A Shadow of a Soul Chapter 6

When consciousness returned, Amy found herself gazing directly at a stunning Raphael. Her heart leapt with excitement at seeing his face strained with kindness and fondness. His eyes were open in a powerful glare.

But there was a slight problem with his loving stare. The smile etched onto his face had a trickle of blood on its curving lips. A sliver of infinity was present around Raphael, and his eyes never blinked.

Cautiously, as if fearing a sudden disturbance or shock, Amy extended a timid finger and probed Raphael's cheek. The taut skin was warm but lacked the innate kindness that constantly radiated from him. As she felt, the malevolent suppressing of darkness crept through him.

Raphael moved no more.

There came no cry from Amy's trembling lips, no shriek scattered the calmness of the forest around them. But the tears that flowed and blended with Raphael's blood emanated a howl more primal and basic than anything a human could manifest. The force stilled words in the throats of men, and breath lock in their mouths, cease the thoughts of the mind for one, short moment.

Taki sensed the void created inside the tinny girl. The hole would be filled with shock and grief first, then mutate into a horrible anger then would consume her body and spirit. She wished she could somehow prevent the girl's eventual self-destruction, but the seeds of madness had already taken root; planted by her own blades.

Death came, tearing holes in the flow of nature, but life would continue, filling the gaps left by the taint.

"Amy" began Taki, "he is dead. There is nothing to be gained by staying here." She would never make a claim to being kind, but even an assassin knew mercy to the young.

"Amy turned slowly, her eyes burning a fiery gaze into Taki's. Taki recognized that familiar glare of a person who has witnessed death. Amy's flame burned bright and sharp. It would be such a waste for this potential to snuff itself out.

"Amy, your one guardian left in this world has perished. You are not a child but you still need guidance. I am obligated to become that protector now." Taki paused, marveling at her own daring.

"I can teach you to become stronger than Ra-, he, ever could have. I know training that will hone you body into an invincible machine. And," Taki's fingers brushed Rekki-Maru on her back, Make you strong enough, even to defeat me."

Her eyes widened at her last comment. They flicked between Taki's imposing figure and Raphael's prone form. Her decision was made.

She gather her strength, and strode purposely past Taki Amy carefully picked up Raphael's beautiful with the magnificent cross guard. Cradling it like a precious child, she walked back to Raphael's cooling body and wrapped the limp fingers around the hilt.

The ninja nodded slightly at this last tribute before Amy stood and turned to her.

The two disappeared from the clearing ad were not seen by mortal eyes again for quite some years. But not everything remained in its peaceful place.

Moonlight flooded the night with bright, white light. The blossoms had retreated into their flowery homes, and nocturnal creatures crept from their hidden burrows. The smell of fresh meat was near and all creatures know of meat.

A fly perched itself calmly on top of the figures pale hand. It shone like a ghostly figure, the moonlight reflected off his equally colorless hand. The fly shifted slightly, poking a small mouth into the easily pierced flesh.

There was a flourish of movement, and the fly was a black smear on a white glove.

In the night, a hand tightened on an equally cold, steel hilt.