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Author Topic: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 48/ 10/31  (Read 18593 times)

Offline kuro_808

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 13/ 11/02
« Reply #40 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
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Offline darkacex99

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 13/ 11/02
« Reply #41 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
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 04:13:24 AM by darkacex99 »

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 13/ 11/02
« Reply #42 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.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
« Reply #43 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:


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline kuro_808

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
« Reply #44 on: February 16, 2013, 01:13:08 AM »
Poor Kamei, in trying to be childish Sayu got her back :lol:
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Offline darkacex99

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
« Reply #45 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 :?   
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 01:34:30 PM by darkacex99 »

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 14/ 15/02
« Reply #46 on: February 16, 2013, 05:59:32 AM »
Tanagaki ~! Bad comment, hard to you're on my phone lol

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
« Reply #47 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~


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline kuro_808

  • Konkon + HKT + JPH!P= <3 and Happiness
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    • Kurosawa87
Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
« Reply #48 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
Random Thought:

tumblr

R.I.P. Jab!  Dad/friend

Offline darkacex99

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
« Reply #49 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:

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2013, 08:27:30 AM »
 :shocked Breaking point! Oh god, now what?! :panic:

Offline alwaysYou

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 15/ 22/02
« Reply #51 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
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 02:09:39 PM by alwaysYou »

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
« Reply #52 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:


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline kuro_808

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
« Reply #53 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
Random Thought:

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R.I.P. Jab!  Dad/friend

Offline darkacex99

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
« Reply #54 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

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
« Reply #55 on: February 26, 2013, 03:19:11 AM »
Now, I think maybe things can get better. Right? Please? :cry:

Offline alwaysYou

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 16/ 25/02
« Reply #56 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  :(

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 17/ 02/03
« Reply #57 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.

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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!!


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline kuro_808

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    • Kurosawa87
Re: The mask of soul//chapter 17/ 02/03
« Reply #58 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
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R.I.P. Jab!  Dad/friend

Offline darkacex99

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 17/ 02/03
« Reply #59 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
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 03:20:34 AM by darkacex99 »

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