The Passage of Twin Disciplines

Prologue

Defend Your Own

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The young girl ran through the thick underbrush of the forest. Around her, tall trees loomed, their bark curving into devilish smiles and scowls. They demanded from her an answer she couldn't choke out of her panic stricken throat. Why was she here? She doesn't belong.

The ebony haired, young girl whipped her head to the side, her heart pounding painfully in her chest at the sound of a growl in the nearby brush. Unbeknownst to her, she was encroaching on a cougar's den. A den that houses a mother who has recently birthed a set of triplet cubs, identical in their sandy blonde fur and tiny spots.

She stumbled over a raised root, tears streaking her face as she pulled out a tiny knife from the belt at her hip. Letting out a tiny whimper, she pushed herself up and pressed her back to the bark of a nearby tree.

"I-I'm the heir to the s-s-shadow dynasty..." she told herself, the whisper pulling a tiny squeak from her throat. Her knees trembled as she searched the dark, sweat forming on the palm of her hands barely big enough to clasp the hilt of her dagger.

Behind her a bush rustled and she jumped away, dropping the weapon so it shimmered in the small streak of moonlight that enveloped her. Her hands pushed at the dirt, pushing her body away from the bush as the first tiny paw stepped into site.

Miniature, round ears fixed in her direction as a pink nose sniffed the air experimentally. The cub's nose twitched and she sneezed, falling back into the bush with a plunk.

The dark haired young girl's eyes widened as she froze in her position; small chest heaving as she stared at the green leaves, tinged black in the darkness. The moonlight fixed on her like a spotlight caused her to squint as she tried to see into the darkness in front of her.

"H-hello?" She squeaked, pushing herself up with sweat glistening on her frame. Her gaze shifted to the dropped dagger momentarily, and she reached out to grab the weapon. A warning growl sounded, one from a much larger feline than the one she had just seen.

The young girl froze as a dark form behind the brush the cub had come from began to sharpen. The darkness gave way to reveal the form of a very large, muscled feline.

He fixed his blue eyes onto the young girl, letting out another deep growl that resounded through his broad chest, ivory fangs glistening in the moonlight. Claws extended, reaching out from the large paw that shifted the forest grass around. His paws are almost as big as the young girl's chest and she felt a tingle of real fear branch out from the a tiny tendril deep within her being.

She took frenzied steps backwards which brought out a roar from the large cat, legs began to pump as he raced after her. The girl turned and the first heavy foot she put down was awkward, arms rolled as she pushed herself into a desperate run. She closed her eyes mid-stride, praying to the gods that someone would save her.

Inches from her back she heard a deep, guttural growl right before she was ripped off her feet and thrown to the ground. Her tunic ripped under the power of the jaws that had closed carefully around her fluttering clothes. She started to cry, looking up at the cougar standing over her.

Chestnut brown eyes widened as she looked up at the wild cat, terror stricken and resolving herself to die. She closed her eyes and said her good-byes when she felt the cat step away.

Opening her lids tentatively, she peeked out to see the cub from before with it's maw closed around it's parents tail, pulling futilely. Tiny paws churned the earth, growls and mews escaping it's throat as it wrestled with it's parent.

The adult cougar turned on it's offspring, snapping it's teeth near the rebellious cub's cowering form, curling it's tail under it's small frame. Satisfied the cub had been punished properly, the parent turned back to it's prey, staring down at the young girl with bright blue eyes.

Again the cub let out a yip of protest, going down onto it's forelegs in a mock play stance, the only combat the young kitten knew.

The adult turned and roared, the sheer force of the air bursting from it's lungs sent the cubs fur ruffling back. Squinting, the cub let out a tiny mew in it's attempt to roar back.

Confused, the girl started to crawl away only to have a paw step down on her pants leg, holding her in place while the cougar dealt with the other rebellious fledgling. Something passed between the pair during their silent stare, something the girl couldn't identify. The large cat released the girls pant leg and flicked his tail, successfully swatting the young warrior's cheek as he stalked away. Within seconds the large predator was hidden back in the darkness, invisible to untrained eyes.

Tail twitching back and forth, the kitten watched with perked ears as it's guardian left before turning it's attention fully onto the strange, yet familiar, creature before it. A happy half trot-half skip brought the kitten on unsteady paws up to the girl.

Her chest heaved frantically as she looked between the spot where the large cat had disappeared and the curious cub.

Ears twitched as she looked into the deep black-brown eyes of the young girl, sniffing experimentally once more. Again, she found the smell unsettling and sneezed, barely managing to keep her composure. Her green eyes blinked as she sat on her haunches and closed her eyes.

Around her, the air began to shift until there was a small tornado of wind and leaves surrounding the cub.

The young warrior shielded her eyes, having been forced shut by the sudden uprising. When she opened them again, she blinked. Instead of the cub sat a young girl, around her age, clad in animal skins with soft brown hair that tickled her collar.

The shape-shifter reached out and gently touched the skin of the amazed ninja's cheek.

"What are you?" The girl whispered, caught in a star struck gaze. In reply the young man-cub only tilted her head and smiled, letting out a soft mew that sounded almost authentic coming from a human throat.

"My name is Akali, what's yours?" The ebony haired girl asked, forcing the words out as the other girl withdrew her hand and sniffed her fingers. The cub didn't answer as she crinkled up her nose in disgust, looking up at Akali with a question in her eyes. "Can't you talk?" Akali asked, receiving another head tilt in reply.

Letting out a sigh, Akali scanned the forest and felt despair creep back into the forefront of her thoughts. She was lost and she knew it, alone she had no hope of finding her way back to the temple before morning and her mother would be furious. Her mother was indescribably frightening when angered.

She shivered involuntarily and looked back at the cub-girl.

"You don't happen to know how to get out of here, do you?" She asked receiving another wide smile in reply. This time, the girl stood, and tugged up her counterpart after her. Before the ninja-in-training knew what was going on, they were racing through the forest.

Where Akali stumbled the other girl seemed to move through the forest with enough grace that made her want to believe the trees and brush were moving to make her passing easier. The moonlight occasionally found it's way through the dense rooftop canopy, hitting the girls at uneven intervals.

After what seemed like too short a time, Akali could make her the temple that was her home through the cover of the trees. She stopped, dropping the other girls hand and looked out at the lit building scared of who would be awaiting her return.

The cub-girl stopped and looked at her curiously, pointing to the housing with a smile. When Akali didn't reply she scrunched up her brow and tried to decipher the situation for herself, confusion evident on her tanned face.

"I wish I could thank you, but I don't even know your name." She finally whispered, keeping one eye on her destination to make sure no one had noticed them yet.

In response the other girl pulled out a figurine that had been hidden on a woven necklace, dangling under the fur tunic she wore. Placing the carved cat into Akali's hand she smiled and closed her fingers over the figurine, showing that, without a doubt, it was a gift.

"Thank you." Akali said, pressing her closed fist to her chest with a slight bow of her head, her unoccupied hand held up straight as she bowed at the waist. She took a step away before pausing, "will I ever seen you again?"

The cub opened her mouth, and for a moment, Akali thought she might reply with more than a bestial noise. Behind them a growl sounded and Akali stiffened, instinctively moving closer to her home.

"Akali?" Someone yelled a few feet away. She jumped and heard the large cat she could not see take a step back, letting out another warning growl that the unnamed cub replied to with a yip.

"I'm sorry, I have to go." Akali apologized, quickly pulling the charm around her neck and hiding it within the folds of her shirt so it could not be seen. Just as she had turned her back, she heard the tiniest voice, strained and sounding as if it had never before been used.

"Nid... a, l-lee." Akali's head snapped back but the girl was gone, only the remnants of a gust of wind left in her spot. Akali scanned the darkness but saw nothing.

Just then a large, firm hand closed around her bicep and pulled her up roughly, the pressure exacted sure to leave a bruise in the morning.

"Where have you been?" The large man growled, dark blue uniform hanging around his frame. Two twin swords barely visible over his shoulders, the skin of his face hidden behind a stoic mask.

"Nowhere, Shen." Akali growled, clawing at his grip. Shen glowered into the darkness, searching for any sort of intruder and finding nothing.

"Let's go." He snapped, voice rough and deep, dropping her enough so her feet could touch the ground but keeping his grip painfully tight around her arm.

Akali looked back into the darkness, spotting a pair of gleaming green eyes under a bush in the moonlight, ten feet behind her.

Nidalee... She smiled and followed her mentor without a word.

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Alright, that's the end of the prologue to one of my new fics. With Tropical Paradise and Missing Puzzle Pieces coming to a close I am starting two new projects. This will be one of them, the second is up for debate. I have a list of possible fics on my profile and I will take any votes or opinions into account. I will also accept any requests or suggestions.

On another note, Pink Crush is now back on the site and being revamped and uploaded as I find time. I hope you enjoyed the fic, drop a review! Thanx, - Kiravu