Disclaimer: All rights of all the characters herein belong to Rumiko Takahashi and the various syndicates that publish her works. I am but a poor writer that doesn't get paid for her work.
Shadowed Edge writing
By Shadow Dancer
I can feel it, still. The nightmares continue to haunt me, from when Father sold me. So many times he has sold me, for food, for money. Rarely, rarely, did he ever care what happened to me while I was with those other people.
"Martial artists protect the weak!" he tells me, he teaches me. 'Who protects the martial artist,' I whisper in the depths of my mind.
Before now...I was a young boy. I was sold to many people, to feed my father, to pay for the training that I received. "Take my son," he told the people, "teach him what you know."
Many forms of martial arts I learned this way. Many...and yet sometimes he would sell me to feed himself. Food being his only passion larger than his desire for me to learn martial arts.
Before, he had sold me to two brothels, without knowing it. He saved me, all right.
Two days later.
I still wake up screaming, seeing into the eyes of old perverted men. The pain of them doing that to me. I longed to beat them, to hurt them...but they were weaker than I. Even though I was much much younger than them.
Father still apologizes for taking so long to retrieve me. Then berates me for being so weak. He promises to send me to another one, so as to 'get over my pain.'
He's an idiot.
After this last training ground, I want to go home. I don't want to go back to the brothel, no matter what he wants. I'm not a young boy anymore...I am almost a man in my own right. Nothing can make me go again, nothing...nothing.
Father jumps on a bamboo pole and yells at me to fight him. I shake off my thoughts. I need to focus if I'm to escape this training ground unscathed. The guide behind me yells, about curses, and I start, turning towards him. "What?" I exclaim. Forgetting for one instant...
That's all it takes. I feel a foot against my back, and then air slips past my face like silken cloth. Then a splash, and I land in one of the pools. I look up out of the water, thinking how easy it could be to just stay down here, breathe the water...and let go forever.
But then, that is giving up.
I never give up.
I push against the bottom of the pool, and yet feel a tug. I look down, surprised, almost gasping. Something holds at my pants. Something sharp. I reach down, struggle, and finally get my pants free...and the thing holding them as well. I hold it gingerly, and then push to the surface, towards the light.
I breathe in the air of life, gasping softly. I pull up what was at the bottom and look at it, in my hands. Tiny delicate hands hold an old blade. I'm not an expert in weapons, far from it. My father taught me primarily weaponless arts. Only weaponless arts. I turn the blade around in my hands, only barely seeing my hands. Ignoring the yelling of Father. It is maybe three hand spans long, this blade I rescued from the waters. Again I note that my hands are smaller than before.
I put the blade down, and look at my hands. Smaller, finer, more delicate. They show years of training, but are not as large as my hands used to be. Maybe they are weaker than before. I follow the lines of my hands to my arms. They, too, are smaller, finer, and yet also they speak of years of training. I look down to my chest. It is smaller than before...and yet larger at the same time. I pull open my shirt, looking...
Well, at least Father has a reason to call me a 'girl' now. I look up at him, and finally hear him yelling how I will never be a man among men. The guide mentions, quietly, yet loud enough that I can hear, that there is a temporary cure. That hot water will reverse the curse, until I get hit with cold water again.
Anger fills me as I glare at the one who did this to me, who forced me to become cursed like this. "Stupid old man," The words come out of my mouth in a snarl. He backs up slowly, holding his hands out. "You just had to come here didn't you? Had to train me in a forbidden training ground. Had to make me the best, just to appease your own inflated ego." I know, deep inside, that mine is just as bad when I'm not hurting, but I ignore it for now.
My hand lashes out, almost of its own accord. Strange, I don't remember picking the blade up again.
Father jumps up and back from me. Towards the pools. He reaches for a pole as he glides through the air...and misses. His massive bulk slips into a pool with a resonating splash.
I turn away, not wanting to look. My anger slips out of me as so much water pouring out of a glass. Tears fall from my eyes as I think, 'how much can he sell me for now?' I turn to the guide, asking, "What did Father promise you for payment?" knowing that he has no money to his name. He probably will bargain with my body...again.
"No need money sir. Is enough for a change, yes?" his eyes tell me differently. The eyes are the windows to the soul.
Hot breath over silken skin.
Hands touching. Caressing. Squeezing.
Skin over skin, elsewhere. Heated skin caressing.
Movement, long and slow, fast and short. I try to ignore it. Push it out of my mind.
A grunt. Another.
I feel so dirty.
I sit here in my tent, almost dreading the coming of dawn. I know that soon Father will be barging in here, throwing me in some random body of water to wake me. He always desires practice. Not necessarily his practice, but most assuredly my own.
Throbbingly sore muscles state that whatever happens, Father WILL get the better of me today. And for a long time to come.
I am a man!
Or am I?
Am I just someone's play toy? Am I just someone's meal ticket?
Yes. No. I don't know.
I don't want to be like that.
The thought of becoming male again fills me with revulsion. Makes my stomach turn. Why would I want to be a man, in any way? My father is supposed to be a man among men. With him as a teacher, uncaring and greedy, I doubt I would want to ever be male like that. With other men I have...encountered, the doubt increases in really really large numbers. Sure there are the martial arts masters that Father had me train with. Most of them were very very good. But Father is also supposed to be a martial arts master, and HE has ruined my life several times over.
Rustle of grass and dirt. A single pebble shifts position, being ground into dew soaked earth. Here comes Father, for the morning spar.
I don't want to be thrown today. It will probably hurt me...there.
I crawl out of the tent, easing aching muscles into motion. I tense and release them as I move, knowing well enough that that is about all the stretching I'll get until afterwards.
Father's panda form amuses me. Sure, I may have lost my gender, if only temporarily, but he has lost his humanity. If he ever had it, that is. Sometimes I wonder, is he truly my father? Or is he someone that just kidnapped me one day.
I roll to the side, coming up with my hands before me. There he is, the fat slob. A twinge from stressed muscles almost makes me wince, but I stop it just before it hits my face.
Pain hurts. Pain tells you you're alive.
Pain is a focus. Use your hurt to give it back to the one who hurt you.
I can't strike out at the guide. Not yet. But Father, him I can strike out at just fine. It's his fault that we are here without money. It's his fault that we came HERE.
It's his fault that I'm female right now.
Pain begets anger. Anger begets fury.
I really shouldn't be this angry, I reflect in an almost detached manner. Anger dulls the blade, clouds the heart. Anger clouds the focus, obscures the target.
Strike, strike, block, block-twist-counter. It's hard, oh so hard, to keep my blows focussed on Father's chest. My feet want to slip lower during my kicks. My fists want to fly higher. Father was only a couple inches taller than me before, but he's now almost a foot taller. Ten inches. Twenty-five centimeters. That much farther that I have to reach up to wipe that smirk off of his face.
"Growf!" Father exclaims as his paw slips past my guard, hitting me in the chest.
Pain blossoms. Exquisite pain. Tears threaten to cloud my vision, and it is only by effort of my entire will that I do NOT curl around my smashed breast. Cool wind caresses twitching skin. I can't tell if it hurts more in the air, or less. I do know that I have to replace this shirt. And I probably need several bandages as well.
"You see what happens when you shun weapons?" I snarl at my father as I redouble my efforts to beat him into unconsciousness. I see a flash of red as he swings at me again, and I chance a glance at his claws. Only the tip of the claws, all three of them, shows blood, and I wrench my gaze back onto his form as I counter his blow, finally landing a decent blow on his chest.
Pain spasms along my legs and I realize I can't keep this up for much longer. One block, two. I've lost the momentum, and it's going to bite me. Flashing paws, sunlight glinting off the claws, I twist, turn, avoiding that one, but it puts me in line for the other.
Flashing pain as Father strikes my leg. I try to move it, but it has cramped beyond my abilities. Half my mobility gone, it doesn't take Father more than a second to hit me twice more, launching me into a tree.
---SNAP--- I hear and feel, as I slam against the tree. Blood trickles down my leg, down my chest. Maybe down my back as well. I slide to the ground, unable to control my falling at all.
Father snarls at me, growfs at me. His paws wave spastically as blackness fills my sight.
I would fall asleep, I want to fall asleep, but the pain won't let me. I feel furred arms pick me up from the ground, away from my tree. I can feel my legs, so I don't think the damage is THAT bad.
I'm set gently on a bedroll, and I lay here, eyes closed, or open. Just feeling the pain takes everything I have. Especially where Father hit me, down there. Painfully, uncomfortably close to...there. I can feel water slipping along my face. Tears.
Real men don't cry.
I'm not a man. Not really. A real man doesn't get raped, it can't happen. Father said so, after that first 'mistake' of his.
Maybe it isn't like he says. Maybe it's a real man that has honour. A real man does what needs to be done, no matter the cost to himself.
I don't know.
Cramping, spasming muscles ease. Pain edges away, slowly...much more slowly than it arrived. I still ache there, but at least it doesn't hurt.
Fingers, at least I think they are fingers, pull at the tattered edges of my shirt, where Father's claws tore through the thin cotton. They trace downwards, to my pants. Tugging and teasing...apparently Father tore those open as well.
The sensation leaves. I'm left with my pain for I don't know how long.
Cloth warm above me, air around me warming. Talking, though muffled. Father's voice, and the guide's. Apparently Father used some of the water for tea to change back.
A splash in the distance, a scream. Another splash. Father's bulk leaving, not bothering to be silent. The guide's steps, noticeably heavier than Father's, even though the guide weighs less.
I float on the pain, thinking no thoughts. Footsteps catch my attention again. For some reason I'm thinking of that blade again, the one I pulled from the waters. I remember the guide mentioning the spring being one thousand five hundred years old. Yet the metal of the blade was untarnished by the age.
Something in my hand, that my fingers close around on their own. The blade?
The tattered pain of injured nerves settles, as the blade warms in my hand. The shrieking pain from my breast eases and quiets, no longer so extreme. Still it hurts, but not as bad as before. The lacerations along my leg also ease their calls of pain, and finally, I can settle into sleep as the pain falls nearly silent.
I awaken, startled, to darkness, and to rustling sound. Cloth against cloth, like the flaps of my tent moving. Either in the wind or someone moving them by hand I don't know...yet. I peer around, my eyes drinking in what little light there is.
Surprising, there's more light than I first thought. A glimmer of moonlight from the open tent flap, and I see a faint blue light, about a candle's brightness, from my hand. I look at the intruder, without moving. If I'm to defend myself, I want to know who I am defending against...oh no.
"You already took your payment," I mutter softly, glaring at the guide's face.
"You here another day, your Father eat most of my food. With what you pay for that?" I wince at his reply, "You Father have no honour, do you?"
"Yes," I whisper, tears in my eyes again.
He grins, "Maybe I make it good for you, yes?" his green shifts to a leer as he gazes at my body in the faint light.
"You can't." I whisper, "It won't feel good. Ever."
"A challenge," still he leers at me.
I close my eyes, just so I don't have to see his face again. And so I don't have to watch him doing THAT again. My hand seems to want to reach for his face, the hand with the blade in it. ---No, --- I think, pushing the blade to my side, all the way to the edge of the tent. The light filtering through my eyelids brightens, and then the blue shifts to an ugly red, and my hand strains harder for Him.
I focus on my hand, letting go of the knife. Just as it leaves my fingers and lands on the ground, I feel a hand on my leg. It is another effort to keep from screaming or striking out. The hand slides up, over tortured leg muscles towards my...there. Another hand is at my leg, massaging around in circles, while the first does smaller and gentler circles around my orchid.
It's almost impossible to think that word, really. But the other names for it either don't feel right, or just plain frighten me. I feel him crawling closer, the one hand still at my orchid, and the other one now caressing up along my hips, and then higher. Feather light fingers trace circles along my stomach, and then slowly press harder, drawing a grunt from me even though I don't desire it. Heat building up between my legs, almost, and it feels almost like I'm...wet?
"No," I whisper, trying to pull away a bit. My head hits the other end of the tent, and He crawls closer still...his legs pinning mine. I feel a whimper at the back of my throat as I see that he has already removed his clothing, and mine is already missing. I don't know how, or when that happened, I thought I was dressed before falling asleep. I shut my eyes again, desperately, not wanting to SEE.
Sensation means I don't have to see, as I feel him pushing inside of me again. Filling me in a way eerily similar to so long ago, but not as much pain as before. Not even hurting like it did the night before. A tingling, almost like electricity, builds up in my middle, and arcs along to his hands...
His hands are wandering along my sides, up, caressing my breasts. I don't want to feel this way, but my body is taking me along for the ride. The almost electricity flickers between my orchid, and my breasts, back, and forth, growing with each movement. I twitch as I reach the point that used to mean exploding...and then pass it. Each movement he makes, each caress, driving me higher and higher.
Tears fall from my eyes. I don't want this. I just want to be left alone.
I gasp, as the electricity forms a ball deep inside, growing, growing. He grunts. Once. Twice. And that ball...explodes. Bouncing from my core, out to the edge of my skin, and back again, and again, and again. All that escapes from my throat a soft whimper, even as he finishes and crawls out again.
Muscles still a bit sore from the fight earlier twitch and shudder from the new sensations zinging through my body. Tears fall from my eyes, as I slip back into slumber.