• Mt. Kaki, Day 40 of the Year of the Euphoria of the Bentri Calendar

    “Come along Miss Aida. Grandmaster Ransi is waiting for you.” The hurried and rushing porter said to the lagging and sleepy girl following behind me.
    “Aida isn’t my family name.” She quietly said as she kept her face down.
    “Oh come on Kimi Grandmaster won’t let you stay here if you aren’t on time. Any way your tired because you didn’t sleep on the train like I told you to.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Just come on…” We ran down the stairs to a small corridor painted red. At the very end was door that dark blue paint created a vibrant change in color hues.
    I walked in the door with Kimi close on my heels. “Grandmaster” I said as I gave a quick formal bow in recognition of his authority.
    “You’re late by thirty-seven seconds…”wheezed the elderly man sitting in a plush armchair. The room was painted in a painted in various degrees of the blood red that his Karin wore. The room was stuffy with incredible amounts of junk just lying in every available spot. There wasn't even a path from the door to the grandmaster. But no where in the room was any type of time keeping device, amid all of the scrolls, parchment, maps, fabrics, weapons, stones and tools of all kinds. “I’ve been waiting to meet you Miss Kimi. I’ve heard a lot about you. You’re the leader of a dieing clan: the Yon, you’re alone with no family, and you’ve done something few grown men could do. Do you know what that is?” Kimi dark eyes were hide by her even darker hair that clouded over her. She hesitantly shook her head, as if not knowing whether what answer would make her look foolish.
    “Ha… You really don’t know do you? You killed one of the most rare and most dangerous animals of this world and possibly many others. You were able to kill a forest Kelsher. That’s a huge accomplishment.”
    * * * * * * * * * *
    “ Kelsher are the most powerful creatures on this planet. Moreover, there are three basic kinds: water, cave or mountain, and the most dreaded of all, the forest. Each is deadly in it’s own way but luckily for the Karin, whose job is to stop the monsters from hurting people, there is a way to figure out where they will strike.”
    “ There are certain people in this world who are blessed with extraordinary sense of nature and the world of people around them. These people’s souls are the clearest of all colors when seen by those who can see them. These are the people whom the Kelsher go after. A forest could eat two hundred thousand people and still be hungry while just eating one of the extraordinary people would stat its appetite for years.”
    “Due to this these people are always in constant danger and if allowed to live in highly populated areas it could prove deadly for millions of people. Most, when discovered, are trained here to protect themselves and others around them. Many even stay and become Karin, especially ones like you with nowhere to go or those wanting to prove themselves. Other Karin is the children of powerful political leaders and those with influence.”
    “What I’m willing to offer you, Kimi, is the chance to be trained a Karin at the academy where all of the order is trained. Last year preliminaries were held for the top fifty spots. Next month that fifty will be dwindled down to the twenty-seven whom will be admitted into the academy. You have a chance to join the fifty other potential students in the chance to go to the academy. So do you what do you want a chance to fight the Kelsher?”
    “Yes” Kimi said with the quiet determination and looked up and I saw the fire in her fiercely scary, amber eyes.
    * * * * * * * * * *
    Troy inched closer to Negi and nudged him with the crook of his elbow, whispering “Psst who’s that?” Negi turned his head to see whom his companion was speaking of. He and Troy had met in the prelims a few months ago and had bonded quickly. Both were sons of powerful people and yearned for the respect of they’re parents, but the difference between them was that Negi was one of those people who was close to nature, a ‘special’, while Troy was not.
    His eyes fell on a small long dark haired girl wearing a bright yellow headband. She was very small, too small to be a rival for a position in the academy. She was probably a servant girl or maybe the relative of Karin who came to visit and got lost in the many corridors of dormitories that the housed himself, Troy and all of the many other students getting ready to get into the academy.
    Troy was a youngling, about eleven, and his short blond hair was so close to white he almost looked as if he had no hair against his pale skin. He was large built, but not very tall, and was a natural with a battle-ax and a mace. Troy was strong but not the smartest. The son of a prominent general in Bentri it was always expected for Troy to be doing something that involved fighting.
    If a stranger pair of friends could have existed it was this pair. Negi was tall but slim and very flexible. At eleven, he had already received a black belt in the only Naman martial arts, Aikido and was an expert with weapons of Naman. Negi was also incredibly intelligent. He could speak eloquently about any subject to anyone for hours on end and was hard to intimidate. He was best with small curved swords, shrunken, and a bow and arrow. Negi kept his own past very secret, not even Troy knew much more than that Negi’s parents were very powerful in Naman.
    “What are you doing here?” he asked leaning down to at her. She looked down at the floor and mumbled something almost as if to her shoes. She was wearing a plain dress, yellow with no insignia or any thing to set it apart from the ordinary dress of the servants. “Say again?” Negi asked with a grin.
    “I’m… looking for…for room number 51…Grandmaster says…says that ...it...it is my…my room…I’m in the…contest to get…into…the academy…Can…can …you help…. me find…my…my…room?” She was saying with her head still facing her feet.
    “Name’s Negi. This is Troy. Now what are you doing here? This isn’t a place for kids. Everyone is this building is trying and is willing to do anything to anyone in order to become one of the next Karin. A little girl like you won’t survive ‘til the morning in a place like this.” Negi said shaking his head. What in Goddess, was Grandmaster doing letting a little kid like this girl be allowed to be in such a dangerous and competitive competition?
    “I myself,” said Troy, “Was nearly robbed this morning by one of the other contestants. A lot of the students here have nowhere else to go if they don’t pass. Just go back to your family kid. Try again in four years, you’ll be about eleven or ten by then right?”
    “Yes…I’d be eleven by then… but I don’t…have a family to go back to... It’s this or…I don’t…what will happen… to me…” She said still looking at her feet. “Could you just… please… tell me where my room… is?”
    “Yeah, yeah kid…um… just tell us about as we take you there.” Said Negi with a shrug of his shoulders to Troy.
    “My…name is Kimi…”she said as they began to walk, “I’m from the Yon clan”
    “Yon clan? ... I’ve never heard of a Yon clan in Naman. So, are from Romania? They have clans too, but no other territory does and isn’t secretive about it. Well at least none with any Karin from it.” Negi said pondering over his knowledge of his home country, Naman.
    “No…I’m from Tromania…”Kimi said with a same small voice a remittent of a lisp.
    “What a Trom! There is only two other Troms in the whole order of Karin! And there’s never ever been a single female Trom in the order! Most Trom’s are too conceited to even bother joining.” Troy said as he looked at distaste at the small girl. She’s just doing this for glory he thought, the brat!
    “That’s not totally true. Most Trom’s don’t even know about the Karin and Kelshers ‘cuz of how few there are over there. Most of Trom is covered in large forested regions that are remote and hard to get to. Even through Tromania is the largest territory it only has three Karin scheduled on it. Few Kelshers can even live there, let alone the few humans. The humans there are a lot stronger than most.” Negi started to say and continued on his speech about the history between Naman and Tromania until they reached Kimi’s door.
    “See ya Kimi. Maybe you’ll survive to the morning.” Troy said and walked away with Negi who bid her a fond farewell.
    * * * * * * * * * *
    The next morning the Grandmaster stood in front of the large assembly of the fifty-one students hoping to become the next generation of Karin. All were tall, strong, well trained and ambitious; except one. Little Kimi was standing off to the side of the center where all of the students stood. He also noticed that Iruka was watching her to make sure that she wasn’t noticed too much, but already grumblings of complaint were whispered about the small girl in yellow who’d been allowed in a special treatment.
    He cleared his voice and began, “Hello all of my current Karin and some of my soon to be Karin. Today marks the beginning of the tests to see which of you will be allowed to attend the academy. Today tests of science and math will be undergoing. Tomorrow tests of strength and after that there will tests of your emotions and self-control. The top twenty-seven collective scores of all of the tests will be admitted to the academy and nine of those can become the new generation of Karin. I wish good luck to all of you but I know that there will only be a few of you that will ever return to this hall as full Karin. Let us begin the first stages of the testing!”

    Mt. Kaki Green houses, Day 41 of the Year of Euphoria of the Bentri Calendar

    “Okay my name is Palo-sensei to you students. Before we begin everyone has to drink the entire contents of one of the cups on the table. If you don’t you’re automatically disqualified. Drink up everybody!” Palo said grinning like a schoolboy. After everyone drained their cups he led them into the green house where at each desk, one per contestant, was a vial full of a clear liquid, three small flasks, some tongs, and a spoon.
    “Okay so one desk per person. Come on sit down already hurry up. Okay you have exactly one hour from now to complete this task: I’ve just poisoned every single one of you. In the vial is the same amount each of you has drunk. If at the end of the hour you cannot produce an antidote for your self I’ll give both the antidote and a zero for this test. If you get part of the antidote done before time’s out I give you partial credit, as much as needed to demonstrate your knowledge of chemistry, botany and some basics physics. If you can find an antidote you live and get a hundred. Simple? Begin.” Sensei Palo said with a large grin. “Any plants you may need will be in this room, I can guarantee you that at least.”
    Crap, Negi thought to him self, all of those botany brats are going to be great at this. I don’t know any thing about medicine, or chemistry, or botany. At least I know that Troy won’t do any better.
    Troy so frustrated already had already broken one of his vials in his long hands and lost half of the liquid that was the poison.
    Negi looked behind him and saw the little Kimi brat sitting there pour the poison into the three different vials and then heating them. Each vial turned a different color: the first was purple, the second yellow and the last a vibrant red.
    “Yuma mea long wayi resi. Noki swhi listl mkia noto mela motre wer yio.” Kimi mumbled to her self. At least that was what it sounded like to Negi. The small girl’s hair was pushed out of her face and her eyes narrowed as she examined and noted the vials. Negi looked around, every one else looked like him: confused. Except for Kimi whose dark eyes remained totally focused on the vials that as the fire grew hotter they bubbled and bubbled going over the top when at which Kimi placed a small leaf in each one.
    The bubbling stopped and all of the vials turned a dark shade of blue, although all at different times. The yellow was first and then the red and at last the purple. Kimi took all the vials and dumped in the small waterfall in the corner and then proceeded to wash them out.
    Negi completely with out an idea of what to do decided to just copy Kimi. She at least looked like she knew what she was doing, which was more than he could say about the rest of his classmates. He heated the poison until it bubbled over but then he realized that he didn’t know what leaves Kimi had used in the vials.
    Kimi grabbed a small basket as if she was just out for a day’s shopping trips. She grabbed leaves twigs and grasses out of the green house. Negi made a map and wrote what she got from each spot. Negi tried to remember what they looked like. They had been small and in a round shape with only the smallest tip of a point at each end. The leaves had been an unusual color through. They had been a bright yellow. Suddenly Kimi came over and “dropped” three small leaves on his desk, the same kind of leaves she had used. He watched her as she waltzed back to her seat but she never even turned around to him.
    Kimi filled her vials with water and then placed a variety of different leaves, twigs and grasses into each one and proceeded to boil them on at a time. After that she place one spoonful of each of the vials contents in to the last vial. She placed her thumb over the vial’s opening and then proceeded to shake the vial vigorously until the mixture until it turned a deep shade of green. Kimi smiled and carefully began to heat the mixture until it turned light green.
    Negi turned back to his own vials and added the leaves then he washed his out just like his Kimi had done. He added the same leaves and did everything Kimi had done.
    Kimi sat there, at her desk behind him holding the vial of the antidote she had created and the spoon.
    “Time’s up! I’m coming around to grade you and if you do one more thing you’ll get an automatic zero and I promise you that!” Palo sensei said as he walked around the room with a chipboard clipboard in his hands. He examined everyone’s work with occasional comments like, “Disappointing”, “Clever”, “Will you brats ever learn to pay attention”, “Even a ten is better then a zero so don’t be disappointed”. But as he walked he never told anyone his or her scores. No one knew what he or she had gotten so far; well excluding the kid who he told even a ten is better than a zero.
    When he finally got to Negi he looked at Negi’s half lukewarm mixture jammed full of grasses and leaves that hadn’t boiled yet. Raising an eyebrow the old man with his wrinkled skin and gray, spotted hair said, “Not bad boy. Not bad at all you’ve got the best male score so far. Most boys know nothing about botany or poisons. The ten scores so far are all girls but your number eleven and you’re the only boy in the top twenty.”
    Damn girls, Troy thought to him self, and when did Negi get so practical smart. He’s only been book smart before this. I wonder how I did. Horrible I bet. Ugh if I don’t pass this dad will kill me. Damn…
    Kimi was the last person to be graded. The sensei looked at the small girl whose hair was already covering her face again and said, “ Are you confident enough to drink your own antidote?”
    “Y-Yes…” Kimi said.
    “Then please do show us how well your antidote works. Go on drink it.” Palo said with a grin.
    Kimi drank it and looked up at the old man and suddenly cracked a grin.
    “Boys and girls I think that all of you have some learning to do because this little girl has the best score of the whole class in here. She is the only person to fully create the antidote and the hundred of the class. Good job kid…” Palo-sensei said with a huge grin easily showing how much he was enjoying making fun of the other students.
    “Okay so here is everyone else’s scores: Zero’s, couples of these, go to… scores between one and twenty-five, most of you guys are in here: Troy… Twenty-five to ninety, only six of these, go to… Negi… and the only thing above go to the little princess here with an hundred.” Okay you anti-botanists get out of my greenhouse! The antidote is on that table outside.”
    The old man shooed all of them out of the green house with the waving of him arms.
    “Hey wait. Why do you call the little girl princess?” Negi and Troy asked. Both were still curious about the little girl who had beat both of them at the first test.
    “Two reasons boys. One she’s the heir to a clan in Tromania, one that used to be the clan of the leader of the first Karin such as Lord Ramie, the first Karin. Of course back then the territories didn’t exist. There was no government only the Karin and the clans. And the second reason I call her princess because her mother was a very accomplished healer and I should know because I trained her mother when I was young.” Palo said with a hint of praise for his young, late protégé, “She had so much talent, it’s a shame that she died so young. She was also popular with many of the young Karin too…”
    Palo-sensei continued to mumble on and on about Kimi’s mother and began to pick up the greenhouse as Negi and Troy left whispering to one another.
    “She’s a clan leader! That’s why that Kimi kid is getting all of this special attention! Especially because it’s Lord Ramie’s old clan!” Troy whispered.
    “Yes, but he also said that her mother was dead. So, who arranged for her testing? Any way the Yon Clan has become incredibly small and powerless in recent years with less than four hundred thousand members in all. That's really small for a major clan. My clan has nearly six hundred thousand and we’re just average.” Negi interjected, “I think that we need more information before we can do anything about Kimi’s placement in the trials. A lot of people are annoyed about it but we have to wait before we do anything.”
    “Fine, but I don’t like it.” Troy pouted as they entered the cafeteria for lunch.
    * * * * * * * * * *
    Troy leaned forward on the door straining to hear the teachers in the other room. He had decided to find out more info for Negi so that he could finally get that brat, Kimi-something, out of the trials and back to doing whatever girls do anyway. He strained hard against the door hoping to hear something either about the test or about the brat.
    “I feel quite sorry for the girl,” an unknown Karin said, “Imagine losing your family, and your everyday life all in one failed swoop just because the hero her people were waiting for decided to take the longer route instead of the shorter. If you had done that, Iruka-san, that little girl would be at home safe and sound with her family and clan.”
    “I know. I know. It’s my entire fault okay. But that’s the reason that’s she’s allowed to be in the trials.” Presumably this Karin, Iruka or whatever his name was, said, “She’ll probably make it through and if she doesn’t she can always try again in four years.”
    “Are the rumors true Iruka?” another Karin asked.
    “Which ones?” Iruka inquired.
    “All of them. Did she really finish the antidote that Palo set out; nobody has ever done that before. He’s been doing that botany test since before I was born. Did that girl truly kill a forest Kelsher?” the Karin asked with rapid succession in the questions, “Did she truly own a sword of great caliber within her home? Is she as good as a healer as her mother? And on the subject of her parents is-“
    Iruka cut him off, “Yes to all but the last, which I refuse to answer as I myself am not quite sure of the answer to the question that I know you will answer. And I already know what your question is going to be.”
    Troy breathed slowly. Kimi had already killed the fiercest of all creatures in this world, a forest? Her mother really was dead then and she’s allowed her because it’s a Karin’s fault that her life has been destroyed?
    It was almost too much to believe. That little kid couldn’t be that strong, and to own a sword? Swords were expensive. Not even all Karin could have them. If a Karin wanted a sword they usually had to pay for part of it themselves, the order only paid fully for axes, maces, shrunken, spears or bow and arrows.
    Troy leaned in more and tried to see if anything else might be said.
    “But hasn’t it been heard that she might have an older brother somewhere in the western territories?” another voice among the many asked.
    A brother? Troy had never heard of any brother. Well actually Troy had never heard of any family of the little kid. He quickly glanced around to see if anyone was coming near the door to one of the many Karin lounges that were all out of bounds to the young students of the trials.
    “Kimi’s mentioned him once or twice but nobody is sure about him being alive either. And apparently he wasn’t really older, just a couple minutes. They were twins. Kimi says that when the Karin attacked he had ran to get help, as he was faster than her, and went into the Forest. In Trom if you run blind into a the Forest, as locals call it, your as good as dead. I guess nobody has ever survived.” Iruka said with his quiet, but strong voice. “Isn’t that right Nokia?”
    “Yep but I grew up in a city so it’s different,” Nokia, a well known Trom in the Karin said, “ Hey I have to leave. See ya later.”
    Troy realizing what that meant ran to the corner just before the door opened with the tall ruddy Nokia waving to the rest of the rooms inhabitants.
    Troy thinking that he was done spying for the day ran to tell Negi, the only person who he believed that he could trust in this place where in the case of thirty minutes everything you think can be changed, of all that he had learned of the now less mysterious girl Kimimi-Aida.
    Running he felt a small knot growing in this stomach. Processing everything that he had heard, whose life was truly worse? Her life of death and hopelessness or his life with disappointed parents, probably her. Feeling guilty, he blocked out the thoughts and thought of how happy Negi would be when he shared what he had learned.

    Mt. Kaki Courtyard, Day 42 of the Year of Euphoria of the Bentri Calendar

    “Welcome to the second day of testing for the academy. Now some of you seem to believe that the academy is a school only for Karin-in-training. That is wrong! The academy is the training place of politicians, warriors and princes and princesses. Karin training is only one of the different groups that learn there.” Grandmaster said with a faint smile, “So but today is our strength test and to tell us more about it is sensei Ronald.”
    Ronald was a tall red headed young man in his early twenties. His quick smiled shone as he began, “Okay so I’m in charge of weaponry here at Mt. Kaki so I’ll be evaluating your strength and agility with your favorite weapons of choice. If you brought weapons with you to Mt. Kaki go get and if not go grab some from the storehouse over there. Be back here in one hour for the evaluation.”
    Negi ran to his room where under his mattress he had hidden a long, thin, curved sword with a two handed handle. It had been a gift from his parents just before going to the primary trials. Negi smiled to himself carefully thinking that even his parents could be semi-decent when they felt like. But unfortunately normally Negi couldn’t count on anything else nice coming from his parents for the next couple years.
    For Troy it was a very different case. His father believing that men should provide for themselves from a young age had not given him anything except a quick formal salute before leaving. He walked through shelves of weapons in the storeroom. When he came to his favorites, the battles-axes, he saw that most had chipped blades, broken handles or even cracked metal. He shifted through the many of them and finally found one with not, many chips, a strong handle and gleaming metal. He brought it forward and before the trials were to begin he began to clean it.
    An hour later Ronald called the group of either incredibly excited or looking sick students to order with a shrill whistle piercing the noontime silence.
    “Okay so for this trial we’ll just be doing some basic fighting. Everyone will fight one other contestant here in the courtyard. Depending on how well you fight and on how long the match lasts you’ll be given a score between one and ten by our seven judges. The average of the scores will be your primary score. Then multiply your primary score by ten to get the score that goes to deciding who goes to the academy. Therefore, will everyone on this side of the courtyard please write your name on one of these slips of paper and place it in the hat. Come on this won’t hurt… much…” Ronald said with the same exact grin that Palo had before poisoning them.
    Negi and Troy were both part of the group that would put their names into the hat. Troy like the majority of the students dived right into the mob of other children and began to sign his name. Negi stood back waiting for the crowd to thin. When almost everyone else was gone from the table Negi went up to sign his name. However, he tripped on the way there.
    Getting up amid the laughter he looked over to see what he had tripped over and to his surprise it was a long, thin, slightly curved package wrapped in paper and twine. Next to, it was the small girl Kimimi-Aida carefully signing her name with one of the brushes. She was wearing traditional Trom wear of a white robe and white kimono pants under a colorful over robe that was elegant and made of blue-green, Negi thought it was jade colored, dyed silk. It was well known that if the passive Troms ever went to battle that they all wore garments similar to this. Kimi carefully picked up her sword, avoiding Negi’s eyes and walked back into the crowd of students.
    Negi was surprised to see her here through. He and Troy had heard rumors that one of the younger contestants had dropped out wanting to go back to their home territory. Most people, including Negi and Troy had assumed that it had been Kimi, but obviously, that couldn’t be true.
    The remaining students all picked a single scrap and paired up with their assigned buddies for the next trial. Negi had been paired with a short, slightly stooped dark haired, girl about eleven or twelve. She was carrying a longbow and two-dozen arrows. Looking at her, he realized his best bet was to stay as close as possible. Troy had been paired with a tall, buff, and dark boy whose large body and face was as big as many as the teachers. He was wielding a long chain whip with a metal ball on the end that was covered in spikes. This’ll be a real fight Troy thought with a slight grin.
    “Hey teach! My slip doesn’t have a name on it! Just a bunch of scribbles!” A large, blonde boy of similar build to Troy said. He was carrying a large mace in both hands and his long hair was tied into a ponytail.
    “Damn… That’s Benjamin, bugger. His dad works for mine. I thought he was kicked out in the preliminaries.” Troy whispered into Negi’s ears.
    “Hmm… let me see this…” Ronald said examining the slip of the paper and slowly his expression changed from puzzled to mad, “Okay so is this someone’s idea of a joke! These scribbles aren’t writing. So who doesn’t have a buddy? Ah you girl? So what’s with your excuse for making a mockery of my trial?” Ronald had grabbed small Kimi by the arm and held her close as he asked her the questions.
    “But…that’s…my name…it’s…its in Tromainian…I can’t…can’t write in…in Bentri like…everybody else…” Kimi said with such a pale wavering voice her small face staring down when she finally raised her face she looked incredibly unconcerned, it was the same face for anger, happiness and sadness with this girl.
    “Hey lay off her Ron…She’s just a kid. Come on she can barely speak Bentri, let alone write it. And at the moment she’s still better than most of the Troms cuz most of them can’t even write in Trom.” One of the judges from the table said with an exasperated tone. Troy seeing him and hearing his voice realized that he must be Iruka.
    Nudging Negi he whispered, “ He that’s the Iruka dude I heard talking about Kimi.”
    “You sure?”
    “Fine miss Kimi…you’re against Benjamin here and Benjamin don’t feel the need to go easy on her; go full force. You two will be the big grand finale.” Ronald said laughing as he finished. Negi could just tell that he was imaging Kimi’s rapid defeat.
    “Now let’s begin the fights!”
    * * * * * * * * * *
    Troy moved quickly to the side as the chain swished past him. He ran in towards his opponent, Douglas or Doug as he was called, swung his ax with all the strength he could manage. Douglas took the hit full on in the face but was able to get back up again.
    “Wanna surrender now punk?” Troy said sneering against his rival. He knew that if he couldn’t get him to forfeit soon than this match would be over for both of them. Douglas had broken on of his arms and probably a couple of ribs when the blunt edge of the axe hit him and Troy was faring no better. He was battered bruised and covered in contusions. Troy was light and dizzy headed and was afraid that if he was knocked out than that he would fall asleep and never wake up again. So he kept fighting.
    “Not yet wimp! I’m just gettin’ started!”
    Carefully he ran back away from his adversary and than just as he had hoped Douglas would do Douglas clicked his whip and it shot at him. The tip was heading toward his chest at angle ducked just a second before it would have hit him. Then he began to run towards his opponent.
    “Not so fast kid. Look behind you.” Douglas said shaking his head. Unable to resist, Troy shot his head around to see that the end of the whip had hit a wall and bounced of and came right back off towards Troy! He jumped to avoid the spiked ball at the end but Douglas came in with an uppercut to the jaw while he was jumping. But then something Douglas hadn’t predicted happened.
    His own spiked ball whip came and hit him in the mouth. He lay on the ground and fainted. Seconds later Troy joined him.
    “Winner: Troy Jameson. Points awarded to winner: 87
    Points awarded to the, Douglas Elliotson loser: 81.” The clerk of the judges proclaimed after both combatants were aroused. “Next up is Negi of the Hara Clan is against Marko of the Eri Clan.” Negi and the tall, lanky girl, Marko, stood at fighting stances in the courtyard. “Begin!”
    Marko quickly immediately drew an arrow and cocked it. She let it fire but Negi was able to dodge it barely. Well he hadn’t escaped it entirely. The girl was good and had grazed his cheek. A small thin trickle of blood began to go down his cheek but Negi ignored it and ran at Marko as she began to c**k another arrow. Just before she was able to fire, it through he sliced the string of her bow.
    Looking outraged Marko grabbed an arrow and plunged it right into Negi’s stomach. Negi blanching from the pain grabbed his sword and thrust it into the leg of the girl standing stunned at what she had done. Negi jumped away and took the arrow out of his leg. Blood trickled out but instead of focusing on the pain, he focused on the prized. Throwing the arrow with all of his might Negi hit the girl, Marko square in the stomach, outraged she brang a knife from inside her sleeve out.
    Having two weapons, excluding paired weapons like brass knuckles and bows and arrows, is illegal. Bringing the knife to Negi’s throat, she saw the horror inside herself.
    She was not even paying attention to what was going on. She brang the knife into Negi’s stomach as hard as she physically could. Negi coughed in pain and blood poured out. He brang his sword up to her neck and forced her to stop the fighting or be killed by any movement. Sensei Ronald, far away in the back round, called out that the match was now at an end.
    “Winner by disqualification: Negi of Hara with a point score of 81. Loser by disqualification: Marko of the Eri with a point score of 76.” Suddenly Negi felt a great clouding of his sight and sound senses. He felt himself falling and sinking into the cool embrace of sleep. He grinned in his sleep of his win.
    Shouts filled the air. The last paramedic team was already working and yelling that the new patient would have to wait for about thirty minutes until they would get to him.
    “He’ll be dead by then!” many of the Karin yelled!
    Suddenly to the amazement of the many people there the small girl, Kimi-Aida, or something like that, walked toward the boy knelt down and took off the top robe that she was wearing and tore it into strips using her teeth. She bandaged him and asked one of the Karin, “Please… go get Palo-sensei and…. tell him that…. a student is injured…. I want you to please… go get essence of wormwood, …the leaves of Kirundi tree, and…. a seed from a… daffodil, and… the powder of the… Matagorda roots. But please hurry I need them as fast as you can get them, Thank you …for honoring…. me with your… time.”
    The man ran quickly towards the greenhouses and Kimi continued to just bandage up the boy. She placed his head in her lap and used the ingredients that she asked for. When done Negi was stable and the medic units took him to the hospital ward to spend the night and heal. When they left Kimi took the essence of wormwood that she had not used took some of the hot water from the medics and a cup. Placing the essence she began to drink the mixture of the wormwood and the hot water.
    Suddenly laughter erupted from some of the teachers and pupils and those who had worked in Trom because they knew that it was a common practice for the patients to bring tea with them to healer’s homes, for after what ever they needed was done and the price was set the healer would usually enjoy a cup of tea. Apparently the young miss Kimi felt the same way.
    As the matches went on less and less people were left to fight. Finally it was Benjamin and Kimi’s turn to fight for their chance to get into the academy and become a Karin.
    “Fighters: Benjamin Thomason and Kimimi-Aida of the Yon Clan.” Kimi bowed to the grandmaster, judges, and the clerk and than Benjamin. She held her long package across her back held on by a thick strand of leather. Benjamin wielding his mace ran at her the moment the whistle blew. Kimi saw it coming but did not move. Just until the mace was three inches from her face she moved to the side of the large blonde boy. A lot of the apprentices gasped what she had just done looked impossible, it was so fast. She ran and climbed into closest tree.
    “Get out of the tree, you little b***h!” The boy taunted her with a big sneer.
    Kimi bowed her head and unwrapped the package with slow certainty. She threw the twine and paper on the ground and held the contents of the package, a long, blued, sword inscribed with writings of another time and place, across her face. She began whispering to herself and then proclaimed to the winds “Heim ytil otjk jlie liljc qwdr wedq vmnc zxldi lqyl htto lkam lilnm plpli lewd. Thel lkif l okls lays kdok wpdl qoi trea tie. Lkadir lidfk. Airla”
    One of the boys near Negi and Troy who had both been let out to see this match alone whispered to them, “She said, ‘Spirits of the Yon and of any and all of my ancestors guide this weapon of your making and allow me to join the ranks of the soldiers here and honor you. The future Yons and any others whom bear our name without knowing, and I thank you for your audience. Oh yeah that last word can’t be translated through. It must be tribal. My name is Hirkura. I’m a Naman but I live very close to the capital city over in Trom.”
    Negi didn’t answer but Troy grunted Oi. Negi kept his eyes glued on the small girl. Kimi ran up into the tree and disappeared into the leaves. The boy, Benjamin had to follow her or it would be a stalemate. He tried and tried to climb the tree but he could not. Some how that small girl could scurry up the tree like a squirrel while he could not. Using his mace he was able to get up to the branch where Kimi had sat before but he was pelted with rocks until he fell back upon the ground. After about an hour of this Ronald agitated proclaimed, “If you don’t come out of the tree now I’ll count it as a forfeit.”
    “I’m…not in the tree.” Suddenly as if out of nowhere the small girl was sitting underneath the medic’s table that had a cloth over it. Kimi standing up brushed some dust off her white robe and gripped her sword with one hand walked towards Benjamin. He ran as her with his mace yet again and yet again she moved at the last second she moved. Fastening the sword to her back she grabbed something from the ground. Kimi squished it using her hands and threw it into her adversary’s eyes. He yowled in pain and fell to the ground.
    After a few minutes he stood again his eyes red and blotchy were aflame. How could little girl, brat stand so nonchalant after causing him such humiliation? He looked for his mace and discovered that someone, probably the girl, had thrown it into the tree.
    “So you want hand to hand fighting, do you? Well I’m the king of it so you’d better watch out kid.” Benjamin sneered at the non-responsive Kimi who just stood there, waiting. Benjamin ran at the girl with his punch raised and came hurtling at her. Seconds before he expected his knuckles to feel the squish of her flesh, Kimi yet again moved. She moved to the side and as quickly as she had dodged she knelt down and swiped out her foot and allowed it to kick her opponent in both ankles. Benjamin fell and skidded into the dirt.
    “If I was you I would allow my actions to show my strengths, not my words.” Kimi quietly said to him as she stood watching him get up. The sidelines were a roar with laughter at his big trip. Imagine getting beat by a little kid they thought, how humiliating it must be. They laughed and laughed and the angry boy stood and attacked the small girl yet again and kept going and going. This time instead of dodging she simply delivered an uppercut to the stomach that was so powerful the boy immediately stopped and blood came from his mouth. He fell seconds later unable to get up due to the power of the punch and the shock of how powerful this little girl, barely seven, already was.
    Man…I have to admire these Troms. They’re good. He thought with the hint of a smile as the medics attended to him.
    “Winner: Kimimi-Aida of the Youn Clan with a point score of 90. Loser: Benjamin Thomason with a point score of 79. That is it of the second test. The final test will commence tomorrow. Be ready.” The clerk said with those final words left the courtyard most people left with him.
    Negi and Troy went back to the medical ward with a large amount of the students, but Negi noticed that Kimi varied off from the rest of the group and went to the greenhouses.
    Watching her he wondered if possibly if she was one of the ‘special’ specials, those who if consumed by the Kelsher would power the Kelsher enough to destroy the whole world and every one else with them.