Kim looked down at her hands, filthy dirty and rubbed raw. Her once manicured and painted nails were broken, bloodied, and crusted with grime. The unforgiving sun had scorched her to punishing levels. She could feel the angry redness cloying at the back of her neck. She was on the edge of dehydration, with only the last dregs of her water left. Her face was dry with salty deposits where the sweat had settled and dried on her sunburnt cheekbones. But she would not stop. She would never stop.
“Is that all you have girl?” Master Roku said slamming his staff on the ground. “Because if it is we are not gonna win this fight. And your family and its honor will be lost!”
She turned to him, anger flashing in her eyes. But within a split second, she had bitten down her rage. Master Roku knew that her family was the one thing she would gladly fight and die for, and Kim knew that he was just testing her with this goading, to see how she would react to the mind games. So she merely gave him a curt, respectful nod, and continued.
Master Roku waved his hand making a small army of skeleton pop up from the ground around her like they were spring daisies!
“Attack!” He commanded them using his magic to give them weapons.
Kim launched into a forward roll, underneath the swing of the first skeleton’s mace. She picked up the broadsword as she got up and launched a spinning lunge into the creature’s chest … and it passed harmlessly between its empty ribs. She paused for the briefest moment, shocked and dismayed, and it was almost fatal as the skeleton moved to attack again. But she skipped athletically aside to evade the blow, and countered with one of her own. This time she swung for the creature’s head, and its skull shattered on impact, and there was a clattering noise as one by one each bone fell to the ground. But she had no time to admire her work because the others were almost upon her.
Master Roku watch Kim take on her enemies one by one. She moved in a fluid motion, but he wasn’t convinced she could handle going up against Kia The Trouble. Kia had already burn most of Japan to the ground and his magic was growing stronger everyday. They didn’t have to really train. What Master Roku needed was a warrior not a princess.
“Enough!” yelled Master Roku. “Save your strength now girl, there are bigger challenges ahead.”
He was not convinced that she was ready to face Kia The Trouble, but she was the best chance they had. He himself was too old now to fight such a fierce warrior, and he’d lost his best men on the battlefields of Kiyagi-Shan. Kim was the best of the rest; she was destined to be a fine leader and a fearsome warrior one day. If she lived long enough. His scouts had told him that Kia and his forces were marching towards them and would arrive the very next day.
His scouts were wrong. The searing heat and the billow of the smoke revealed that they were already here.
Kim bent forward trying to get hair into her lungs. Her heart was slamming into her rib cage. She couldn’t let her family down. Her friends teased her calling her Mulan, because her training. This was no fucking Disney movie and no man was going to come help save her family and her country. This was life or death.
Master Roku summoned up all of his magical power. He couldn’t fight anymore, but he could at least nullify Kia’s magic, for a short time and at the cost of his own life, to turn it into a straight fight. He yelled to Kim “This is your chance now. It’s just you against him!”
Just me against him, Kim thought with a wry smile, looking at the man-beast before her, at least double her size and with the dried hearts of his enemies hanging from his belt. She swallowed hard, then moved in to face her destiny.
Kia laughed as him and Kim appeared in stadium that had been abandoned for years.
“This is what you found to defeat me? A little girl? Roku I knew you were going senile, but her. Please give me someone worthy to kill! She isn’t much other than my shoes.”
His laughter made Kim’s eyes flare with rage.
She closed her eyes and put her hands together summoning all her energy she started moving her hands in a circle motion moving the air around her. A red spark of light came forming a fire ball so large it made Kia step back.
Ignited by rage and sudden fear, all of Kia’s magical power came surging to the fore. And that’s when he realized that, even as the old man’s life force ebbed away, Master Roku’s ancient magic was holding his own in check. He was defenseless.
The fireball struck him full in the chest, and the last thought to go through his dying mind was the poetic justice that the fire warrior had been defeated in such a way.
Stunned by the loss of their leader, Kia’s forces retreated in disarray. Kim savoured her moment of triumph, but was yet to learn of its heartbreaking cost: the loss of her beloved mentor.
She vowed to honor him, and make his spirit proud, forever.