Chapter 2: The Fated Encounter
Kyouko walked towards the port. Even though people normally go to towns to search for information, Kyouko doubted that the kind of information she was looking for was available in this provincial area, so her best bet would be to go to a more populated island, or better, the Central Continent. Kyouko sighed. She knew that she was just making excuses. The truth is, she just didn’t want to see the people in the nearby towns, the people who recognized her and loved making fun of her. “If I walk faster and take it easy on the food, I should be able to survive till the next town,” she thought to herself.
Kyouko continued walking westward. The temple she lived in with her parents was on the eastern side of the island, and the port where the boats take passengers to leave the island was at the western shore, so it would take a while to go on foot. Kyouko considered using the wind to fly, but controlling the wind too much would exhaust her.
As she was walking past blooming sakura trees, she heard a pitiful mewing. She looked around and she saw an orange cat shivering nervously on a high branch. Kyouko waved her fan and directed the wind to gently bring the cat down. The moment its paws touched the ground, the cat ran towards the trees and disappeared. “Not a word of thanks? How rude,” she grumbled.
Kyouko continued walking, and at noon, she stopped and sat under a tree, eating an onigiri (triangular rice ball) and sakura mochi cakes her mother made. “I won’t be able to eat this again for who knows how long,” she thought while munching on her food.
“I wonder how long will it be till I reach the port? Where should I go first? Central Continent? Aragane Island? Kayanuhima Island? Or should I just push my luck and go out of the country? Aargh! Who am I kidding? I know nothing outside of this island, and if my money runs out before I meet any of those seven people I’m doomed… I’ll just nap for now…”
Seeing Kyouko lying down and closing her eyes, the orange cat came out of its hiding. Slowly it approached Kyouko and stared at her ears. When it came closer and sniffed Kyouko’s ears, right away the tickled feeling aroused her. The cat was frightened and tried to run away, but Kyouko used the wind to push it back.
“It’s ok, I won’t hurt you. Look, we have the same ears,” Kyouko grinned at the cat. She then took the lid of her bento box, and poured some milk into it, which the cat licked delightedly. Kyouko watched it finish the milk in a flash and poured some more, “You should come with me, Toru-chan.” The cat looked up at Kyouko and mewed as if asking, “Is that my name?” Kyouko laughed and patted it gently, “Yes, that’s your name. Nice to meet you, Toru-chan…”
“You actually understand cat language?”
Kyouko looked up in surprise, “Who’s there!?”
She heard the sound of a person jumping through the wind, but didn’t turn around fast enough to see anyone.
Suddenly, a dark blue haired guy jumped down from the trees behind her. Kyouko pulled out both her fans and stood in a defensive stance while Toru ran and hid behind a tree, peeking nervously.
Kyouko stared hard at this guy. He seemed to be about twenty. He had in his hand a lance with a complicated-looking blade at its end, and two golden piercings on his left ear. With deep enchanting blue eyes, holding a very unique lance, and sakura petals raining around him, he did look like a prince that had jumped out of fairy tales Kyouko read when she was a kid. Kyouko was mesmerized for a moment, but quickly snapped out of it. A prince charming is supposed to be polite and courteous, whereas this guy’s smirking face was full of arrogance and mischief.
“Who are you? You don’t look like you’re from around here,” Kyouko asked suspiciously.
“Same goes to you. I didn’t know girls have cat ears on Sakura Island, or anywhere else really,” he said coolly.
Kyouko glared angrily at him, but that guy didn’t seem bothered by it. A split second later, that guy dashed to Kyouko’s side and whispered as he passed, “Anger will ruin your cute face.” Kyouko jumped away from him and moved one fan in a horizontal line.
“Wind Slicer!” she yelled.
At once, a thin, blade like shadow appeared from the line Kyouko drew and dashed towards the guy, who dodged right away. The Wind Slicer hit the tree behind him and left a pretty deep scar.
“Whoa, interesting weapons you got there. I’ve never seen someone use fans in combat. You’re pretty rude, attacking an innocent stranger.”
“S-sorry! Are you ok?”
At once that guy put his hand on his shoulder and scrunched his face.
“I think I’m seriously hurt. Kiss me and my wounds will heal,” he moaned and then smiled teasingly.
Kyouko’s cheeks were red with anger and embarrassment. “Very funny! A person that can wave a heavy lance and move so fast should be able to dodge that little attack effortlessly. It’s your fault for sneaking up on me like that! Thank goodness I used only ten percent of my power for that strike. If I used any more both you and that tree would’ve been cut in half.”
“Whew… Pretty confident, aren’t you? Tsk, girls should be dainty, polite, and elegant.”
“Well sorry for not being dainty, polite, nor elegant. I’d rather not be anything like that if it means I can’t kick the butts of jerks like you.”
“Ok, ok, I’m sorry. Will you relax already? You don’t have to keep that combat stance, I don’t fight girls.”
“I’ll relax if you leave.”
“Alright, I’ll leave if you tell me your name.”
“I don’t give my name to strangers.”
“My name is Naomizu Harufumi; people usually call me Haru. I’m just a plain old wanderer. There, now we’re not strangers,” Haru said with a smile, not a taunting one this time.
Kyouko hesitated for a moment, and then she replied slowly, “Sawakaze… Kyouko…”
“Sawakaze… Your name means refreshing breeze, but you’re more like a destroying tornado…”
“I told you my name, now leave!”
“Fine, fine… See you around,” Haru said coolly while turning around and lightly waving his hand.
“I’d rather not!” Kyouko yelled after him, then she picked up her things and looked around, “Honestly! What’s with him? Toru-chan, come out and let’s go. The bad guy’s gone now!”
Toru came out of its hiding cautiously, then ran towards Kyouko and looked up fondly at her, as if to say, “I’ll be happy to come with you!”
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