Chapter 1 – The Dead Claymore~
Canna added more wood into the fire. Today was a rainy day, and it brought with it a cold mist. She sighed, content with the serene calmness of solitary living. She looked around her home, mentally noting that she should buy more fabrics. Her house was self-made from hardened earth and lied under a mound, concealing it well. Her furniture and bed was bought at the nearby village. For food, she had a small fire pit, made from a metal ring and a grate to cook. She was fond of fish and caught them in a stream. She also had a small stash of alcoholic drinks behind an old but small tapestry. Here, in the secluded forest with the basic necessities, Canna was able to evade detection from Yoma and the Organization. She sipped some tea. How long has it been already since…？
Her cup of tea rippled. A soft thud was heard above her home. She stood up and closed her eyes, focusing her yoki on sensing what disturbances were above. Two…or maybe three claymore warriors. She was never good at sensing yoki. Canna was about to sit back down and leave the warriors at that, but she felt a quivering of one's yoki. She placed her cup of tea on a nearby stand and took a step outside.
"I shall regret this later" she sighed.
Kuroui and Rina dragged Kayla along, supporting her on either side. Kayla gave a small groan. The three claymores were tired and wounded from fighting five Awakened Beings simultaneously, especially with the bad weather. They trekked through the muddy ground. Even Kuroui, the strongest claymore of the team, was out of breath.
"Hang in there, Kayla! Don't you dare die on us!" Rina growled.
Suddenly, Kuroui stopped and stared at the forest. Rina looked at her quizzically. Kuroui seemed to have sensed something. Her eyes flashed gold and she quickly handed Kayla to Rina, motioning her to step back. Kuroui drew her claymore and called out.
"Who's there? Show yourself!"
A figured stepped out of the dense bush in a graceful movement. Rina's eyes widened. Another claymore…? Out here? They were in no condition to fight, especially not while dragging an unconscious comrade along.
Rina looked at the claymore, examining her potential enemy. The claymore seemed older than all of them, but still looked adult. She had long hair tied back loosely with two ribbons. Strangest of all, she wore the claymore armour, but she did not appear to have her claymore.
"I mean you no harm, ladies. I offer you a safe place to rest and…heal your comrade." The mysterious claymore said, emphasizing the last part.
She looked at Rina, who turned to Kuroui for an answer. Kuroui hesitated, judging the situation. She finally said yes, but then added
"How do we know we can trust you?"
"You do not know." She replied cryptically.
The mysterious claymore turned around, showing that she did not carry her claymore and started walking, motioning for them to follow her. Kuroui and Rina obediently followed. Kuroui sheathed her claymore and tapped the pommel, which was a silent signal to Rina to be on her guard. Rina nodded. Eventually they arrived at a hill, but upon closer examination, was actually an underground home. The claymore lifted up a grate of wood bark and leaves that covered the entrance, motioning for Rina to go down first.
Inside, the claymore told Rina to put Kayla on a bed. She pulled up some chairs for the claymores to sit around the bed.
"Do either of you know healing?" The claymore asked.
Rina shook her head and Kuroui stayed silent. Rina glanced at Kayla, who was breathing hard. Sweat dripped down her face.
"If you will permit me, I have a remedy for your friend. She must have been in contact with the Eiliean roses, the thorns are laden with a chemical that even us claymore have difficulty healing." She explained.
Before Kuroui could voice her opinion, Rina hastily agreed, worried for the health of her sister. Kuroui did not scold her though, for she would've agreed to it all the same. Rina took a nearby cloth and dabbed at Kayla's wet face. A few moments later, the claymore returned to the room, with a bowl of green liquid. She handed the bowl to Kuroui, who fed it to Kayla, none too gently.
"She's waking up!" Rina squawked.
Kayla's eyes fluttered open, and choked on the medicine. Coughing, she sat up in the bed. Rina's breathed a sigh of relief and patted her sister on the shoulder until she stopped coughing.
"I owe you my life, stranger" Kayla said. "I couldn't move my body, but I could hear perfectly. You saved me from death and I owe you a favour."
The mysterious claymore shook her head. "Please call me Canna, child. And there's no need for that. I neither take lives nor feel the need for favours. Your gratitude is payment enough." She said gently.
"Canna…" Kuroui repeated. "Canna….Canna of the Thousand Techniques?"
She gave a little chuckle in response. "I have not heard that name in a while! But yes, I am the one of that name."
Rina and Kayla looked at each other in amazement. Kayla shrugged her shoulders, she had never heard of this claymore.
"I am Kuroui" She introduced. "These are my teammates Rina and Kayla."
Canna nodded to them in acknowledgment. "I doubt that your friends have lived long enough to have heard of me but yes, I have indeed created over a thousand fighting styles and techniques." She turned back to Kuroui. "How is it that you have come to learn of me?"
"When I was a young trainee, I watched a friendly spar between you and the 3rd ranked claymore." She replied. "You easily won, but…it was said that you refused to change your number."
Canna nodded with a faint smile on her lips.
"But you were confirmed dead by the Organization…They had your body and a funeral!"
Canna laughed, much to the surprise of the other three warriors. "Well, was it a nice funeral?" Rina smirked and Kayla gave a small laugh.
"I have created over a thousand techniques." Canna said with her voice full of pride. "Do you not think that I would have also created one to evade death? Or more precisely, fake it." She said with a wink.
"Fake it? How? The Organization would have checked your blood, your DNA…everything! It's near impossible!" Kayla yelled.
There was the echoing of Kayla's voice and then silence.
"Lizards." Canna whispered, folding her arms and sitting down. "The way their cells are, if they lose a tail to a predator, they can regenerate them back. However, in a few special cases, the cells are not told to stop, and they lizard ends up with two tails instead of one."
"By controlling the Yoma blood to attach to certain cells and chemicals in my body," she continued. "I created an extra body. Of course it would not have come alive, but it was a copy of me. They found that corpse while I ran away and currently reside here." She finished.
The group sat wide-eye from listening to her amazing tale. "D-Do you think I could do that too?" Rina asked.
To her dismay, Canna shook her head; a definite no. "It is a dangerous technique, it takes a long time to use, and without the proper yoki control that I have, you may have to use 100% of your yoki to produce even a foot!" She warned.
Rina pouted; disappointed that she could not learn it. Canna saw her disappointment and sighed. "But if you keep me company for a while, I will be willing to teach you a few of my techniques."
Rina and Kayla had a smile spreading on their faces. They looked at each other and at Canna in excitement. "But for now, you must rest your weary selves! Shall I tell you stories and rock you to sleep? I am quite the story-teller." She said. Her tone was serious, but she was only teasing.
"We're not that young, Canna!" They said simultaneously. "But how old are you?" Kayla added.
"Humph. Never ask a lady her age" She sniffed. "But…even if I were not a claymore, my hair would still be as silvery white!"
They all burst out in laughter, something most claymores did not experience much. Canna lifted up embroidery that served as a door and motioned them to go in. Kuroui mumbled something about Rina and Kayla being too loud.