing her friend to stumble backwards a bit as she took some distance from her leader. Ai put her free hand immediately around Risa's upper body and placed her head on top of hers, like she was protecting the bean from something.

“And never ever disturb us like that again.”

Ai mumbled as she took her comfortable position once again. Reina just stared at her friends with open mouth, for she could not believe this. How was Ai so calm about this? It was like she was okay with this all and that was very unlike of her. What was going on?

“Reina.”

”Yes?”

”Get out.”

The kitten realized she was still in the room and after she had heard Ai's words, she turned around in no time and left the room, for it sounded like the older woman would get up and beat her up, if she did not leave her alone with Risa.

After the door had shut and Ai could hear how Reina's footstep went away, she sighed a bit and immediately a pleasant smile spread on her face and it grew only wider when she felt Risa move in her arms. Drawing a bit backwards, so that she could see her face, Ai was greeted by the bean's sleepy look.

She had her eyes half open, her hair was in a cute mess and it seemed like she was very oblivious of what had happened around her. But when the bean noticed who was in front of her, a small and lazy smile formed immediately on her lips.

“Morning.”

Ai said gently as she stroked the beans back with her hands, causing the younger one to shiver in pleasure.

“Ohayoo.”

Risa mumbled as she closed her eyes and snuggled back against Ai. The leader only chuckled a bit as she rolled on her back so that Risa was now on top of her. She moved her arms so that she could stroke the younger girl's brown locks. Risa in turn just laid comfortably on her new pillow, listening Ai's steady and calm heart beating.

She had never felt this relaxed and good before and it felt like she would sleep forever in here. Yes, she indeed had had her life's best sleep last night, thanks to Ai who was making all the enjoyment she got from sleeping even better.

“Did you sleep well?”

Ai whispered to Risa as she kept on stroking her hair and now her other hand was also doing all kind of circles on her back. The younger girl mumbled something as she snuggled closer, burying her head in Ai's neck.

“I did. How about you?”

She whispered against the leader's neck, which caused Ai to shiver now. Damn that felt good.

“I had the best sleep I have ever had. All thanks to you.”

Ai murmured in Risa's ear, causing the younger one to move so that she could see the leader's eyes. At first she had just her sleepy and a bit grumpy expression, but soon it melt into a soft smile, Ai answering it with her own. They stayed like this, till suddenly their expressions got more serious as they started to lean towards each others. They had no idea what they were doing but it just felt right to do so. The other one's face looked just so tempting right now and neither warrior realized what they were doing, before it was too late to back up.

They got closer and closer to each others, not taking their eyes off from the other one. Ai raised her other hand up and brought it behind Risa's head and the bean let it to be guided by the older one. Just when their lips were about to meet, Tanaka decided to interrupt them, once again.

“Ai, Risa! Come get some breakfast! You can cuddle up later.”

They both froze, the unknown feeling suddenly gone. They just stared at each others but did not move any closer. It just was not the same anymore, thanks to Reina's interruption. But they both knew the spark was still there and someday it would fire up again. They just had to wait for the right moment and let this all happen naturally, for they had now all the time in the world, or at least it felt so.

“We better get up or we wont hear the end of this...”

Risa murmured while Ai just nodded her head, a very disappointed look on her face. She really wanted to cuddle up more with Risa, but damn her friends. Risa noticed this and she could not say that she didn't feel the same. She really wanted to be with Ai too but they had their friends in here too.

Deciding to make that pout disappear from the leader's face, Risa leaned forwards so that her mouth was against Ai's ear.

“Don't look like that. You look much better with a smile on your face.”

Feeling how the older one shivered under her, Risa got suddenly a sudden urge to do something more. She glanced at the ear in front of her face and suddenly gave a gentle kiss just under it on Ai's neck. This time the leader almost jumped up and Risa had to branch herself so that she would not be thrown away from on top of her.

Ai's hand had traveled to her waist, now squeezing the bean's sides tightly. She had not seen that coming and her over sensitive senses had just kicked in. Remembering how ticklish Ai could be, Risa just smirked against her neck, Reina and the others long forgotten.

“Felt good?”

She murmured as she gave another kiss in the same spot. Ai flinched again but this time Risa got somehow carried away and she nibbled the same spot she had just kissed. Immediately after this the leader shot up and rolled so that she was on top of the bean, straddling her waist and pinning her hands down. Both stared at each others with a deep blush, the pleasant feeling filling them again.

Risa had not intended to do anything like that, but she just got somehow carried away and now Ai had done so too, for it seemed like the leader was not going to let her go anytime soon. Ai lowered her head very quickly, her lips almost landing on Risa's, till something interrupted them again. And of course, it was Reina.

“OI! Stop screwing around, for God's sake! There are others in here too, geez...”

Immediately the two stopped their actions again, Ai growling for she had gotten so close once again, Risa not falling far behind. They both sighed, till the leader slowly got up from on top of Risa, helping the bean get up as well. As she pulled her up, Ai took took the younger one gently in her arms and hugged her tightly, the bean not resisting at all. They savored the warmth they got from each others, both breathing their scents and enjoying the close feeling. It just felt so right to stay just like this in each others arms the outer world totally forgotten.

“We better go, or Reina will come back in here.”

Ai mumbled. Risa nodded her head and they parted very reluctantly, giving each others one last smile, before they went to their own clothes and dressed up, all the time glancing at each others and giving soft smiles.

When they were finished with dressing the two headed to the bunny's kitchen, where all the three other occupants were all ready eating and waiting for them. They all had somewhat an awkward expression, which of course did not went unnoticed by Ai and Risa.

“What's wrong?”

This caused Eri to jump up, but she was immediately pulled down by Sayu. Unfortunately for the bunny, there was also Reina who she did not have time to take care of.

“What's wrong? Well look around yourself! You were sleeping with Ai in the same room and when I found you, you were all nice and cuddled up and then you!”

Reina had gotten up and was now ranting to the two. She had turned towards her very stunned leader and was now pointing her with the cup she had in her hands.

“You! Darn it, first you reject her like a magnet and then suddenly you get all protective when someone tries to have some fun and wont let her go! And what was that thud a few minutes ago.... I don't even want to know...”

When Reina had finished, a deep silence filled the room as Sayu tried to calm Eri down, while Ai and Risa just stood there blushing madly. Finally Sayu had gotten enough. She released Eri who immediately started to babble something but was soon silenced by her girlfriend who slammed her hands on the table forcefully, causing everyone to jump back a bit.

“Now you two stop ranting about this thing! There's nothing unusual if they spend their time together and have you ever heard of words like or crush? Let them be alone and don't tease them. Ai, Risa, please have some breakfast.”

And with that the bunny sat down, everyone being silence around her. She did not really help the situation but she also did not let it get any worse. Ai and Risa took their seats and started to eat something so they would have something to do and they didn't have to face the others.

Eri and Reina were very quiet too, not daring to say a word after the tactician's rant. They were just so confused about this all. At first they had been like ”Oh they are together, lets tease them!” but as they thought about things a bit ahead, all kind of ideas started to fly in their mind.

They also remembered how these two had interacted at first, totally forgetting that Ai had not been herself back then. But this all felt so unreal to them and Sayu seemed to be the only one who accepted this situation as if it was nothing special. And in reality it was not.
After an awkward silence, Reina cleared her throat as she continued her breakfast.

“Anyways, Lin Lin was here a while ago.”

”Lin Lin? Why was she here? Why didn't you tell earlier?”

Risa had immediately raised her head as she heard the nurse's name. What made her to come here?

“Well I would, but I was told to stay away by one certain person...”

Reina mumbled as she glared at her blushing leader, who tried to hide her eyes behind her long bangs.

“She came here to inform us about a party.”

”Party?”

”Yeah. We usually have parties when we reach some victories or peace like now. It is a way we praise ourselves. This village just loves festivals, parties and such, but who doesn't.”

Well that sounded quite a good reason for Risa to throw a party. It was something where all the worries were forgotten and everyone could enjoy each others presence and the fact that they were alive.

“When is this party held and where will it be?”

”Tomorrow and it will be at the market place.”

”EH? So soon??” Risa exclaimed as she jumped up a bit.

”Yeah, as I said, we like to party and we arrange them as soon as possible."

They indeed seemed to love partying, but it was quite good it was so soon so they could really start relaxing immediately. Probably they made something for the wounded ones too who were not able to leave the hospital. Risa was sure, that Yoshizawa kept sure of that.

They ate in silence again and after that they helped Sayu to clean up they decided to leave for their homes so they could get prepared for tomorrows celebration. Reina told that they also liked to wake up early and start immediately the sun rose, which surprised Risa even more. Damn these people indeed liked to celebrate things...

So Reina, Ai and Risa left Sayu's place and Eri stayed there, for she decided to take all the time she had now with her girlfriend. The three walked the streets, talking all kind of things and the morning's incident long forgotten. They parted at some point with Reina, which left Ai and Risa walk alone. They were silent, for they were both thinking about Sayu's words from morning. Could it be, that they liked each others in that way? Could they have a crush on each others?

In some magical way, the two warriors turned to look at each others at the same time. Their eyes locked immediately as they kept on walking ahead, not being able to stop looking at each others. Finally a familiar street caught Ai's attention and she stopped, Risa following in suit. The leader watched the sign with a bit sad look till she turned back to the girl in front of her, a smile appearing immediately on her face.

”I think we will part in here...”

She said quietly.

”Un...”

Risa said as she nodded a bit, trying to hide her disappointment. How she wanted to keep on walking with Ai. Even if they just kept on walking and did not say or do anything, it was okay. Just the leader's presence made her feel so good inside.

'Maybe I indeed like her in that way...'

Risa thought as she stared in those chocolate eyes and only now she realized how beautiful the other woman in front of her was. Gone were the dark circles and that hard look which made her look so scary and now there was only a soft and warm look. Suddenly, Ai reached out to take Risa's hand in hers. She squeezed it gently and smiled at the same time.

”See you tomorrow.”

She said to the bean and stayed there. Just when the leader was about to let go, Risa came a bit forwards and threw her arms around Ai, catching the older one by surprise. For some reason she just got a sudden urge to be so close with the older girl that she wanted to give her a hug. They would see again tomorrow and spend some more time together, but something just got into her suddenly. Ai did not mind, though, and she only laughed softly as she hugged Risa back.

”You miss me that baddly already?”

Ai teased a bit, which caused Risa to smile. Yes, she would miss Ai's presence even if it was only one night. Deciding to have some more fun, Risa moved her head a bit and found the same spot she had kissed earlier in front of her. Leaning forwards she placed a firm kiss on the spot under Ai's ear, causing the leader immediately to tense. Soon after this, Risa pulled away and just gave the older one a warm smile.

”Mata nee.”

She said and dashed away, before Ai could do or say anything. The kiss was still felt on her neck, as the leader watched after Risa. She raised her hand to touch the spot she had just been kissed and could not help but blush furiously. Damn, she knew how to get her flustered now...

Risa was not any better, for she was like a running tomato as she dashed to her apartment. She still did not know what made her always so tempted to kiss Ai, when she was that close to her. Well, now she had done it twice and both times she had known, of yes, she was so sure of this, that the leader had liked it. Risa run all the way home, even jumping up the stairs. It felt like they were kids again, waiting for something exciting to happen soon and they could not wait for it.

And indeed something like that was ahead of them. They had no idea, how the tomorrow's festival would change their lives.

---------------------------------------

I think some of you have waited for this.... XD

I'd to like to notify all that I am going to change some terms I have used in this fic, mostly concerning the military terms. I watched Star ship troopers few days ago and realized how badly I had used some terms... XD So now on, I'll try to fix them. This wont change the story at all, but I just wanted to note this.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this chapter!!

 :sleep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 30/ 06/06
Post by: darkacex99 on June 06, 2013, 01:08:39 AM
ahhh~ what a great feeling to see an update after coming home :)

wow...ai and risa have gotten cozy cozy  :shocked:

daaaaang! ai was ready to tear up reina for disturbing her little bit of peace :lol: so. much. fluff. :cathappy:

im ready for some war action now O0 im eager to see wats gunna happen now :)

thanks for the update, keep up da good work  :peace:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 30/ 06/06
Post by: rndmnwierd on June 06, 2013, 03:49:28 AM
>.< So much sexual tension, ICAN'TSTANDIT!~! XD Omg, though, seriously, with the teasing kissing and sleeping together, just kiss already!!! :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 30/ 06/06
Post by: maikeatoot on June 06, 2013, 02:41:35 PM
Oh ehm gheeee !!!
I read all the chapters and deym !! Takagaki raburabu was .. was .. was .. *dropdead*
Gimme more !!!!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 30/ 06/06
Post by: alwaysYou on June 06, 2013, 04:07:49 PM
Quote
I met a great person and I got a promotion yesterday
Congratz!!


Quote
AlwaysYou: I love how you're always like "YAY TAKAGAKI!" And immediately after that you are worried how they are going to survive XD Not that you should not be, though  :twisted: Thanks~
hahahahhahahaha..i love TakaGaki..But tends to be more sadist when it come to them too..Hoping for more rabu rabu yet hoping for some sadist moment..LOL  :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


And now, gakisan seem to be the teaser! LOVE IT..LOL


Quote
And indeed something like that was ahead of them. They had no idea, how the tomorrow's festival would change their lives.
SEE!!!! Definitely have to be worry about them! LOL
feel that before they even confess to each other, something bad will happen to one of them huh..But well, i wont mind it if they still gonna live together happy ever after that..XD

Next chp pls! :angry: :lol:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 30/ 06/06
Post by: carzung on June 06, 2013, 04:25:36 PM
WoW the last 3 chapter make me smile like a crazy  :grin: (everyone who sit beside me ask "Are you crazy? Why are you smile by yourself?)

TakaGaki, They are so good together  :drool:

and the three Rokkie, they are so cute teasing takagaki  :w00t:

Thank you for sweetness  from TakaGaki (but I want more, please :bow:)

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 31/ 16/06
Post by: MsSmigge on June 15, 2013, 11:46:38 PM
darkacex99: The action will have to wait now, for there's a temporary peace going on~ But don't worry, I have a lot of plans for some future action!

rndmnwierd: Lol, I so want to see how you're going to react in the later because this is just the start of the sexual tension XD

maikeatoot: Haha, I hope you enjoyed the earlier chapters, too!

alwaysYou:
Quote
And indeed something like that was ahead of them. They had no idea, how the tomorrow's festival would change their lives.
SEE!!!! Definitely have to be worry about them! LOL

LOL XD That definitely got me!! But to calm you down, remember that I am a takagaki shipper too  ;) Though, I tend to be evil to myself and others from time to time  :twisted: And thanks~

carzung: I know exactly what you mean XD I get very lively when I read something and I usually end up only making a fool out of myself, lol  :lol:


Thaaank you everyone for your interest, comments, thank yous and so on!!  :kneelbow:

This chapter will finish the first arc, but no worries! I have my next arc planned and some chapters written~

Here's the next chapter!

Here we go~


Chapter 31 – She had finally come home


As Sayu had said, the celebration started early: The following day started early when people woke up before the sunrise in order to do preparations to the party as everyone was doing preparations at their homes and some even went to help in town too. Risa saw all her friends shortly in town as they were all there to help with other warriors. They decorated places, helped to put up some booths and a small stage where some plays and such were supposed to be held. Everyone was full of energy and there was also some kind of hope in the atmosphere now. They knew that the enemy was not beat yet, but every victory and small peace gave them hope of a better tomorrow without war.

When all the preparations were done, everyone headed to the town center, where Yoshizawa was already waiting her people with her own family. She had also arranged things so that even the wounded ones could take part in this in some way. They who were able to, would be moved in here and those who were not the king would personally go check every one of them. She also ordered to bring the wounded ones some goods and such things, just as Risa had thought.

When the bean arrived to the town center she immediately started to look for her friends. She had her casual, black warrior suit with weapons on her belt. Her long and a bit curly hair was on a loose ponytail and it was hanging on her other shoulder.

It didn't take much time to find Eri who was once again at one of the booths which sold some kind of sweets. She was of course with Sayu and Reina and they greeted each others happily with hugs when they met. The trio had same clothes as the bean had and they all had put their hair into a ponytail. Sayu was the only one who had her hair open however, but she had made it so, that it would not disturb her, if some action was needed to do. It also looked like it was tied up.

“Risa!!”

Eri exclaimed and was the only one of the three who did not let go of her friend immediately. Sayu just shook her head and snapped the sweets the turtle had in her hands away, causing her to panic.

“Sayu!! Give them back!!”

Letting Risa go, Eri went to her girlfriend, who gave the sweets back immediately she noticed that Risa was safe. She didn't want to get in fight with her girlfriend when it came to sweets, for Eri could be eerily strong when she was protecting something she was mad of. The bean just chuckled at her friend and immediately after she had counted how many people were around her, she started to spin around and search for one person. Where was she?

”Looking for Ai-chan?”

Reina asked as she noticed that the bean was searching something. A thin blush crept on her face, as Risa nodded her head shyly. Yes, she was looking for Ai. She had to be somewhere in here.

“Ai is probably somewhere helping someone. She always starts celebrating late, for she is helping everyone so much, that she forgets to celebrate herself.”

Eri said as she put some more sweets in her mouth. Risa nodded her head and smiled, though she was a bit disappointed. She wanted to see the leader and spend some time with her. But luckily this celebration would last whole day long so she would have time to search for the other warrior. Suddenly, an arm landed on her shoulders and when she looked up, Risa found Reina grinning at her. The kitten pinched her cheek a bit and chuckled at the same time.

“Don't worry, we will find her. Then you can cuddle up all you want to.”

Risa's face got even more red as she tried to push Reina away. Yes, she had admitted to herself last night that she indeed liked Ai quite much and she also hoped that the feeling was also the same to the older woman.

“Reina please...”

Sayu warned as she took hold of Eri's collar, when the older girl tried to get back to the sweet booth because her sweets had run out. Laughing, Reina just winked at Risa and let her go. In no time, there was a huge applause heard as Yoshizawa stood on a stance once again. This time she had her son on her shoulders, who was waving to all the people, causing everyone to laugh. Rika was a bit grumpy about this, but somehow her spouse had managed to get her agree with this. Yoshizawa just wanted to make Akira happy and the young prince enjoyed this. Also, she could care less how she looked right now. The main point was that everyone had fun, not how nice and elegant their king looked.

“Everyone! Good day! Today we have a celebration for the peace we have reached for a while! Lets enjoy it while we can and lets hope that one day this would last forever! Lets not waste the time in speaking, lets celebrate!!”

And with that the people started to cheer loudly and call Yoshizawa's name. The king just held her son on her shoulders, while Akira took all the applause and attention to himself. After a moment, Yoshizawa went to her wife and everyone started to move around the market place and celebrate. There were all kind of music, dance shows and some kind of small competitions.

Risa moved with her friends as they went to various booths. They played games, which Sayu or Reina usually won because Eri had sugar high and Risa was not very familiar with all the games.

One game however was horse riding and in that the bean was invincible. Even the best horse riders could not beat the young girl, who had had a horse as long as she remembered and she got quite much respect from that. She also gave quite a good opponent to Eri who was said to be best in the shooting game Risa had played with Ai in the last festival. The turtle was expert with bows and shooting and even in her sugar high, she was damn accurate and skilled and ended up beating Risa.

They day went on as the trio played, ate and watched some performances. But all the time, Risa had Ai in her mind. She had not seen the leader in whole day and it was starting to be a noon soon. There was said to be a big play which everyone was waiting for, because their king would act in that. It also had the most skilled actors in the whole village, too.

When the sky started to darken and people started to light fires and use some magic to get some more light, everyone gathered around the big stage which had seats for everyone. As Risa and her friends arrived, they were almost immediately met by Jun Jun, who was escorting people in their seats.

“Ah! Risa! Come here, I have seats for youuuuu!!”

The counselor was soon blogged down and Risa left alone as The Team Alfa bowled Jun Jun down. Getting a slight deja vu, Risa only chuckled at her friends, who were hugging the poor panda and preventing her from getting up. People around them looked at the warrior pile with a questioning look and some just laughed a bit and let them be.

”Guys, please get up. I have work to do here....”

Jun Jun managed to say under the trio. This time, she was let surprisingly easily away as her attackers got up quite quickly. Immediately she was free, the counselor jumped up, took some distance and dusted her clothes. When she looked up she found three demanding stares drilling holes in her.

”What?”

”We haven't seen in ages,” Eri started.

”and since today is a celebration day,” Reina continued.

”you're going to spend some time with us too.” Sayu finished.

Jun Jun only grumbled something about what she should do with these three, but when they started to approach her threateningly, she had no other choice than to agree.

”Okay, okay!! Calm down... Anyways, yeah, I have seats for you in here.”

The four friends looked at each others with confusion, for they had not reserved any seats. But when Jun Jun showed them to follow, they didn't question anymore, but decided to follow the counselor and as soon as they arrived, they noticed that they had gotten the best place in the front row.

“Here you go. Enjoy the play.”

”Jun Jun, wait! Who did reserve these seats to us?”

Eri shouted after the panda, but Jun Jun just said something they did not hear and continued her job. She didn't want to get under attack by those three anymore plus, she really had some work to do.

“Well, lets sit down.”

Sayu said as she pulled Eri with her, Reina and Risa following in suit. As they sat down, the bean noticed there was still an empty seat beside her. Well, maybe someone would take the place soon and indeed, someone did. But this person was quite a pleasant surprise for the whole team, especially to one certain bean.

“May I sit down here?”

Hearing a very familiar voice, the four girl's heads shot up and a wide smile spread on their faces as they saw who was speaking.

“Ai-chan!”

The leader waved her hand and smiled back at her friends, till her attention turned back to Risa. Her face melted immediately in a soft smile. They just looked at each others, till Risa realized that she should answer something to the leader's question.

“Yes, you may.”

She said quietly, causing Ai to smile even wider and even chuckle a bit. As she sat down, the warrior took something from inside her coat. She passed the items forward so that Eri, Sayu and Reina received something.

“Sorry guys that I did not have time to spent the day with you.”

The team watched their leader with wide eyes, till their attention was drawn back to the items in their laps. There were small present box, which were wrapped in different colors and all of them had a golden ribbon around them. Eri was the first one to open her gift and as soon as she saw what was inside, a high squeal was released and the turtle jumped up. Sayu took her down immediately, so her girlfriend would not disturb the others and scolded Eri after she calmed down a bit. But the turtle was not listening, for she was too occupied by Ai's gift.

“Thank you Ai-chan!!”

She purred and smiled at the leader. She would have hugged her, but Sayu made sure that the turtle was going to sit in her place. Ai just smiled and motioned Reina and Sayu to open their own gifts too. They did and their expression was almost the same as Eri's. Not being able to see in their gifts, for the girls didn't  take them out from the box, Risa leaned closer to Ai and whispered to the leader, keeping her eyes all the time on the team beside her.

“What did you give to them?”

The leader chuckled and leaned closer to Risa, one of her arms sneaking on the bean's back and massaging it gently. The younger girl shivered but did not resist the contact. It was more like the opposite, she wanted to be close with Ai. Soon, the bean felt hot breathing on her ear, as Ai spoke to her in a low whisper. Her cheeks started to burn immediately, when Risa realized how close the leader's face was to hers. Luckily, it was a bit dark so her blush was not as visible as it would have been in daylight.

“I gave few apples and some other sweets to Eri, the ones she really loves. There're also five throwing knives, which are very light to carry but when thrown, they are more effective than normal ones. To Sayu I gave one tactic book she has wanted for years but has not been able to buy it. I found it from one store and it was the last copy so I bought it to her. I also gave her a new compass, which has some magic effects so it can be seen in the dark too. She has to work so much with maps and she probably needs it when planning some tactics. To Reina I gave a new training shirt and some hand weights, which she can use in training. The shirt is very strong material and wont get ripped very easily.”

Risa listened the leader as she watched her friends who were now examining the gifts very eagerly. The scene in front of her made her feel very happy inside. Always when her friends were happy, she was happy too, but also that, that Ai had thought about her friends made her feel warm inside.

'She really cares about them...'

“I know those are just presents, but I wanted to make up my absence somehow... I got to give some of my time to them later too, because gifts can never replace friends...”

This time Risa turned her head so she could face the leader next to her. Ai was watching her team with a tender smile as they were still exited about the things they had gotten a while ago. The bean smiled gently and raised her hand to pat Ai's head gently.

“That was very nice of you.”

She whispered quietly, her actions causing the older woman to turn her attention towards her. Ai blushed at the pat she received, but she did not stop smiling gently nor did she take her eyes away from Risa. She leaned a bit closer so that her lips were against Risa's ear, the hand on the beans back dropping down to Risa's waist level, while the other traveled to th bean's thigh. Pulling her a bit closer, Ai whispered quietly in the Risa's ear, causing her to blush furiously. They were in public and though they did nothing special, they were in a position which showed that they could be a bit more than friends.

“I have something for you too, but I decided to leave it for later.”

Ai whispered and after she had checked that no one was looking, she pressed a soft kiss on Risa's cheek. Then she pulled away and sat properly on her seat. Her hands however stayed in their places, causing Risa to feel very good and very nervous at the same time.

The play was about to start now and the whole village was following the stage very carefully. It took a while, before Risa somehow calmed down. Her friends were now also following the play which was taking everyone's attention. It was a comedy where the king was in the head role with her family. Even Rika was on the stage, but she had kept sure she got some proper roles so her pride would not be wounded.

Yoshizawa was a brave hero who saved a lot of people and was after Rika, who usually ended up only embarrassing her or something like that. Akira was the king's helper, who usually showed to be more mature and have better ideas than his master. He also beat a lot of enemies and he was even more feared than Yoshizawa.

There were small fights, dance shows and even some singing. The play lasted for one hour and in the end the king got her beloved one and everyone was happy. The play was full of laughter and at some points Risa found herself laughing so much that she had even tears in her eyes.

Through the whole play Ai held Risa in her one arm hug, her other hand resting on the bean's thigh. At one point, when there was a very slow and beautiful song, Risa examined the hand on her leg and slowly put her own on it. This caused Ai to turn her attention to her and at some point they intertwined their fingers with each others. The two warriors looked up and when their eyes met, both melt in a warm smile. The leader pulled the bean a bit closer to herself and this gave Risa an opportunity to rest her head on the older woman's shoulder. They stayed like this till the play ended and parted from each others only when they stood up to applause.

After the play was over, everyone went to continue their celebrating in many different booths and so did The Team Alfa and Risa too. Ai joined them too now and as they walked on, she made sure she could have some nice hand in hand walk time with the bean. At one point, all the team members looked up and each others. They gave a short nod and then, Eri started to squeal:

“We have to find Jun Jun!!” She shouted and started to jump up and down, almost making Sayu to fall down as she kept on holding her hand.

“Yes, you're right!! She promised she would spend some time with us! Lets go!”

Sayu said and with that she started to run with Eri in the middle of the human mass. In no time they disappeared from sight, leaving Reina alone with Ai and Risa. The kitten turned around and soon a wide smirk spread on her face. But behind her smirk, the kitten had something Risa didn't quite catch up, but the leader did.

“Oh, I so know that you guys want to be alone now. And I am not going to be cruel to you, so I'll go after that aho couple. Have fun!”

And with that the kitten left, leaving now furiously blushing Risa and pleasantly smiling Ai behind. Risa tried to shout something after Reina, but her friend was soon lost in the crowd and there was no point in screaming after her. She would not hear her, no matter how loud she would yell.

Suddenly, Risa felt a light tugging in her hand and when she turned to look up, she found Ai watching her with a gentle smile. Without a word she started to lead the younger girl through the crowd. As they walked on, Risa noticed how there was less and less people and finally, there was barely anyone around them. They had arrived at the edge of the market place where was quite a small house, which looked like it was empty. Ai led Risa in and went upstairs. The house was surprisingly clean and there was not much furniture, only few chairs and some tables. It was quite dark, but the bean could also see a makeshift bed in the middle of the room.

Finally Ai stopped in front of a huge black curtain. She turned to face Risa who was quite confused of what happened right now. But the leader's gentle smile made her calm down and when Ai took her hands Risa could not help but smile back at her. Then the older woman moved her other hand so that she could grab something and when she pulled on some kind of rope, the curtains moved away and revealed a nice sight outside.

The bean gasped as she watched the clear starry sky with a very lively market place under it. There was a small balcony in front of them where Ai walked, gently dragging the bean behind her. Risa just could not take her eyes out of the scene in front of her. Though it was quite a normal sight it just had something different in it, some kind of a weird feeling she had not felt before. Maybe it was because she was with Ai now, and that she had revealed this sight for her. They walked to the edge of the balcony in order to see better what was below. The bean walked a bit forwards, mesmerized by the sight in front of her. She placed her hands on the wooden railing as she looked down to the market place and up the starry sky above. It looked almost the same when Ai had used the apple to create that breathtaking starry sky in the last festival.

“It's beautiful.”

Risa said quietly. Ai just smiled as she came closer to the bean and hugged her tightly from behind. She placed her head on her shoulder and encircled her arms around her waist as she followed the life at the market place.

“But I can see something even more beautiful in my arms right now.”

She whispered and caused Risa to blush furiously. Did she just call her beautiful? Did Ai really think that? The bean did not have much time to think about this, when Ai suddenly pulled away and started to rummage through her jacket. When she turned around, the leader had pulled out something small which she held on her palm. Risa recognized the item immediately.

“I wanted to give you something as well." Ai said a bit shyly as she looked at her hand instead of meeting Risa's gaze. For some reason she got very embarrassed suddenly and it felt hard to talk. "Think about something you want right now or just something that makes you feel good or happy. I can give it to you in some form.”

Ai said quietly as she held the small piece of those magic apples in her palm. She really wanted to give Risa something special and something she truly desired. She had spend her whole day when she had searched these apples and when she finally found them it had been almost noon. But now, she got the apple and she could give her present to Risa. The bean just stared at the leader with an open mouth and wide eyes. Ai wanted to give her a gift? And not just any kind of a gift but something she really wanted. She could truly wish for anything, for Risa knew these apples had ultimate powers.

“Just think about what you want and tell me when you're ready.”

The leader encouraged as she tapped the apple's side gently and raised her head up so she could see the younger girl in front of her. It took only few seconds, before Risa smiled gently at the leader and nodded her head, giving a signal that she was ready. Ai smiled shortly and moved the apple towards Risa, the said fruit starting to glisten immediately.

There was a bright flash, but even though they could not see well, the two kept their eyes firmly on each others. After few seconds, the light died down and Ai had the thing Risa wanted on her palm. But when she looked down she only found two red roses there. Ai frowned a bit and tilted her head to side, trying to figure out what was this. The bean only smiled, for she really knew what she wanted right now, those two red roses mirroring her mind perfectly right now.

“You... You thought about..." Ai stammered as she slowly remembered what these red roses symbolized "You thought.... Love?”

Ai asked carefully. Slowly lifting her head up to meet with the younger one, the leader could see how the bean had moved a bit closer.

“Well you can say it like that too...”

Risa whispered as she came closer and closer.

“What did you think about then exactly?”

The leader whispered, as she held the two flowers in her hand not moving an inch. The bean kept on leaning closer and closer and just when she was so close that their lips almost met, Risa smiled gently as she looked deep in those chocolate eyes. She had been nervous at first, but somehow the gift Ai had given to her made her feel very self-confident right now.

“I thought about you...”

Tilting her head a bit, the younger girl landed her lips on Ai's, sharing a very brief but at the same time very sweet kiss with the leader. Millions of emotions and thoughts ran through their both's minds as they shared the kiss, but one though was on top of the others:

'Finally'

When they parted, both women kept their eyes on each others, till they kissed again. This time, Ai was the one who leaned in as she brought her hand up which went behind Risa's head while her other arm sneaked around the bean's waist. She pressed herself close to the younger one, who ended up leaning back, her back hitting the railing behind her gently.

Risa's arms in turn found their way around Ai's neck as she too tried to pull the older one as close as possible. This kiss lasted longer as both forget the world around them. There was just them, no one else. As they got a bit carried away by their own emotions, Ai decided to move in a bit better place, for she wanted to experience more of this and the balcony where everyone could see them was not the best place for that.

With one smooth movement, she scooped the younger girl in her arms and carried her inside, not breaking the lip lock they had. Risa only gasped a bit but did not say a thing as she was carried inside. Making her way to the makeshift bed in the middle of the room, Ai  gently laid Risa down and then climbed on top of her. As she did so, she had to break the kiss so she could get them both comfortably on their new place. The leader was very careful when she placed Risa down and when on the ground, she tucked some pillows under her head.

After that she loosened the belts they had on their waist, so the weapons would not bring any obstacles for them. When that was done, Ai hovered again over Risa. She placed her hands  on either side of the younger girl's head, while she was straddling the bean's waist. They smiled at each others, the leader gently stroking Risa's long hair, while the younger one just enjoyed the attention she was receiving, her arms then reaching up and circling around Ai's neck.

The leader took the cue and immediately dived down to give the younger one a gentle kiss on her lips, Risa answering it immediately. They stayed like this, gently making out and from time to time kissing each others face or neck. They just enjoyed the close feeling they got when they were together, the warm feeling now burning their senses inside their minds. At some point their hands started to roam on each other's bodies, but they usually ended up in the other warrior's hair or upper body. after a while they stopped, so they could just look at each others. The moonlight outside showed their face's in the dim light and both could see how much emotions the other one was carrying while watching the other one.

They could just stay like this forever, watching the other one's beautiful face and enjoy the closure and warm they gave to each others. Finally, Ai leaned a bit down so she could kiss the tip of Risa's nose and after that, she snuggled her head in the younger's girls neck, the bean only circling her arms tighter around Ai's neck and holding her in place. At the some time the leader rolled on her side so that they were facing each others. Ai's arms found their way to the bean's waist as Risa lowered her own arms to the same place on Ai's body.

After being in this position for a while, Risa finally moved so that she could look in the older one's eyes, the leader having them half closed now. She had never been so relaxed as this and she felt she could stay like this forever. Gently stroking her face with her hand, Risa could not help but kiss the older woman again. It just felt so right to be close like this and show their affection to each others.

Both felt a sudden rush of emotions and soon their sweet and gentle kiss became more intense and passionate. It didn't take long when Ai was back on top of Risa, moving her mouth more frantically against the younger one's and from time to time she kissed her jaw and neck, giving small bites occasionally. Risa yelped in pleasure, when the leader's mouth traveled around her face and neck, giving her weird and at the same time very pleasant feeling, Ai not falling far behind. Their kissing was soon interrupted by a bright light and a loud thud from outside and as the two turned to look, they saw a huge firework which had just exploded in the sky.

There were at first only normal figures, but soon all kind of things like flowers and animals were formed on the starry sky. They watched the fireworks for a while, still keeping a tight hold of each others. Finally, Ai moved into a sitting position and at the same time she pulled Risa up with her. She positioned them so, that Risa would sit in her lap, her back facing Ai. Circling her arms tightly around the bean's waist, the leader pulled her as close as she could and at the same time pressed her head next to the younger one's giving a gentle kiss on her cheek.

Risa let the older woman do all this and when she got the kiss, she craned her neck so that she could capture the older one's lips in a brief kiss. They smiled at each others, till Risa turned her head forwards and Ai placed her own so it rested on the bean's shoulder. At some point the leader pulled a thin cover over them, so the now chilly air would not get them. Risa could not help but chuckle a bit as this postion brought some good memories in her mind.

”What's so funny?”

Ai whispered in her ear, her warm breath and lips against Risa's ear sending shivers down her spine.

“This just reminds me of the situation when you were wounded and we were in the stable...”

“Oh that one....”

Ai chuckled now as well as she recalled that incident in the stable. She knew that there would have been easier ways to warm her up back then, but she had gotten this sudden urge to get Risa close to her, when she had a good reason for that.

“I think I realized it then....”

The bean raised her eyebrow as she turned to watch the leader behind her.

“Realized what?”

There was a bit sleepy but at the same time very warm look in Ai's brown eyes as she examined the girl in her lap. Leaning a bit forwards, Ai placed her lips on Risa's once again. When the kiss ended, the leader just looked lovingly in Risa's eyes, not breaking the contact when she confessed her feelings.

“That I was falling for you.”

A small gasp escaped Risa's mouth as she heard Ai's words. Could it be that... Leaning a bit backwards and turning the younger girl in her arms so that she was now facing her, Ai landed on her back, causing Risa to be on top of her now. Immediately the leader captured the younger one's lips once again, but this kiss lasted longer than the others, as Ai poured all her feelings and showed what the younger one meant to her. Her arms had moved up and were now holding the bean in place as they kissed. Risa in turn had to support herself with her arms as it felt like Ai was trying to drag her down as they kissed. When they finally parted, both were panting slightly, till Ai moved her head closer to Risa's ear and whispered with a husky voice.

“I love you...”

There was a new kind of rush of emotions which shot through them both after Ai's words. Risa had never ever been this happy in her life as she rolled those three words in her head and it only made this moment better that someone had said it to her and truly meant them. Deciding to make this feeling even better, the bean revealed her own feelings to the older one, her words being exactly the same as Ai had said to her few seconds ago.

“I love you too...”

Moving her head so that she could face Ai, Risa kissed the leader again with a same amount of passion as she had done to her a while ago. As the fireworks and celebrating continued outside, the new couple who had finally gotten their emotions shown to the person they cared the most right now, continued showing their affection and love to each others, not being able to take their eyes off each others at all. It felt so unreal that the person they had once hated so much was now the one they treasured the most. They felt so right being in each others arms and the warm feeling was there all the time, leaving them only then when they parted. And even then, just a memory of the other one's rouch made that feeling come back immediately. They were meant to be, they knew it, and they would not have this in any other way. They would stay together, no matter what.

--------------------------

Meanwhile, under the buildings balcony where Ai and Risa were cuddling up, three girls looked at each others and high fived.

“Ai owns a looot to us after this.”

Reina said as they started to walk back to the marketplace which was still full of life.

“Aww come on, she don't have to. I mean, this is something friends do without paybacks, ne?”

Eri said as she looked at her girlfriend. Sayu only shrugged a bit as she kept on walking hand in hand with Eri.

“Well whatever, I am at least going to tease her about this for the rest of her life! Actually, I could go what has happened between them after few hours...” The kitten announced, causing Sayu to sigh.

She walked closer to Reina and hooked one of her arms around her shoulders, the other one doing same to Eri.

“What do you guys say if we just let those two be alone for a while and go enjoy this celebration, ne? Lets just go to get a drink or something...”

“Or buy more candies!!” Eri shouted.

“Yeah, candies too...” 'No way, lady... You have had enough sugar for this evening...' The bunny laughed as she pinched her girlfriend's cheek a bit, causing Eri to make a face.

“Drink doesn't sound bad at all. Lets go.” Reina said smiling.

And so the trio went to the market place, where people were still celebrating and it would last till the morning sun raised up. And they kept hope in their hearts and minds that one day, the raising sun would welcome a day, when all the wars would be over and peace would conquer this land.

-------------------------------

I hope you enjoyed!!

 :sleep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 31/ 16/06
Post by: rndmnwierd on June 16, 2013, 03:37:45 AM
:imdead: About time~!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 31/ 16/06
Post by: darkacex99 on June 18, 2013, 12:29:35 PM
YAY another Junjun dog pile  :twothumbs

I laugh at  Eri's attempt to get some more candy in the end XD crazy gal :rofl:

ai and risa gettin closer and closer...so close that im actually kinda scared...idk why XD

awesome chapter, cant wait for the next update :) thanks as always :D

Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 31/ 16/06
Post by: maikeatoot on June 19, 2013, 02:38:33 AM
me eating + reading =  :imdead:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 32/ 26/06
Post by: MsSmigge on June 26, 2013, 12:19:43 AM
rndmnwierd: Yes, our ovely takagaki got finally together  :lol: And I ended my own torment, lol. It was tormenting to write how they were so close, but so far away from each others XD

darkacex99: I don't know why I like to get Jun dog piled... It's just fun XD What? You're scared because Ai and Risa got closer? Well, maybe it will be revealed to us all later ;)

maikeatoot: Oh no, never eat/drink when you're watching something or reading XD I can tell, that is dangerous  :nervous


As always, thank you everyone for your comments and interest!!!

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 32 – As long as they all stayed together, everything would be alright


It had been about half a year after the peace had started between Heng and Yoshizawa's clan and it hadn't shown any kind of marks to crack anytime soon. Of course, everyone was prepared all the time, but because there had not been any signs from the enemy, the warriors were decided to be given some more holidays and free time and even JunJun got a few free days, too. Though, it might have seemed that they would let their guard down, it was not like that. All the time, there was at least one group at the front line keeping an eye on the enemy. But still, everyone in the village and in the whole Kibo had lived in peace for a half year now and almost no one was concerned by the war now.

Even Risa had had her thoughts out from the war and her head was only filled with a lot of positive things. She had had plenty of time to spend with her friends, there was peace and it was like her life had started again after her home village got destroyed. But the reason which made her the most happy was one certain warrior who had captured her heart totally and who Risa was deeply in love with. She had now been together with Ai for six months and she had had the best moments in her life with the leader. Ai had really changed of what she had been and now Risa totally understood what her friends had meant when they had told her how Ai had changed and how she was not so rude as she had seemed.

Ai was by far the most gentle and sweet person Risa had ever met. She was very polite and had good manners, she cared honestly about others and was very helpful. Sometimes, she even sacrificed her own free time so she could get some things done for the others. The leader also had her humor side, but it was only shown clearly when she was with Risa. The bean was quite proud of that. It felt like she was very special to Ai, when the leader showed or told her things she didn't tell to anyone else. The bean had also found out, that though the leader was very strong and quite though from time to time, she had a very weak spot for kids. Really, that woman just loved children! Risa had even found her lover playing with some of them in the village when they had had a day off. It was quite a sight when a grown up would play with children but she just thought that it was kind of sweet. People like that tented to have a very gentle an pure heart and Ai indeed had that. She may not show it as much out as Eri, but she had it and she usually showed it to Risa only.

Reina, Sayu and Eri were all the same as half a year ago, ”the aho couple” still being together and Reina still teasing them all the time. But now that she had also Risa and Ai, the kitten would sometimes leave her two childhood friends alone and go to tease this more fresh couple. When that happened, Risa had also found out how possessive Ai could be. She didn't went on a childish level with it, but the leader made sure to show who she was with and who did Risa belong to now. This made the bean feel quite taken, for she had never thought she could someday be ”someone's”. But the thought also warmed her mind. It indeed felt good to be someone's and especially Ai's~

It was a warm spring day and the trees had already some leaves on them. Winter was long gone and days had become longer. There were rarely cold nights anymore and everyone had already changed their winter clothes to a lighter ones. The warriors kept their same costume all the time and they just put clothes under that if needed. They did not have any kind of summer or winter clothes, just the one costume they used all the time.

Sun shone through the tree's branches as Risa walked on a small path. Her long brown hair had gotten even longer and was now reaching way pass her shoulder blades. There was a very loose ponytail behind her head, which allowed her hair to hang freely, but so that it would not disturb her. The black warrior she was wearing was quite hot with the weapons she was carrying, but even during the peace, the had to be prepared. There was way that some of their weapons could be left at home or such.

They had decided to go outside the village for it was now safer to move outside the walls and everyone grieved to get out in the nature. There was a small forest just outside the village where the Team Alfa had visited for a few times lately. They had one special spot, which had some hot springs nearby and a small opening with a nature pond. It was very beautiful and peaceful place where the friends liked to spend their time.

As Risa arrived at the opening, she saw that three of their ”gang” were already present. Eri was dipping her feet in the hot spring's water with Reina, while Sayu was laying on her back and using Eri's lap as a pillow. When they noticed Risa they all waved eagerly at her, the bean joining and greeting them at the same time.

The three hadn't changed much during the peace. Only one who had some changes in her outlook was Eri, who had cut her hair shorter. Her dark brown hair was now barely reaching her shoulders and she had clear bangs, too. But no matter how her looks changed, Eri was still the same cheerful and gentle warrior she was.

Reina and Sayu had stayed the same as they had been. The kitten had her usual high ponytail and her hair curled beautifully. She was still the same kid who liked to tease everyone and whom Sayu had to scold all the time. The black haired female had somehow calmed down during the peace though. She didn't nag so much anymore and took situations easier than before, but immediately things started to get worse, she would snap back in her tactician mode and be her old level-headed self.

“Hi there. Where did you leave you girlfriend?”

Reina greeted and started to tease the older girl immediately, which Risa only chuckled at. They were not awkward with Ai in any terms anymore and it was not a secret that they loved each others. In truth, they were sometimes even told to keep their hands better on themselves when they were out in public for they, and especially Ai, liked to get A BIT TOO carried away sometimes.

“She said she would come a bit late, for she has some things to do.”

”How did she let you go?”

Eri asked smirking as well. But she only gained a gentle slap from her own girlfriend. Sayu was still against all the teasing for she thought it was childish and improper. But no matter how much she scolded her friends, they just kept on teasing them.

“Well, we haven't seen since yesterday, so that's way.”

Risa said shrugging a bit. This caused Eri and Reina to frown for this was very unlike Ai. Damn those two were always together. It was like they could not keep their hands away from each others and even few minutes separation would drive them mad.

“What the heck?!" Reina yelped. "I bet this must be killing our leader, for she is always after you and vice versa...”

”Indeed it's killing me.”

A different voice interrupted, which was soon followed by Risa's small yelp which soon turned into soft moans as the bean's lips were stolen by her lover. Ai had somehow sneaked so that no one had noticed and now she was hugging Risa tightly from behind and kissing her deeply. The bean had placed her own hands on the arms which were circling her waist and tried to keep up with Ai's pace as they were kissing. The leader still had her short hair, though it had grown out a little bit. She hand't had any kind of "bad days" during the peace and she had gotten a lot healthier too.

While their friends were watching, Ai and Risa got carried away and just kept on making out. Slowly, Eri's and Reina's faces turned bored and even Sayu had opened her eyes and was just sighing deeply as she saw the couple cuddling and kissing in front of her. This was so normal of them now that it even made the trio a bit irritated sometimes. Damn, they should do that in their private time, not in public.

Finally the two parted their lips and stayed still, now staring at each others gently. Ai gave a quick peck on Risa's lips and moved so, that she was now standing at her side, still keeping her arms around her and not breaking the eye contact.

“Hi there.”

She said gently and pressed her forehead against the beans.

“Hi.”

Risa whispered back. They just always got so lost in each others eyes when they were together. There was no helping with it, though they had tried to be a bit more appropriate when they were with others.

“HI AI!”

Eri and Reina yelled suddenly at the same time, causing their leader to finally break the eye contact with the bean and turn to her friends. She smiled broadly and nodded her head to them.

“Hi guys. How are you?”

”Oh quite fine. It surprises me, that you even had time to ask." Reina mumbled "You seemed to be so busy with your girlfriend that you didn't even notice us...”

Soon she was followed by Eri who nodded her head firmly and glared at her friends.

“Yeah, you know it's nice and all that you're together, but could you please leave your long tongue battles in your private time? It's not very nice to watch....”

The leader only chuckled a bit as she squeezed Risa firmly against herself, the bean gasping in surprise. This was one of the possessive sides of Ai, for Risa felt like she couldn't move an inch now. The leader just liked to keep her close to her...

“I'm sorry, but it's just so hard when I have such a lovely lady in my arms.”

Ai cooed and gave Risa a kiss on her cheek, causing the bean to blush.

“Mine is more lovely....”

Eri huffed quietly, but Ai heard her and soon there was a very rare quarrel between the two, who were arguing about their girlfriends. It was normal that Eri was doing something like this but it was very rare to see Ai acting like this. The leader was known to be very level headed, but it seemed that with Risa she showed some new sides of herself. If she was alone with Eri now, she would not quarrel, but with Risa in her arms some kind of new emotions took hold of her.

Soon both Sayu and Risa got enough of their friends fighting and decided to end it. Sayu splashed some water on Eri and pinched her, while Risa just took a hold of her lovers head and silenced her by pressing her lips on hers. After that she gave her a glare, which cause Ai to pout immediately and apologize for she had been such a child. The leader hated to see her girlfriend angry face and especially then, when she was the victim of it.

When noticing that Ai had calmed down, Risa pried herself away from her arms and led them at the edge of the hot spring. They sat down, Risa dipping her feet in the warm water. Ai sat next to her and immediately circled one of her arms around Risa's waist protectively. She also dipped her feet in the water and soon the whole group had calmed down, the quarrel long forgotten and the couples now concentrating only to their own beloved one. They were in a silence for a  long while as everyone was just enjoying the warm weather and the presence of each others.

Finally, the only one without a partner got a bit bored and decided to have some fun. Reina got up from her place and tiptoed behind Sayu and Eri. They were so deep in thoughts, but then Reina noticed how spaced out their new love birds were. Risa had pressed her head against Ai's shoulder as the leader was playing with her long hair with her free hand. The other one was still holding the bean firmly close to her.

Grinning, Reina decided to have a go and confront her fate. She knew how her friends would probably flip after her little trick, but damn it, she was bored and they should also pay some attention to her too....

Quietly, very quietly, the kitten sneaked behind Ai. She had to act fast now, for the leader would surely notice her soon. And so she did. Ai was just about to turn around and ask Reina what on earth was she doing, when the younger girl pushed her forwards. Not being prepared for anything, the leader fell forwards and in the water, face first. She had let go of Risa when she noticed that she was about to fall, so the younger one would not fall in too. Risa yelped when she noticed what happened and her scream was soon followed by Reina's laughter as the kitten took all the triumph of this. She rarely got to surprise Ai like this, but now as the leader's eyes were behind pink glasses, it was easier to trick her super senses.

“Ai!”

Risa shouted as she jumped after the leader in the water. The hot spring was not very deep in here. It reached around Risa's chest, but that was something that worried the bean. What if Ai had hit her head, for how it had looked like Risa, her love had been quite surprised by Reina. Soon she bumped into something and in no time, a head popped in front of her and a bid frowning Ai came in to her view. She was coughing a bit, for she had taken some water in her breath during her dive.

“Ai!”

Risa yelped again and took a hold of her, patting the older woman's back firmly at the same time. Somehow Ai slipped on something under the water and of course she decided to took a hold of Risa's coat as she fell again. The cloth fell off from the bean's shoulders and almost dropped down completely. Risa helped her to stand, by taking a firm hold around her waist and pulling her up. Her coat dropped even more in the process and now her upper body, which was covered in a white shirt, was completely bare. When Ai's coughs subsided and the bean saw she was quite okay, she turned to give a good glare to the kitten, who only smiled very sheepishly. Just when Risa was about to fully turn towards Reina and scold her about doing such a thing, she was suddenly spun around by Ai. The leader kept her tightly in her arms and presented her back to Reina and the others, so they could not see Risa almost at all.

“Ai, what are you doing?”

Risa hissed as she was confused by her girlfriend's actions. But Ai only grabbed the half fallen black coat and dressed Risa in that. Somehow, the bean managed to get a glimpse of Ai's face and to her surprise, she was blushing madly and having a very bothered look on her face. What was wrong? She soon got her answer, when Ai started to tie her coat shut and leaned her head so that she could whisper in Risa's ear.

“Protecting something only I am allowed to see....”

She said in a bit husky tone and at the same time Risa could hear a very low growl and groaning. Before she could say anything, Ai continued on as she tightened Risa's coats ropes so tight, that the bean could barely breath.

“Next time, don't wear a white shirt under your coat because...”

Again, the leader groaned something Risa did not hear and only tightened her hold around her. The bean frowned at this and tried to pry Ai away so she could see her face, but without result. Finally, she gave in and huffed in the older woman's ear.

“Why?”

This time, Risa was sure she felt Ai shiver against her. What was wrong with her?

”Because someone might see..." The leader gulped as she tried to calm herself down. "Through your shirt when you're not wearing your... chest binding...”

She spoke in a very low tone and her words were followed by a very deep sigh. The leader could not say it out loud, but she was somehow having very very strong emotions now and when she had seen through Risa's shirt a while ago, her first act had been to hide what she saw from the others. But at the same time, she had gotten this sudden urge to just go and rip that damn fabric out of her way. Though Risa and Ai had been together for half a year now, they had not gone ”past the cloth line”. They had only had some very heated make out sessions and few times, they had gotten so carried away that they had started to undress each others. But every time that had happened, something always interrupted them.

But it did not mean that the couple did not want to go further. Heck, Ai had many times dreamed of undressing Risa and making love to her, but every time it might have happened in reality, something just happened and prevented the two from fulfilling their fantasies. But it was okay with Ai as long as she got to be close with Risa. She did not need sex or anything like that. All she needed was Risa beside her.

“Oi, you're doing it again...”

Reina moaned when Ai and Risa had not moved in few minutes. Ai was still trying to calm herself down and Risa was quite the same. She was also very embarrassed right now, for she had realized what the leader had meant. Beside that she had very same kind of things in her mind as Ai and it did not help at all, that the leader was holding her tightly and breathing all the time in her neck and ear.

“Fine then....”

They heard Reina grumble and soon, the couple in the water was drenched totally by Reina, who had splashed water towards them. Turning around, the furious couple glared at the kitten who was again laughing. Damn, this was fun.

“Reina!”

Risa yelled but, got another water attack as an answer.

“Lets have a water fight! You too!”

And so the over energetic warrior pushed Sayu and Eri in the spring too, causing both to yelp in surprise. Again the kitten got good laugh, but this time when she stopped, she was greeted with a scene which did not promise good for her. All her four friends, drenched from head to toe were glaring at her and soon their faces got a very, very evil smirk.

Realizing what was probably going to happen, Reina started to back away. But she was soon stopped by Eri who grabbed her by her ankle. In no time, Sayu jumped a bit and took a hold of the kitten's clothes. As she came down, she dragged the poor warrior with her and soon Reina found herself under the water. When she got in the surface, she was greeted by Ai and Risa who started to frantically splash water against her face, causing the kitten to turn away. Water hit her eyes again as the aho combi attacked her too.

Finally, Reina splashed the water with her hands towards both couples, causing them to calm down a bit.

“Moou!!! That's not fair! Four against one!”

Soon the revenge to Reina turned into a playful water fight where everyone was against each others. They played for a long while and during their play everyone turned against Ai and Sayu. The squad leader and the tactician decided to do some cooperation and attack the three girls. They would first approach them and then dive under the surface and drag the others down. The fact that they were this good was just that the two had the best skills in magic and they could make small air bubbles for themselves.

Of course in water fight, diving was a pathway to a safe place, where one could just attack the ones who were not under water. Ai and Sayu were like sharks who attacked their helpless prays who could not do the same thing as they did. Eri tried with Reina, but when they faced the two under the water, the leader and tactician just made a face to them and swam away. The turtle and kitten just had to get back up and then the two would strike from under the surface.

“This is not fun anymore....”

Reina groaned as she had been dragged under the water for the 5th time by Ai. As Sayu kept on teasing the turtle and kitten, Ai just chuckled from a distance and searched a new target for herself. Her eyes landed on her beautiful girlfriend and as Ai gave a very wicked grin to the bean, Risa felt s sudden urge to get away from the water and fast. She knew what that look meant. The leader had something planned in her mind and if Risa didn't do anything, she would have to go with her ways.

In no time, Ai dove in the water, disappearing from the sight and immediately after that Risa started to swim away as fast as she could. She reached the edge of the spring, but before she got out she decided to look behind. Turning around, Risa found out only how Reina was dragged under the water again, Eri following soon after. But there was no sign of Ai. Where was she? Deciding to wait for a little more, Risa kept a firm hold of the edge and just stood still. When nothing happened, the bean decided to check herself what was going on under the water.

She took a deep breath and dove, only being immediately met by Ai's face. The leader had been waiting for the right moment to hit when she had noticed that Risa had stopped and because the water was a bit darker than normally, it was not a problem to just lurk beside the bean. Risa yelled something and released a lot of air bubbles from her mouth. She felt how she was grabbed by Ai and dragged deeper under the water. The bean tried to escape as they went deeper, feeling how she needed to breath. But Ai just kept on taking her girl away.

Just when Risa was sure that her girlfriend was about to drown her, she felt something soft and warm land on her lips. She had no idea how things happened, but soon the bean felt how she didn't need to go to surface and breath. Ai was giving her some air by magic and that made it possible for them to make out under the water. The leader wrapped her arms tightly around Risa, while the bean found her arms around the older woman's neck.

Because they were in water, they flowed forward, spinning slowly around, till Ai's back finally hit the spring's wall. Risa thought that they should return back up so their friends would not get worried about them and she started to swim upwards. However, Ai had other thoughts in her mind as she grabbed the bean by her waist and pulled her back down. Their lips didn't separate from each others. The leader made sure of that, because if that would happen, Risa would be in trouble. The air did not store in her lungs, so when Ai would break the lip lock they had, Risa would be like she was just about to lose her breath.

As Risa gasped in surprise, her girlfriend took all the advantage of this and dove her tongue in the bean's mouth, eagerly exploring it. Her other hand had traveled downwards and was now on the younger girl's thigh. It kept on going till it reached her knee. After getting to her goal, Ai smirked against Risa's lips and with a fast movement she switched their places so that Risa was now against the wall. All the time, Ai held the bean close to her and made sure not to break their kiss for it would mean that Risa would soon run out of breath and this fun would end.

Taking all the advantage from this position, Ai pushed Risa firmly against the wall behind her and at the same time she hitched the leg up she had trapped a while ago. The bean being now trapped between Ai and the wall, the leader had her both hands in use and she did the same to Risa's other leg. Soon, the bean found how her legs were circling her lovers waist and when Ai pressed herself a bit forward she ended up making their bodies touch each others. Risa blushed furiously as she felt how blood rushed through her veins in ultimate speed. Yes, they had been this close earlier, but somehow this situation was just a bit different. Maybe it was because of their wet clothes which allowed them to feel every curve under the textile which covered some things both wanted to see.

The leader's hands traveled behind Risa's lower back and when she got them circled around there, she pulled Risa even closer and again, the couple was on loose as they felt each others bodies better than when they were cuddling with dry clothes. They forgot where they were and who was with them, for right now they only felt and knew each others.

Not realizing what she was doing, Risa's hands started suddenly to take Ai's coat off and the leader was also fumbling with the knots she had made on Risa's clothes a while ago.

But once again, they were interrupted. Ai felt how a tearing pain shot through her head as something pulled her up by her hair. As she was pulled up, Risa lost her airway and she took quite a lot water in her breath. But She still managed to follow her lover to surface. Luckily they hadn't been so deep anymore, so it was not so long way up. As she broke the surface, Risa started to cough immediately. Somehow she managed to search for Ai at the same time and soon, she found her lover growling at Reina, who had a firm hold of her short hair.

“What the heck are you doing??!!”

Ai yelled as she tried to get free. She splashed water towards the younger girl and somehow tried to reach her hand which was holding her hair.

“Fishing my dear friend. It indeed is a good day for it. Instead of one kisser, I caught two.”

The kitten grinned widely. Only then Ai got down from her pink clouds and remembered that Risa did not have any air after they had parted. The air she got would not restore when it was done by magic and immediately after their lips had parted, Risa would be like she had just lost the air in her lungs. Hearing how the younger girl coughed nearby, Ai pried herself away from Reina and swam to her girlfriend quickly.

“Risa!! Oh god, are you all right?”

She asked concerned as she wrapped her arms around her and patted her back firmly, so she would get all the water away from the younger girl's lungs.

“Yeah, I am. Thanks....”

The bean said. It was quite a good thing that she had been coughing, for it made a good cover for her tomato face. Yes, Risa had been very red when they had had their moment with Ai a while ago and the blush hadn't subsided yet.

“Ai, why is your coat so loose?”

Eri's surprised voice interrupted them and caused both Ai and Risa to froze. Luckily, the bean had still her thoughts running and she made a good cover up by telling how it had gotten loose during their water fight. Not suspecting anything, their friends just shrugged and got up from the water, leaving the relieved couple behind. There was just no way they could tell them what would have happened, if Reina had not pulled Ai up by her hair. They would probably still be under the water and doing some close examinations of the other one's body. A naked one.

Soon, Risa and Ai followed their friends, the leader being the gentleman and helping Risa up from the water by taking her hand and pulling her up. Of course, the bean ended in Ai's arms, for the leader used so much force when she got the younger one up. But this time, she just gave a brief hug to her girlfriend, so they would not get carried away again.

They walked to the trio who all were now squeezing all the water they could get away from their clothes. Of course, they could have used magic, but because the weather was so warm, they just let their clothes dry on their own.

After that, they all went under a huge three nearby and sat down under it's shadow. Sayu and Eri ended up sitting next to each other and both encircled one hand around each others waists. Reina sat beside Eri but as soon as she did so, she felt a light tap on her shoulder. As she turned to watch she noticed how the turtle patted her lap and implied, that Reina could use it as a pillow. Smiling broadly, the younger girl took the hint and laid so that her head rested on Eri's thighs. The turtle smiled down at her and gave a light pat on her head, before she leaned her head against Sayu's shoulder and closed her eyes.

After that, the grin on Reina's face turned into a gentle smile as she watched the girl whose legs she was using as a pillow. She was still in the same situation as she had been for years now, but by now, the kitten had learnt to live with her feelings. She was happy that Eri was her good friend and though she could never have her, she was happy that the older girl's life was fine and that she was happy. Slowly, Reina closed her eyes too and let her body relax as she started to fall asleep.

Ai and Risa ended up to sit next to each others of course, but quite quickly, the older one pulled the younger girl in her lap. Risa did protest at first, but after getting settled in Ai's lap, she found it quite comfortable and let go of her struggling. The leader wrapped her arms tightly around Risa's waist and placed her head on her shoulder.

For a moment, Risa just sat still, enjoying the closure and warm Ai gave to her. When she felt her eyes close, she leaned her head against Ai's and turned a bit so she would sit slightly sideways in the older girl's lap. The water fight had drained their energy so well, that all the five warriors just fell asleep as they sat down below the tree. Half a year ago, they wouldn't have even imagined about this kind of situation were they could just spend their time together outside the village and not be afraid of the enemy. They could just relax and think about things they really wanted to think and not some damn war.

Risa woke up from her slight slumber as Ai moved under her in order to get a bit better position. The bean just smiled down at her girlfriend who mumbled something in her dreams, a pleasant smile slowly forming on her face.

How much had her life changed in one year? At first, everything had been quite a mess, but she had managed to move on, thanks to her friends. Then, everything almost exploded with Ai, but somehow, everything had turned out in the end. The leader had changed back to herself and Risa had believed in her friends and others as they had told her how she should not judge Ai.

And Risa indeed was very happy that she had not judged the leader or at least did not keep hating her, for she would have lost a lot. At first, Risa had intended to just get along with Ai, but when she had noticed which kind of a person the leader was in truth, the bean could not help but fall in love with the warrior. It had been her luck that the monkey had felt the same and now they were happily together. Of course, they had still a lot to learn about each others and so, but Risa was sure she had her whole life to experience all that. Yes, she really hoped that the rest of her life would be beside this amazing woman she was in love with and of course, their friends would be there, too.

“Risa..”

Ai mumbled and snuggled a bit closer to the bean. She opened her eyes slowly and gave Risa a very sleepy and gentle look. The younger girl just smiled and gave a quick kiss on the leader's forehead, causing her to melt into a wider smile.

“Go back to sleep.”

Risa whispered. Ai obeyed her words as she pressed her head against the bean's shoulder once again.

“You too....”

The leader mumbled and soon Risa could hear a steady breathing beside her ear. Pressing her head against Ai's the bean glanced her three other friends and found out how they were sleeping too. Sighing deeply, Risa looked up at the sky, where the sun rays tried to peek through the trees. Why couldn't life be always this wonderful? Why there had to be wars?

Shaking her head a bit, Risa vanished all the things related to war and so away from her head and just concentrated on this moment and this nice feeling of having Ai beside her. Soon, her eyes felt heavy and in no time, she followed Ai to the dreamland with the others.

-----------------------------------------

The arch 2 starts~ Though I am not very satisfied with this, but I blame myself and this mysterious flu I got a while ago... I just can't wait to get better and then do things.  :err:

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter!!!  :sleep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 32/ 26/06
Post by: rndmnwierd on June 28, 2013, 04:36:51 AM
Getting a little hot 'n' heavy in the water there! :drool: :drool:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 32/ 26/06
Post by: maikeatoot on June 28, 2013, 12:04:38 PM
Whenever i play dragon nest i remember this fic hihi :)

Oh that was .. Wow !!!
Haahaaay it seems that aigaki enjoys their making out.sessions always :)

 Me want some sayueri raburabu :)
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 32/ 26/06
Post by: darkacex99 on June 28, 2013, 05:55:38 PM
raburabu all around  :shocked:

although this was mentioned by risa already....its amazing how in the beginning they both were never closer even hating each other, then they had some ackward sessions and silences, then BAM they start pullin a sayueri  XD  definately an amazing job done by mssmiggie XD which make me ever eager to see wats gunna happen next

thanks for still updating  :thumbsup keep up da good work
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 32/ 26/06
Post by: alwaysYou on June 30, 2013, 05:00:39 PM
rabu rabu rabu  :lol: :lol: XD XD
Love it.. :lol:

Next, give us some sadist moment..LOL!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 33/ 06/07
Post by: MsSmigge on July 06, 2013, 06:03:55 PM
rndmnwierd: Well here you have some more hot 'n' heavy action!  :lol:

maikeatoot: SayuEri must wait for a while now, but don't worry, there will be some in the future.

darkacex99: Thanks, and thank you for reading this fic~  :)

alwaysYou: Everybody loves rabu rabu~ Sorry, but sadistic moment must wait now xD But don't worry, there will be some in the future. Or well, I don't know if it's sadist, but.... But you know! Lol...   :lol:


Thank you everyone for you interest comments etc~ They make me very happy :)

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 33 – Yin-yang


Ai made a deep sigh as she prepared herself. She had grown used to all kind of pain in her life, but this was just something she could not take. The leader clenched her fists and tried to think about something nice in order to calm down. After few minutes of concentration, she raised her head up and looked with a determination at the woman who stood in front of her, ready to action whenever Ai was ready. The leader looked beside her, where another woman was standing. She was also ready to action and all she needed was a sign to do something.

“Let's make this quick...”

Ai growled, before she counted three in her head and opened her mouth wide open. Immediately a piercing pain ran through her body as something hit one of her back tooth. At the same time, delicate but strong arms wrapped around her body, trapping her own arms so that Ai could not move them. She squirmed, but soon the person holding her in tight grasp took a hold of her head too, immobilizing the leader's head and helping the other woman with her work.

“It's soon over, just a little bit....”

Closing her eyes, Ai tried not to squirm so the nurse could treat her better. It was a good thing Risa was the one holding her still, for her presence calmed the leader down. Had there been someone else in the bean's place, Ai wasn't so sure she could stay still like now.

'Damn, I didn't know she has gained so much strength lately...'

Ai thought as a new wave of pain pinched her mouth. Though Risa was not squeezing Ai, the leader could still feel, that whenever she would try to move, the younger one would make her sit in the chair. Now, the bean had moved her arms so that, one was around her girlfriend's upped body, just above her breasts, while the other arm was around Ai's waist. It looked very normal, but the bean had also and ace in her sleeve: Whenever the older one would start to squirm away from Lin Lin, all Risa had to do in order to stop her was to press her fingers against Ai's chest.

But she could not do that anywhere she wanted, because then it wouldn't work. The bean was using her girlfriend's oversensitive senses and nerve spots to her advantage. Ai tickled easily and she reacted to nerves pots as well. When the bean pushed her finger against the nerve spot, the leader couldn't do anything else than to stay still. Lin Lin's treatment hurt, but the nerve trick would hurt even more, if she dared to move away.

'Finally I have the upper hand...'

Risa smiled inwardly, when she felt how the leader was under her control. It was a good thing that she had asked the captain to teach her some nice locks and nerve spot tricks. Now, she could maybe use this in her and Ai's free time too...

“And it's done!!”

Lin Lin yelled suddenly, as she pulled her pliers out from Ai's mouth with something white between them. During her breakdown the leader had gotten her teeth in bad condition and now one had been badly infected. Though Lin Lin had tried to heal it, there was no other objection than taking the tooth away, for the infection had spread so badly. Even the strongest magic could not help with this.

As the operation was over, Risa tucked immediately a clean rag in the older girl's mouth. There was blood stains in the pliers and there was probably more in Ai's mouth. So, that the bleeding would not get escalated and the leader would not get nauseous, the rag was needed.

When that was done, Risa sat down on a nearby chair beside Ai's. She then pulled the older one gently towards herself, motioning her to sit on the floor. The leader did as asked, and immediately her butt hit the floor, Risa made her lean against her legs so, that her lap was a pillow for Ai's head.

Soft fingers started immediately to massage the leader's head, calming her down. The bean drew circles and other patterns as she moved her hand through her girlfriends short hair, gaining a few sighs which told her that her actions were very pleasing to the older warrior.

It took about five minutes before Risa stopped her stroking and leaned so that she could see in Ai's mouth. As she moved the rug away from her way, she could see how the bleeding had ceased almost completely. Now there was only a clean tooth sized hole and some blood, but otherwise this wound was okay now.

“There you go. It was not so bad, was it?”

Risa cooed to the older woman, who only whined something as she caressed her cheek with her hand when the rag was removed from her mouth. The bean chuckled a bit as she watched her girlfriend. This great warrior who was afraid of nothing would whine over a tooth which was taken away from her mouth. And when she was hit in shoulder with a sword, she just kept on going like nothing had happened. That amused the younger girl a lot.

Soon, Lin Lin came back with something in her hands and she motioned Ai to open her mouth. At first the leader refused, but when the nurse assured her that this thing would not hurt much, the leader slowly opened her mouth and let it to be examined. When noticing that the wound was now like it should be, the nurse just smiled a bit and put something in Ai's other teeth. It tasted like mint and the leader noticed how her teeth felt a bit sticky.

“It's good for your teeth.” Lin Lin said, when she sensed how the warrior was a bit unsure of what she was putting in her mouth. ”Now, don't eat in two hours or it wont help at all, okay?”

The leader nodded her head, showing that she had understood what the younger woman had said to her. 

There was a loud knock on the door and someone entered the nurse's place. A young girl with black hair came in and she bowed politely at Lin Lin. The nurse went to her and took a box the girl was carrying with her. They chatted a bit about something, but when the girl noticed Ai, she suddenly froze and just stared at the leader.

“Takahashi Ai?”

Ai turned her head towards the new comer as she heard her name and immediately she saw clearly who was at the door, her face melt into a warm smile.

“Mittsui!”

In no time, the younger girl bowed very deeply, causing everyone except Ai to frown.

“It's good to see you.”

Mittsui said as she rose back up, not breaking the eye contact with the leader. Ai just kept her smile on as she watched the still tense girl.

“Now, my apologize, I have some duty to do. See you around.”

”It was nice to see you too, Aika. Take care and come visit us in the training if you have time.”

Ai said politely nodding her head to the younger girl, who suddenly had a slight blush on her face. She just bowed again and said something to Lin Lin, till she left the nurses place in a rush.

There was a silence after Mittsui had left, which was only broken when Risa finally decided to question what was this.

“Ai, who was that?”

The leader turned her head towards the bean, her smile turning into a wide grin.

“That was Mittsui Aika. That girl is very eager to join our training and become a samurai someday. She is allowed to do some easy practice, but not the real thing for she is so young. She also idolizes all the samurais she knows and for some reason, I am her idol number one....”

Ai explained to her girlfriend. Every time they met with Mittsui the girl would be as nervous and formal as she had been a while ago. With other samurais, she was a bit less formal but with Ai, she was always so tense. Only on the battlefield, the younger girl had been less nervous when she had met Ai, but that was probably because of the fighting stress. Also, in the field formalities and such were easily forgotten, because it was easier to communicate without them.

The leader rose up a bit and turned so that she was now kneeling in front of the bean. Risa was still looking at the door where the younger girl had disappeared a while ago, when she felt two arms encircle around her waist. Looking down, the bean found the older one grinning stupidly at her, while she was hugging her waist tightly.

“But no matter how much someone admires me, you're the only one I have eyes on all the time.”

Ai cooed, causing Risa to blush. Noticing her word's effect, the monkey grinned a bit more till she leaned forwards and pressed her head against Risa's stomach.

“Why haven't I met her before?”

After a few minutes silence, Risa opened her mouth and let her thoughts out.

“She is usually very busy with her family, for they have so much work to do. Both her parents are samurais, and they live here, but they have some land outside the village. Mittsui helps a lot with the farm they have and she sometimes spends more time out there than here. Now, when things have calmed down and her parents have been able to be at the farm more time, Mittsui has had a change to come over her more often.”

Ai explained, not changing her position at all while she spoke. She was just too comfortable here. Risa mused Ai's words a bit in her head, ignoring the pleasant feeling, when the monkey spoke against her stomach, causing shivers run through her body. The bean thought what she had just heard for a moment, till she just let the subject be. Maybe she would someday meet Mittsui properly and get to know her better.

Turning her look down, Risa patted Ai's head gently, causing the older one to look up at her questioningly.

“How is your mouth?”

She asked while she gently ruffled the leader's short hair, noticing how pleased Ai was with the attention she got from her lover. She was like a cat who was purring to her mistress and asking for more attention and pets.

“It's a bit sore, but I think I will live with it...”

”You sure?”

Risa asked and Ai could notice a different, but at the same time, very familiar glistening in her eyes. Taking the younger girls hint, the leader grinned shortly before she suddenly made a pained expression and groaned a bit. Some drama was added, when she lifted her other hand up and rubbed her cheek as if she was trying to ease the pain in it.

“Well now that you ask, I'm not one hundred percent sure... It's still quite sore.”

Satisfied that her message got noticed, Risa moved a bit downwards and gently took Ai's head between her hands, minding the side of her face which was still sore.

“Maybe I can help with it then...”

She whispered quietly, which made Ai immediately turn her pained expression into a broad grin as her head was guided closer to Risa's.

“I think you're the only one who can erase the pain completely...”

Ai whispered back, causing Risa to chuckle. Closing the gap between them, the bean pressed her lips against Ai's, tasting immediately some mint as she explored the older woman's mouth. At first, the kiss was very calm, but it didn't take long, when their tongue battle started and turned more heated moment by moment. Ai got up a bit so she could reach better behind Risa's head and pull her closer. The bean in turn wrapped her arms around the leader's upper body and tried to follow with her eager girlfriend who had abruptly taken the lead.

Suddenly, a loud clang made them both stop, but not part from each others. Risa raised her eyes a bit and noticed how something moved behind Ai. The couple had totally forgotten Lin Lin, who had not gotten away from the scene after she had gotten the deliver from Mittsui. The nurse had had decided to have some fun and find out, how long it would take before the two lovebirds would notice her. Unfortunately for her, she had dropped one can while she had been too occupied with watching the couple showing their love to each others. Finally, Ai moved too. She turned her head slightly to her side, so she could see the nurse behind her. She still kept her arms tightly in their place, not letting the bean go.

Lin Lin cursed silently as she crouched down to take the fallen can. When she got up she showed a very gentle and apologizing smile to the couple, who was still staring at her like deer in the headlights. This was so embarrassing.

“Oh, don't mind me. Just continue where were you and I just leave for my own business. Ja ne.”

The nurse chirped as she put the things in her hands away and left the building, at the same time waving at her friends. Silence fell in the room as Ai and Risa were still spacing out. Finally, the bean coughed awkwardly and tried to get up.

“Maybe we should go too now....”

But she was soon interrupted by Ai, who just stayed still and prevented the younger one from leaving. Frowning, Risa sat down and looked in the leader's eyes, who had her ”Where do you think you're going to” face.

“Ai-chan?”

”You heard what the nurse said.”

The leader stated bluntly and soon, the bean found her lips stolen in a deep kiss by Ai, who was leaning so forcefully forwards now, that Risa was sure they were going to fall down. As she tried to follow after her lover's pace and somehow get in balance, Risa's eyes traveled on the small box Lin Lin had received a while ago. Examining the box for a second, Risa suddenly recognized something very familiar from it.

She tried to make Ai stop her assault, but the leader would not have any of it, for she was too occupied by untying Risa's coat. If the bean had not noticed the box, she would be with the leader, but now she just had to check, if she was seeing what she thought.

Deciding to end this now before they would get too carried away, the bean leaned forcefully backwards, taking Ai by surprise. The chair fell with Risa, who ended up on her back, but Ai was another story. Somehow, the bean had put her legs so that she managed to push the leader away from on top of her. She just wanted to make sure that she would get free now, for Risa knew what kind of a burdock Ai could be when they were having this kind of moments.

The leader flew over Risa in a large circle and ended up landing face first to the ground. Luckily, her reflex still played and she managed to prevent hurting herself as she put her arms in front of her when she hit the floor. Immediately she had gotten free, Risa jumped on her feet and almost ran to the box. It was a beautiful wooden box with a see-through cover which had ten places for small circles, a bit bigger than a coin. Inside those places where ten yin-yang marks, which all had their own cover container.

Risa gasped a bit as she realized what these things were. She could not believe her eyes, for she had thought that these were only sold and made in her village or in the land which borders were just next to her home.

She was startled a bit as a deep groan was heard behind her and soon two arms encircled around her waist and a head landed on her shoulder.

“That was mean....”

Ai mumbled as she tightened her hold around Risa, so the younger one would not get away this time. Risa chuckled a bit and patted Ai's head affectionately. But soon her attention turned back to the box which was on the table.

Carefully, the bean took the box in her hands examining it closer. Her actions made also Ai to snap out from her sulk and now the leader was looking the wooden box with the same amount of interest as Risa was. Suddenly, the bean realized what she was doing and almost dropped the box.

“I think I should not touch this...”

She thought out loud. This was not hers and she knew how expensive and valuable these things were, so Lin Lin probably didn't want anyone else than herself to handle them. Suddenly, Ai rose her hand up and took a small note from under the lid. She opened it and read it. Just when Risa was about to but the box down, Ai tightened her hold around her waist, stopping the bean's actions.

“It's okay if you look at it.”

She said and showed the note, which had very neat handwriting. The bean looked the paper and read it out loud.

“Risa, Ai, it's okay if you will examine this box. Lin Lin.... How in the heck did she know?”

The bean said, once again being surprised by the nurse's foreseeing skills. This started to be a bit creepy now though, for this was at least the hundredth time Lin Lin did something like this. Putting the note down, Ai took her previous position and glanced the box briefly.

“What so special about those then?”

Ai's voice brought the bean out from her thoughts and her focus returned to the box.

“You don't know what these are?”

Risa asked a bit confused as she glanced at her girlfriend who had a small frown on her face now.

“No, I don't.”

Risa blinked few times, but then thought about Ai's life and chances the leader would have met these things at some point. Not saying a word, Risa opened the box and took one of the small discs out from it. She closed the box, put it on the table and then held the object  in front of Ai's face.

“This, my dear, is a life giver.”

“Life what...??”

Ai asked confused. She had never heard of these and for her, that was just a regular yin-yang symbol, nothing more.

“Yes, a life giver. These discs can do things which normal human are never able to do. Not even, if they were very skilled in magic.”

By now, the bean had turned her head towards the leader, who was still holding her from behind and used her shoulder as a pillow. She strared at the symbol with a frown as she tried to figure out, what was so special in that small disc.

“Well, what can it do then?”

Now very curious, the leader wanted to know more of this. She had always been very fascinated by magic and such and judging by Risa's words, this was something she could put as equal with her magic apples.

“Well, lets start with it that these things are given to couples when they get married. The disc has such strong magic inside, that it can help people who have problems in having children. I am not very sure how these discs work, but somehow they change hormone actions in human body and make it possible to have children. There has been only few times when these things have not worked, but it's very rare.”

At the same time as Risa explained this all to her girlfriend, she waved the small object in front of Ai's face, the leader following it with her eyes.

“So these things can give children to people?" She asked, still following the disc Risa was moving in front of her face.

”Yes, but that's not the only thing. That is just one of the things it's used the most.”

“Well is there anything special special they can do then?”

”Well, a life giver can also make it possible that the same sex couples can have children.”

This time, Ai was quiet. It took a while, before the bean felt how the older one pulled away as she turned Risa around in her arms. When the bean met her eyes, Ai had a frown and she was looking at the younger girl like she had a bit loose head.

“What?”

”Yes, exactly what I said. Didn't you ever wonder how Yoshizawa and Rika got Akira? Or the other same sex couples in your land?"

Ai was silent for a moment, as gears turned in her head. She had always thought that Akira was Rika's biological child but not Yoshizawa's. Her eyes widened as she finally realized what Risa was saying.

“You mean...  You mean two females or males can have children? Like.... Like they are the real parents? No adoption or such?”

Risa nodded her head firmly and brought the disc once again in front of their eyes.

“Yes. As I said earlier, these things can changes the hormone action. It also depends on which piece, white or black, will you take.”

Ai was still staring at her girlfriend like she had grown another head. Slowly, she reached out and took the disc Risa was holding and examined it a bit. It felt so unreal that this small thing could do something like that, for Ai had always thought that no matter what, producing children always needed male and female. Fascinated by the little object, Ai turned to look at Risa once again. This time, there was some eagerness in her eyes.

“How does it work? The children thing I mean.”

Amused by the leader's eagerness, Risa took the small disc back from her and put it so that  Ai could see the both sides of it. It was like she was holding a candy in front of a kid, for Ai looked like she was about to explode. This definitely had caught her attention.

“As you know, the colors have their own symbols. White part, yin, is male, positive, day, active, sun, logical, hot and hard's symbol, while the black one, yang female, negative, night, passive, moon, intuitive, cold and soft's symbol.”

As she explained, the bean pointed the disc's different sides with her finger. Ai was still keenly following her not letting any of this information get away from her ears.

”Now, if female takes female's part, the black one, it only makes changes in her hormones so, that it's easier for her to have children and same goes with male, if they take white one. But if female takes white one, her hormones will change so that she will produce some male hormones and gametes. Now, if this female who has some male hormones in her, has sex with another female, they can have children because thanks to the white part, she is able to transfer some male gametes in the ”normal female's” body and the fertilization may happen. That's how it works.”

Risa explained happily and looked up to Ai who was again having a very stunned look on her face. The eager kid in the candy shop had suddenly turned back to the clueless leader, who would doubt everything she didn't have information earlier.

“How in the heck do you know all this?”

The leader asked confused as she tried to run everything she had just heard through her head. First, she had had no idea that things with this kind of power existed and the second, how did Risa know so much about this?

“I think that living nearby Sorayama helped me to get know some things you're unfamiliar with in here. They are by the way the only people known so far who can make these.”

”Woah, what the heck is SoraYama?”

Ai interrupted her lover as she had once again gained some information she knew nothing about. This time, it was Risa's turn to look confused as she heard her girlfriend's question.

“You don't know Sorayama? Your southern neighbor?”

Ai was just about to say something, but as Risa mentioned the neighbor thing she stopped and now the couple was staring each others with equal confused looks.

“Eh? You're talking about Darkland? That's our southern neighbor.”

”DarkLand? What the heck? It's Sorayama out there!”

”No, I have always know it as Darkland. The place which is dark and the sun shines extremely little in there.”

”No, it's not a dark place!” Risa almost yelled. ”SoraYama is a land which is known about it's mountains reaching very high and because it has so much clouds around the year, it seems like those mountains are reaching the sky. It's not a dark place and it has a lot of nice people!”

”You have been there???”

Ai almost yelled now too, for she had always been taught that that land's people were not interested about others at all and they indeed had dark out there.

“Well at the border yes, but some people from there have visited my village as well. That's how I know so much about them and about these discs.”

By now, the leader was staring her girlfriend with a huge doubt. Had Risa interacted with people from behind that border? It was not a bad thing and they didn't have any kind of war with those people. But everyone out there acted suspiciously towards everyone in Kibo and vice versa.

Darkland, or Sorayama, whatever, was known to be a place which was always covered in darkness and it's people were weird and did not want to take contact with others. It was also said that they were carrying some secrets which were able to destroy all the people if they were left in wrong hands. Teien's people had always been very doubtful towards them and even when they had met some people from behind the border, those interactions had been full of tension and so. Maybe, the other land's people thought the same about people in here...

“I am very surprised that you don't know so much about that place. Those people are very highly educated in magic and their land has natural recourse others don't have. You really should visit it someday.”

Ai frowned a bit as she thought about going to Darkland. She had very high doubts about that place and even though Risa had been there, the leader was still very unsure of the idea. Noticing her girlfriends look, Risa chuckled a bit and gave a quick peck on Ai's cheek, causing her to snap back on earth.

“I'll take you there some day so you will get rid of your doubts. Really, think about it; people who have created something this great cannot be so bad, ne?”

Once again, the bean was moving the small disc in front of the leader's face, which made Ai to get interested about these magic things again.

“Speaking of those, what else can they do? If they are life givers, can they be used somehow in war? like healing or something?”

”Unfortunately, these wont stop bleeding or such.” The bean said, her smile dropping at the same time. ”Life givers are used only when we are talking about new life. But instead of healing wounds, they can safe infants who have some fatal illness or disorder, for example mutation.”

”So the age matters?”

Risa nodded her head as she continued her explanation.

“Kind of. With adults, it affects their hormonal action and with babies, it also affects their metabolism. These things give life, but they wont return it or make ”an old life” alive again .”

As Risa was explaining, Ai had once again returned both of her arms around the bean's waist and it seemed like she was deep in thoughts right now. She was listening very carefully what her girlfriend said, but some other things started to occur her mind at the same time.

As the bean had finished, Ai was silent for a moment, before she reach out for the disc in Risa's hand. But she did not take it away from her, she just held it with the bean.

“So, these things are something very valuable?”

The leader asked, not taking her eyes off from the ancient symbol.

“Yes, they are. Every new life is very precious. By far, these are the only things which can help with child death and couples who have problems with having children. I think that whoever has invented this thing, must have had a very pure heart and good thoughts...”

The last part was said in a quiet whisper as a gentle smile spread across Risa's face. Yes, the bean had a weak spot for children and nothing made her more sad than seeing or hearing about children's death. This caught Ai's attention, but she did not turn her face towards the bean as she spoke after a moment.

“You want children someday?”

The blunt question caused Risa's smile to drop as she turned to face Ai, almost dropping the disc in her hand. Noticing this, the leader turned her eyes on Risa and watched her expressionless, waiting for her answer.

Risa in turn was very confused of the question and for a moment, she could not utter a word. It was just a normal question of wanting to have children or not, but for some reason it made the bean very bothered. Maybe it was the fact the Ai was the one asking it. It took while for Risa to survive from the brain storm in her head as she gathered herself again. It didn't help either, that Ai was all the time staring her and waiting for her answer.

“Yes, I want children someday. But...”

The bean turned her head away as she tried to hide her blush. However, her face soon turned into a sad expression.

“Not till the war is over...” The bean whispered. ”I want my children to grow in a place which doesn't have war and hatred.”

A silence followed after Risa's words as neither of the warriors did not speak. Ai just stared the younger one, till she turned back to the disc which they were both holding. She gently pried it away from Risa's fingers, causing the bean to look up what the other one was doing. Ai examined the disc in her hand, spinning it around and wondering, how could this small disc do something so special and great. And then, she asked something which made the younger girl totally freeze.

“If one of us takes the white one, we would be able to make children together someday?”

The blush on Risa's face was back in no time as she stared the older one with awe. But Ai was calm as a cucumber as she asked these questions which made Risa realize that she was quite serious about this. Coughing a little bit Risa tried to hide her face behind her bangs as she started to examine her feet, which she found very interesting right now.

“Yes, that's how it is....”

Risa mumbled and after a moment, she felt how Ai leaned closer to her, one of her arms reaching behind them, while the other just stayed on it's place around the bean's midsection. After the leader had placed the small disc back in it's container, she backed away a bit and used her now free hand to lift Risa's head up. Their eyes met, both looking at each others and trying to figure out what the other one was thinking of.

Finally, warm smile spread across Ai's face as she slowly leaned in and sealed her lips with Risa's, giving her very sweet and slow kiss, which for some reason surprised the bean. Yes, they had kissed lord knows how many times but somehow, this one felt a bit different. As Ai pulled away after a moment, they still kept their eye contact. There was something new in those chocolate eyes, but Risa couldn't figure out what was it exactly. But she didn't have mush time to think about that, when the older one was on loose again.

The leader leaned in again, this time crashing her lips against Risa's. This caught the bean by surprise and for a moment, Ai was freely dominating her. She used this to her advantage and made sure that her leading position would stay as she tightened her arms around the younger girl's body and pressed herself closer.

But it did not took very long, when Risa was back in the game. She let the older on lead this, but she would be ready to change their roles whenever given a chance to that.

Soon, the bean found herself pushing the disc box a bit away from them so it would safer when Ai lifted her on the small table behind her and continued exploring her mouth. Soon her hands joined in, as they traveled up and down Risa's back and from time to time, they also got lost somewhere around the bean's midsection and legs. Risa in turn tangled her fingers in Ai's hair as she tried to somehow follow her now very eager lover in control. Her thoughts about changing their roles at some point started to vanish, for there was just no way she could stop her very aggressive lover now. Yes, she had kind of lost this battle to Ai. But she had to do all in her power to fight back, because if she let the ledaer go in her own pace, Risa would be out of breath in seconds.

Finally, Ai left the beans's mouth alone as she started to kiss her jaw and neck, making it a bit easier for Risa to breath. But it was still quite hard to catch air, as the leader started to nib and lick her skin, which caused the bean to moan out loud. Damn that monkey when she got this gear on, for she was almost impossible to stop.

“Risa....”

Hot breath tickled the bean's ear as she felt her lover suck on her earlobe and after that she moved her lips a bit downwards, giving a very firm kiss on her neck. Tossing her head a bit backwards and moaning, Risa grabbed Ai's shoulders and head very firmly with her arms when a sudden rush of pleasure ran through her body. Noticing this, Ai continued attacking the sweet spot she had just found and turned her kissing into biting.

“Ai....!”

Risa moaned again as the unknown feeling spread across her body as Ai kept on continuing her attack. Feeling her own excitement rose by Risa's moans, the leader soon reached one of her hands up and started to undo Risa's jacket, as her other arm kept a firm hold around her waist, not letting the younger one escape.

But escaping was not in the bean's mind right now, for she was as taken by these emotions as Ai was. Also, she could not refuse even if she wanted, for the leader was still assaulting her neck by sucking and biting it, making Risa immobile. After getting her jacket open, Ai used her free hand and slipped it under the bean's shirt, her cool hand causing shivers to run down Risa's body.

The leader felt how the younger one's abs shivered under her touch. She had gotten more muscular in few months for Ai didn't remember that Risa would have had so visible muscles as she was feeling right now. But the muscles were not in her mind right now, but something else a few centimeters upwards was.

Just when Ai was about start to reach her goal, they both heard sounds outside. They froze immediately, but soon low groans were heard from the older one. Damn it, what was with people interrupting them all the time?!

It took a lot of willpower from Ai to leave Risa's neck and still her hand. She really wanted to go further and every time they would do something like that, they just had to be interrupted every single time. Sighing, Risa took Ai's roaming hand and pulled it out from under her shirt, missing immediately the touch against her bare skin. She placed the arm around her and gently pried Ai away from her neck. There was a huge disappointment on the leader's face as Risa met her eyes and she could not help but chuckle a bit.

“Don't worry, we will have our time someday.”

Risa whispered and gave Ai a quick peck on lips, which the leader immediately turned into a deep kiss. She leaned in so forcefully, that Risa's head hit the wall behind them. For a while, the bean was sure Ai was going to continue where they had been, but luckily, she was still in her senses. When they parted, the older one moved her head against Risa's neck and the clear red mark she had just created seconds ago. The bean in turn just tried to catch her breath from the sudden assault and calm down her wildly running emotions.

“But I want this...”

The leader whined quietly, causing Risa to chuckle and pat her head affectionately.

”I want this too, but it seems everyone else is against it. We will have our time, I just know it. But it's not just yet...”

”Screw the others...”

Ai mumbled suddenly as she started to nib the mark on Risa's neck again, causing the bean to moan. Soon, the leader traveled her lips on the bean's and they were once again making out quite heavily. Even the table under them gave a small crack sound as the leader was pushing her lover against the wall behind them.

But Risa was not in her pink clouds anymore and as Ai started to get too eager, she pushed her firmly away, causing the older one to frown. There was just no way that Risa could get Ai off from her with her own power. When the leader felt her being pushed away, she stopped her assault and let the bean push her a bit further away from her.

“Not now...”

Risa forced herself to say. They had heard Lin Lin's voice outside and she could walk in any moment. They would have their moment one day, but they just had to wait right now. Groaning, Ai gave in her girlfriend and very reluctantly started to tie her jacket up again. As she did so however, her lips found their way on Risa's, which the younger one tried to refuse at first. But Ai held her in place firmly, not allowing herself to be pushed away this time.

“I wont try anything. I promise...”

”Ai, I don't think...”

”Just... Few more seconds.”

Sighing, Risa gave in and they kissed again till Ai had tied her jacket. The leader took all the joy from these few seconds as she was tasting her lovers lips. She made sure to gain some more seconds by tying the jacket up very slowly and neatly. Yes, she indeed didn't have to rush with this.

After the coat had been done, they parted their lips. Ai leaned in once again and gave one final kiss on Risa's forehead and just when she helped the bean hop down from on top of the table, the front door opened and Lin Lin walked inside.

She had something in her arms, but the duo couldn't clearly see what was it. A huge smile formed on the nurse's face immediately after she met her friends and Ai and Risa both greeted her by waving their arms a bit.

“Hi guys. Did you have fun?”

”Ano...”

Risa mumbled a bit shyly, causing the nurse to laugh out loud. The bean knew it that Lin Lin was very aware what had been going on in here a moment ago and it did not help the situation at all.

“You noticed my note?”

The nurse asked as she but the things away from her arms, causing Risa to remember what she had wanted to ask.

“Lin Lin! Where did you get those life givers?”

Smiling, the nurse came closer and took the wooden box from the table.

“I bought them from market which is a bit outside this village. Now that it's peace, one trader was able to come here from Sorayama. He has sold those to me for years now, but because of the war, it has been difficult recently. Now, I have gotten them quite easily.”

The nurse explained. The bean had been right, for there was no way this land would make these discs. It required magic which only people of Sorayama knew.

“So you know also the real name of Darkland?”

Ai asked frowning, which caused Lin Lin to chuckle.

“Yes of course.”

”Then why didn't you tell us about it?”

”I kind of forgot...”

A nervous smile crept on the nurse's lips as Ai kept on frowning at her. She was only stopped when Risa patted her arm gently, smiling at her girlfriend. This melted the leader into a gentle smile as well and she soon forgot that the nurse hadn't told them the real name of their southern neighbor.

“Shall we go then? We have some issues to take care of at town.”

Risa said. She wanted to get out from here, because the fact that the nurse most likely knew what they had been doing and what would have happened if she hadn't interrupted them, made Risa feel quite uncomfortable. Now, she could just get away and make the nurse forget what was going on in this building for a moment ago. Or at least, Risa hoped so.

Nodding slightly and offering her arm to the bean, Ai started to lead her outside. She parted from her at the door, so she could held it open for the bean. Risa only rolled her eyes a bit, but deep inside she was quite pleased by the sweet and polite gesture. When they were outside, the younger one automatically offered her arm to her side and in no time, it was joined by the leader's. But they did not get far, when Lin Lin suddenly stopped them.

“Risa wait! It's better you will take this.”

As they spun around, they saw how the nurse was running out from the building and having something in her arms. To Risa's surprise, the younger girl put some kind of a scarf around the older one's neck, hiding it a bit under her coat so it would not look too suspicious. It was quite warm and only few people used scarfs anymore, so it would look a bit weird, if she showed it out too much.

“Well thank you Lin Lin, but I think I am fine without this....”

The bean started, but was soon interrupted by Lin Lin once again.

”Well if you like to explain that huge red mark on your neck, then by all means. But I think it's better if you just wear this.”

”Red mark... What?”

Suddenly, Ai had turned her head away and as Risa noticed this, her face flared red and she immediately looked down, not being able to face the younger nurse anymore. But Lin Lin only laughed gently and patted the bean's shoulder.

“Now, it's okay. It's just normal that new couples get a bit carried away. I try not to interrupt you next time. And a small tip; next time, go to a free room and lock the door so...”

”THANK YOU for your advice Lin Lin, but I think that we are not going to do any of that in a long while...”

Risa muttered as she started to intentionally squeeze the arm she had hooked her own around, causing the leader beside her to jump up on her toes.

Lin Lin held her laughter, for she could see how angry Risa was now. She only smiled a bit and said her goodbye before disappearing back inside. By the way how the bean had held on Ai's arm, she really hoped that they would settle this out soon, or the squad leader would need an amputation to her arm.

After the nurse was gone, it took a while for Risa to gather herself up again before she started to walk briskly away from the nurse's place. She dragged her girlfriend behind her, who was still walking on her toes because of the arm lock Risa had created to her.

“Risa, could you please let me go?”

Ai asked carefully as she tried to stay up with Risa and at the same time get free. But it was no use, for the bean had gotten some kind of extra power from her anger and would not let go so easily.

”You even dare to leave that kind of a mark and not tell me....”

She growled, which caused Ai to shiver. Damn, she had never heard her girlfriend this angry. And she had never known she could be this strong when angry... It reminded her a bit of Eri who was in sugar high and would then gain these inhuman powers.

“Aww come on, it's just a mark and it only shows who you belong to.”

The leader tried to calm her lover down. Abruptly, Risa came to halt almost causing Ai to bump into her. She was silent for a moment before she turned to face the leader. She was still angry and the face she had, made Ai nervous.

“I don't want that. People should know without these marks that who I belong to, plus it's quite embarrassing...”

Realizing what was the matter, Ai sighed deeply. Feeling how Risa had loosened her hold, she pulled her arm away from the bean's. She then opened her arms and after few glares and mutters, the younger one walked closer so the leader could close her in a tight hug.

Noticing that the younger one did not resist nor did she hug back, the leader decided to do one thing which always made situations easier.

“I am sorry I did not tell you...”

She whispered in Risa's ear, who only nodded a bit.

“I wont do those anymore unless you want me to...”

This time, Ai could feel how Risa shivered. Very slowly, she brought her arms up to hug the older one.

“It's not that I don't want you to do them... But next time, bite a bit lower...”

A huge grin spread on Ai's face as she heard Risa's words. She craned her neck and gave a quick kiss on top of the bean's head. She then gently pulled away so she could see her lover's face, which was not so angry anymore. Instead, The bean gave a short smile, before she got away from the leader's embrace and started to walk again. Ai caught her up and took the arm the bean was once again offering to her. They walked in a silence for a moment, before Risa opened her mouth.

“But we wont take Lin Lin's advice for at least in week now.”

”Eh?”

Ai almost stopped walking when she heard Risa's words. One week without kissing and such with her girlfriend?? There was just no way... She had to be kidding. Noticing how her girlfriend had a bit doubtful look on her face, the bean decided to make those doubts vanish away.

“Yes, we wont do anything like that in a week.”

'Damn, she sound serious...'

”Aww, Risa come on! Not even a bit?”

”No.”

”Just a moment?”

”No.”

”For a second?”

”You want to sleep in the living room? Or better, in your own home?”

The battle taking now serious turn around, Ai decided to retreat. She held her free hand up in defense and looked in the bean's eyes. Being apart from her lover was something Ai could not bare. Well, she could not stand the kissing ban either, but at least she cold be close with the younger girl, if she now gave in.

“Yes dear. We wont do anything like that in a week.”

”Good.”

And with that the couple continued their travel to the town, Ai sighing deeply and being very happy that she wouldn't have to sleep alone for one week. But she would definitely make her lover to change her mind. Yes, she would do that, one way or another.

-------------------------------

Some more rabu rabu time~ Next is some action time and something else...  8)

I hope you enjoyed!!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 33/ 06/07
Post by: kawaii beam on July 06, 2013, 11:15:06 PM
finally replying to our story to say that I seriously love it! I cant stop squealing when I read ai and risa together XD I cant wait for the action chapters but a little raburabu goes a long way~ :deco: keep it up!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 33/ 06/07
Post by: darkacex99 on July 07, 2013, 05:12:07 AM
yay new chapter  :cathappy:
good gawd ai-chan...i wonder how jacked up that tooth looked like XD

lawd gawd its fluff galore up in here  :grin:

tho i did enjoy this chapter im ready for the action time :lol: cant wait til the next chapter  :cathappy: thanks again :yep:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 33/ 06/07
Post by: rndmnwierd on July 07, 2013, 09:38:33 AM
Something about the big, bad leader being squeamish about having a tooth pulled makes me lol. Also, punishment for the naughty Ai-chan!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 33/ 06/07
Post by: maikeatoot on July 07, 2013, 03:36:53 PM
I must wait for my sayueri raburabu :)

Poor reina she has no lover .. Why dont you chase junjun ? Haha

And yes aigaki !! I want tbem to have children someday .. !!
Please !!!
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 33/ 06/07
Post by: Koei on July 14, 2013, 02:47:28 AM
WHAAAAATTTTT !!!!!!

How come I've taken so long to read this !??!??!?!?! Shame on me!!! This is awesome!!!

I love it !!! The Fighting, setting, relationships, rabu rabu :heart: underwater sexy times !!!!!!!!

 :cow: Awesome fic! I love it! Keep it going!! I wanna see moreeeeee!!!!!!  :cow:
Title: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 34/ 17/07
Post by: MsSmigge on July 17, 2013, 03:24:37 PM
Kawaii beam: Hey, better late than never! XD Welcome here and I am glad you like my writings~ Thanks!

darkacex99: Here you will have your long waited action ;) And thank you!

rndmnwierd: Hey, even the big, bad leader's have their "weak points" XD Thanks for the comment!

maikeatoot: Lol, Maybe it's better Reina wont chase our counselor panda. An takagaki children.... hmm, lets see XD Thanks!

Koei: Heey, and welcome to you too! :) Thank you, and I am happy that this fic has caught your attention XD

And to everyone, thank you again so much for your interest, comments and thank yous!! I really appreciate it~


I intended to post this chapter later, but once again I'm in so happy mood, that I just decided to post this today. The reason for my happy mood: I freaking got into university!!!!! OMG, I can't believe this!  :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic:

Anyways, to the fic!

The next chapter, here we go!


Chapter 34 – The darkness was on the move again



Thinking it would be a good idea to make her girlfriend calm down a bit more, Ai decided to take Risa to a small trip. The bean had been very irritated after their visit at the nurse's place and being afraid of sleeping alone for a week, the leader had decided to appease her. She took Risa to a small village, which was about ten kilometers away from the Castle.

The place did not have anything special, but because of it's calm and nature close atmosphere it was very popular destination. Also, Ai had been so long inside her own village's walls that she wanted to get outside for a while. Risa did not know much places nearby either, so it would also be a good trip for her, too.

The leader's plan had worked surprisingly well and Risa had calmed down in one day. They spent a lot of time just walking around, Ai showing places to the bean and telling her how things worked in here. The bean also ended up buying something for herself when the leader showed her one shop which was famous of it woodwork. A small woodwork, which had two horse's, both on their back feet and facing each others, was taken with the bean as they visited the shop.

“You bought it because it reminds you of Fuego, ne?”

Ai had questioned, which Risa had answered only by nodding her head. The two horses were like exact copies of the black stallion, which only the bean was able to control. That was almost the only shopping they did, Ai only buying one scabbard for herself, because she had broken her knife's shelter in a training few weeks earlier.

The rest of their five days trip, the two just walked around, relaxed and enjoyed each others company. At one point the leader also managed to break the kissing, cuddling and closure ban Risa had made. She had been very careful, so the bean would not make it any longer. Once when they had been walking in a forest, they had stopped to rest. Ai had offered her lap for Risa to sit down, which the younger one had surprisingly accepted.

When the leader had felt her lover to relax, she had gently started to massage her arms and shoulders. The bean had only mumbled something and moaned as knots were opened in her muscles. The massage had continued for a while, when Ai had decided to make a bit more bolt move. She had started to plant soft feather like kisses on Risa's neck and when she didn't get a punch for her actions, she had continued upwards, towards Risa's ear. When she had reached her goal, the younger girl had suddenly tensed up and spun around to face the leader.

Ai had only smiled sheepishly, for she had been in so big trouble. But instead of getting yelled or punched, Risa had just turned in her lap slowly, so that she was face to face with the other female. Ai had even backed away a bit, the two ending up to crawl few meters, Ai on her butt and Risa on her fours. The situation had ended, when the bean had suddenly grabbed the leader's collar and pulled her closer. They ended up kissing, the older one totally shocked by her lover's actions. But when Risa did not let go and just continued the kiss, Ai had been back in the game. In no time, she had flipped them over and they had been making out quite heavily on the ground.

After their little kissing session, they two had just llain under the forest trees and enjoyed each others company. The bean hadn't been able to control herself when she had been in Ai's lap and she had missed the kissing and such as much as Ai had. It was the final blow, when the leader had started to kiss her neck, kicking the bean's hormones on the move and ending the ban she had made. But she was quite happy, that she had done so and Ai was even happier. But this all Risa kept for herself, for she knew, that she would never hear the end of this from Ai and the only way to silence her eager lover was to threaten her with another ban and that the bean couldn't stand. So, the monkey had claimed her victory and Risa was sure, that she could feel that stupid grin on Ai's face, even though she could not see her lover.

So came their last day at the small village. The couple was staying overnight in a small cottage and were now sound asleep on the floor where they had a futon under them. Risa was comfortably nestled against Ai's chest, her back facing the leader, who had her arms protectively around the bean's waist and her head buried somewhere in Risa's long hair. They didn't have any kind of cover over them, for it was so warm. They were also only dressed in their ”underwear” that being black shorts and a white loose shirt with short sleeves.

The younger one got woken up by the light which tried to peek inside from behind the curtains. At first she only stirred, but when the light got too annoying, the bean decided to get up. But as she tried to do so, the arms around her waist immediately tightened and pulled the bean back against her lover's chest, the monkey murmuring something ”Where are you going”, against her neck.

“I am going to get up.” Risa said a bit lazily, for she was still quite sleepy. Stupid sun ray had woken her up and once that happened, the bean rarely could fall asleep again. So, the only choice was to get up. ”You should do that too.”

Risa tried to get up, but again, Ai pulled her down and this time she wrapped her leg around the younger girl's so she would not move anywhere. A curse escaped the bean's lips when she realized that she was trapped by her lover. Damn that monkey!

“You do realize we have nowhere to rush?”

Ai asked as she raised her upper body a bit at the same time, so she could see Risa's face. The bean turned her frowning face to a smiling one, when she saw the grumpy and sleepy leader looking at her with half closed eyes. She just couldn't resist that face of hers. Ai was always like this in the mornings. She hated waking up early and more than anything, she hated that annoying habit of her girlfriend who could not fall back asleep when she had been woken up once. During this half year, Ai had gotten so used to sleep with Risa, that she barely could sleep without the bean anymore.

“Yes, but I know I can't sleep anymore, so I am going to get up. Now, let me go.”

Being quiet for a while, Ai frowned and turned to look outside. The sun was quite low, which told her that it was indeed early morning. Turning slowly back to Risa, Ai started to get up but only to get on top of the bean. Interested, what the leader would do, Risa let her had her way and soon she found herself on her back, Ai straddling her waist and pinning her hands above her head. The leader was quiet for a while, before she slowly shook her head.

“Risa, Risa, Risa... Have you not learnt anything during this half yea