(Author Note: This is my first story so be gentle with it... any grammar error detected will be corrected in time.
Please review, it would be appreciated.
The Silver-Eyed Angel"
(An "Original Claymore fan fiction")
A full moon shone over the houses and threw long shadows into the night over the broken rooftops.
A horrified scream from a girl broke the serene silence within the blink of an eye.
Not even the shadows could hide the dark scenery that occurred below the moonlight. The smashed doors in the village. Corpses with their entrails gone lay scattered the ground in stains of blood with faces frozen in fright. Inhuman footprints lead away from the scene and into other houses, blood-red.
In the middle of this mayhem, in the alleys between the houses, a girl, not more than ten or eleven years old with long black hair and green eyes appeared in the night. She ran from the horror that hid amongst the small population, while she screaming desperately.
"HELP ME! CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!"
Behind her the dark shadow of the inhuman creature that stalked her, appeared, a dark skinned humanoid, with two golden cat eyes and a maw filled with razor-sharp teeth, a monster that craved for human flesh, or more precisely, guts, liver or heart, anything soft and warm inside the human body, an abomination called a Yoma by the humans. It mocked her with a hungry call when it chased her, just for fun.
"There is no one left… So scream as much as you want…!"
It laughed as the girl slowly became more and more tired. The girl ran terrified. She didn´t want to imagine what this monster was capable of. She had heard about the tales of the yoma and knew firsthand what it would do if it caught her. It didn´t kill for food, but for pleasure and it murdered specific victims for personal taste in how it killed. It spoke again.
"I hate the old meat, and adult-meat, but when I get to sink my teeth into young meat, it feels great again. They are all dead, the guards, and the adults, and most of the young meat…"
She looked back at it and suddenly asked herself something. Had it begun to run faster or did she run slower? Had she become exhausted from the long run? The girl didn´t even have a chance to react before it had her in an iron grip against the wall. She looked up in its face with fear in her eyes. From her point of view, it looked like a dark giant.
"Playtime´s over kid, and I got to say you lasted longer than the others..."
The yoma licked its teeth and a warm disgusting breath hit her face like a rock. A stench of raw meat. The girl tried to not faint in disgust from it. That disgusting thing continued to talk with a nasty smirk.
"I wonder how many of your friends I have eaten… three, maybe four… it is hard to tell…"
He just talked away time; he knew that no escape existed for her.
He tortured her verbally.
"…It is so easy to sneak in… but hard to get meat without raising suspicions… I think… After the fourth meal… I wouldn´t mind if you people never would notice, but of course, young meat is high valued after all… you people started to get desperate… Yeah, you were about to gather the money to summon a Claymore… I can´t have that… I know how good they are, so I can´t let one come here…"
The golden eyes in the yoma´s head ogled her body and it sniffed in the air around her.
"…Yeah, I planned to snatch some of the young meat… then head to next town… But I don´t know what´s going on here… You are the last one, little meat piece… I wonder where I should start; let´s see how you taste first…"
The yoma opened his mouth and its disgusting tongue came out like a big snail. It moved over her cheek slowly as it licked her right facial half and left a thin trace of saliva behind.
The girl, terrified and disgusted, was on the verge of crying from the traumatic experience. The yoma pulled in its tongue to taste her tears, a small sign of displeasure in its voice as it spoke.
"Needs more salt… I guess I have to make you cry even more…"
It hardened its grip, cutting her with its claws. The pain proved to be too much and the girl cried tears of grief. This thing had killed her mother in cold blood while she had tried to protect her from it. It had killed her brother and younger sister, it had killed her friends and it had killed everyone.
And she could not even do one single thing about it.
She felt so incredibly helpless and alone. She prayed to the Rabonian God for help and realized that she would not be answered. Her existence now was nothing else but another meal for this thing. She refused to believe it and decided to give everything she got. She kicked him on the knee and he reacted to it like it been a bad joke.
"Wow, a feisty one! I like that!"
It kicked her in the face with its knee and pain spread over her face and numbed her. She wasn´t strong enough to struggle against it any longer and began to murmur in a whimper.
"Help me… please…help me…"
She whispered in despair for herself and the yoma opened its mouth to laugh at her.
"AHAHAHAAH, who are you calling out to? Or have you lost your mind already? I have not even started yet… Now, I think I will have some fun with you fir-"
The moonlight darkened and a confused expression appeared in the Yoma´s face. The girl looked up at something behind it and it turned its head around.
"What happened to the moon?"
Someone stood on the roof above with the moon behind its back. Someone dressed in a traveler´s cloak with the hood all the way up, shielded the face in shadows. There was no way to tell how the mysterious figure got up there but the Yoma didn´t show any fear.
It grunted back up at the stranger in a displeased tone.
"A visitor? You are interrupting my fun here! Get out of here! I will kill you soon enough!"
The hooded figure didn´t respond to the threat and vanished out of sight. The yoma frowned and looked around with wide open eyes. "Where did you go?"
The man stood in the alley with them both. A notable change of expression on the yoma´s face as it glared at him.
"Hey! Didn´t you hear me! Don´t get in between a yoma and its prey!"
The hooded figure talked in a calm voice, a man´s voice, at the yoma.
"I heard you the first time, and you are either arrogant or dumber than a piece of wood. I would say the latter…"
The remark hit a tense spot in its mind. It tightened its grip around the girl's wrists. She whined in pain and closed her eyes in response. The hooded figure spoke again.
"Hands off the girl, and I will grant you a fast and painless death…"
"HA! What can you do! You are just an idiotic fool! Humans are no match against the Yom…"
The hooded figure appeared right in front of the yoma in the blink of an eye and punched it in the face with his left hand, covered by a gauntlet. The impact was enough to create cracks in the wall as the yoma hit it with an expression of complete surprise. The grip around the girl was no more and she fell down on the ground, trying to get some fresh air after enduring the horrible stench from its breath. The hooded figure stood between the yoma and her as a shield.
"Are you okay?"
The girl just coughed and looked down at the ground for a moment. But the yoma didn´t give up its prey that easily.
It attacked with its right and left claws on its hands. The man blocked some of them with his gauntlet, dodged the rest and tried to grab one of the yoma´s arms with his left hand. The yoma swung its arm in a haymaker from the left. The hooded figure blocked it with a big piece of metal attached to his right forearm.
He grabbed the yoma with his left hand and pulled his right one back. A rapid thrust forward and the entire left arm on the yoma got bisected clean off from the shoulder. The yoma jumped backward with shock in its golden cat-like eyes stared at the piece of metal covering the man´s right arm.
It yelled in stagger and disbelief.
"You can´t be… are you… are you a CLAYMORE!"
The hooded figure lowered his hood, opened his cloak and the little girl looked up at that moment. She found herself speechless at the sight in the radiant light of the moon.
He was an incredible sight in her eyes, dressed in a light metal armor and a sturdy gauntlet on his left hand. Attached to the right forearm with leather straps was the broken part of a sword, a claymore. The entire sword-piece looked bigger than the arm attached to it. Its edges glimmered in the moonlight with a deadly glow.
The figure looked slightly strong with some toned muscles with short, pale and white hair. The man didn´t look older than in his early twenties. His distinctively silver colored eyes glanced back to the little girl who stared up at him wide-eyed.
"What are you waiting for? Get away from here!"
The little girl remained on the spot for the moment before she nodded in shock and staggered away. Once she rounded the corner, the man turned his attention back to the yoma and spoke to it.
"… What I am is not important… What I am about to do is…"
He then swung his right arm in a fierce attack at it, inflicted more wounds on the yoma´s body. The yoma, unable to retaliate from the attack was grabbed by the mysterious man in a left-handed stranglehold around its throat. The monstrous creature growled and pointed with one hand directly at the claymore´s face. The fingers elongated and the man vanished into thin air, releasing the grip around it. The claws hit the opposite wall and retracted back to their places.
A shadow from above got the yoma´s attention and it gazed up.
The stoic male warrior dropped down from above with his vertically aimed blade to slice the creature from top to bottom.
The yoma gritted its fangs up and rolled to the side. The warrior´s blade struck deep into the ground and the yoma laughed in response while the man bowed down.
"It doesn´t matter, you can´t be a claymore, none of those filthy silver-eyed bastards can hide their aura like that." It raised both arms out at him; the devilish grin reflected the moon light in its teeth. "You are a fake! And I know this for certain! A yoma always gets its prey! So don´t go up against me!"
It elongated its claws and the warrior blinked out of sight once more, dodging the claws with ease and re-appeared in front of the yoma. A flash of silver glimmered in the night and the yoma´s right arm flew off, cut at the elbow. A primitive shriek filled the night as the dark-skinned creature pulled back its remaining fingers and leapt in through one of the windows to escape.
The yoma crashed into what once been a dinning room with broken furniture and a body across the floor. It rolled over it and aimed with the remaining arm towards the broken entrance it entered through. It waited for the warrior´s appearance within the frames and its claws itched eagerly.
Four fast slices of metal through rock broke the silence and a door-sized form cut open in the wall next to it. The rectangular shape thrust forward towards the yoma from great force behind it and the creature dodged the chunk of bricks with a displeased scowl.
The warrior appeared in the improvised doorway and walked in with fast steps. He glanced around in the room and chuckled.
"A fake? Well let´s see about that… I will take my time to prove you wrong." He flexed his fingers together and stomped down on what once been a table leg. It flipped up in the air and he caught it in the air. He sharpened the broken end of it with the blade on his right arm to make it into a makeshift stake.
The girl stood at the end of the back alley and looked back as the noise of broken glass reached her. She looked at the dark scenery full of death, destruction and decay with hesitation and fear.
She glanced back to the alley and didn´t move further away, frowned in hesitant concern.
He rushed forward to the yoma who reached out for one of the cabinets, tore off the door by force and threw it like a disc in the warrior´s direction. The piece of wood got cut in half by one swing from the armed right arm and the yoma got a kick in the chest for the effort.
The warrior stabbed it through the back with the stake.
The yoma grew angrier and swiped out at him with its claws. They missed their intended target and the male claymore held his bladed arm behind his back, waggled with his left hand´s index finger. He smirked in mockery and the yoma went for another direct attack with a clawed arm.
The warrior vanished in the blink of an eye and re-appeared behind the yoma, pulled out the stake with force and elbowed his opponent in the neck. It shrieked and fell forward onto the floor over the corpse. The warrior aimed down with his blade at its throat.
The yoma turned over and elongated its fingers, missing the man but hitting the ceiling in a rough hand shaped formation. Cracks appeared from the impact points and the yoma tensed its muscles to pull down the wheel sized piece down upon the male claymore.
He glanced over his shoulder and turned on the spot, slammed his left fist into the piece and shattered it into shrapnel.
The yoma retracted its fingers and aimed a kick towards the warrior who blinked out of sight and appeared once more at the other end of the room. The foul creature used the short pause to stab into the gutted corpse, snap and rip its spine out with force. Blood covered it and the head remained in one piece as the yoma jumped back up on its feet and faced the warrior once more. It held the human remains as a floppy morning star of bone and blood with the face screaming in silent terror.
"Come on! Find out what happens when you step in between a man and his prey!"
The yoma slammed its improvised weapon into one of the plates scattered across the floor and broke it in a blood splattered smash. The warrior hummed with distasteful frown over the turn of events and grabbed one of the forks from the floor.
"Yoma… always chooses the gruesome solution." He looked down at the fork as to examine it and glanced back to the inhuman opponent who laughed in response. It held its weapon ready and wobbled from side to side in preparation.
The claymore flung with his left arm at it and threw the fork into the yoma´s right eye.
The distorted shriek of pain filled the house, but the yoma didn´t drop the weapon, instead it rushed straight for the claymore with rage and pain as incentive. The morning star swung vertically down at him. He dodged it and a red splattered stain appeared as the human head slammed down into the wall.
The man scowled, vanished out of sight for a second and re-appeared in the other end of the room, face turned towards the yoma who laughed.
"What´s the matter! Are you still bound to not do any harm to humans! Even if they´re deader than a gutted fish!" It yelled and slammed with the improvised weapon into the walls, each strike left a red stain and removed more of what once been a human face, piece by piece.
The claymore shook with the head and raised the right hand in front of his face.
"Might be so, but that´s not why…Do you see this? Yoma? This blade has never tasted the blood of a human. I never stoop down to kill a pureblood like you do… And I intend to keep it that way…"
The yoma laughed and prepared to strike again.
"Then you have already lost! Claymores are nothing without their swords!"
It shrieked and rushed at him.
The claymore flipped up with his left hand, revealing four kitchen knives between his clenched fingers. He moved in speeds that no human could perceive and the sharp ends of the makeshift projectiles ended up in the Yoma´s face. Three impaled it through the lower mandible and the last cut off one of its pointy ears. It stopped and coughed violently. The claymore appeared in front of it, wrangled its human morning star out of its hand, grabbed the yoma by the throat and slammed it into the wall. Hard enough to create cracks in it.
The knives remained in its face and fear filled the golden cat-eyes. It´s remaining arm remained limp along its body and blood came out from its throat.
"You can´t be a claymore… you can´t be…"
"I get that a lot… But I at least saved that poor child out of your grasp… Even restricted myself to give you a fair fight. And let´s face it, you lost…"
The yoma´s eyes glanced over the claymore´s shoulder and a twitch with the maw appeared.
"Cocky Claymore, you haven´t won yet!" It shrieked and tensed its muscles.
The yoma raised the arm up for one last desperate attack. The claymore slammed it in by the elbow; it stopped and elongated its fingers into the opposite wall by the improvised door. Stone cracked apart and the fingers didn´t retract back.
A weak cough from the other side, the girl who had glanced from around the door frame collapsed backwards with a soft thump on the ground
The claymore´s eyes opened wider and he held his breath. His left hand shivered and the yoma cackled out with satisfaction.
"A yoma always gets its prey…"
It silenced in a violent cough as the claymore intensified the grip around its neck. The silver eyes glowed with a fury and bottomless hate towards the yoma. His hands and body shivered from it as a fragment of his power made it out and crushed the yoma´s organs by sheer force. Blood came out from its maw and the man raised his right hand, placed the tip over the yoma´s nose and hissed with despise and hostility.
"Rot in Pieces…"
The man thrust forward with his right hand and the upper half of the yoma fell off as if placed in a guillotine. Blood sprayed all over the blade and cracks in the wall appeared behind the yoma from the decapitation. The lifeless body slumped down and he threw it aside with disgust and anger as its aura died at the same moment.
He looked around and dark blood dripped down from the blade.
The girl stared up towards the star-filled sky with three of the yoma´s elongated fingers stabbed into her body, two in the chest and one in the abdomen. Numbness spread from the wounds and she had a red string of blood from the corner of the mouth. Her body felt heavy and beyond her control. All she could do was to stare up with heavier and heavier eyelids.
It didn´t hurt.
Tears formed over her eyes as her voice became nothing but a whisper.
A silhouette appeared and looked down at her; she could see the silver eyes glow and the indeterminable gaze in her savior´s eyes.
She tried to lift her hand and reach up to his blade, to assemble the strength to see him clearly before her eyes became too heavy to stay open. He bowed down and she got an upside down look on the hesitant decision in his face. She didn´t care about it. Her body turned lighter as she smiled faintly. The world turned dark as she felt the heat leave her and she closed her eyes and pleaded in an inaudible whisper.
Her hand fell down on the ground, and she floated away into the dark void with tears in her eyes.
"I don´t want to die…"
A light appeared in the dark as she floated aimlessly within it, a bright white star that she got pulled towards. As she got closer, it took the form of a smiling person with its left hand stretched out. A silent voice spoke in the void.
"Then don´t."She moved closer towards it, floating like a ghost in the dark. "I know now what you wish for…and can offer you the chance; all you need to do is to grab the hand."
She reached out towards it, for an escape from the eternal darkness and endless hollowness. The light came closer as she floated towards it and smiled wider as she grabbed the hand of radiant light
The figure spoke with a grin and eyes closed.
"Never let go of your dream and it will come true. Remember that."
The darkness vanished as sound filled it and every sensation and sense connected to her once more. She felt a pressure around her body and she woke up.
A ceiling met her eyes as she rested in a bed, her body wrapped into a blanket. Flames of a fire filled the room with light from a fireplace. She blinked slowly to comprehend what happened.
"A dream? Did I dream it? I didn´t die?" She said and a sting of pain reminded about the opposite as she tried to move around. Her body had been wrapped up with bandages from what she could feel and she frowned. "No… It must have happened… it hurts… But who saved me?"
"So you are finally awake now?"
The voice came from the opposite end of the room and her heart skipped a beat from the sudden surprise. She tried to sit up but failed from the aching pain.
"Don´t try to move, or the wounds might open up again." She saw the silver eyes of the person that moved a chair closer to the bed and sat down.
The knight in shining armor that arrived and saved her from the most horrific death imaginable.
"Is this a Claymore? But aren´t they all supposed to be women?"
The man tilted with the head and asked with a caring and friendly tone.
"Are you okay? Little lady?"
She found herself too stunned by the fact that her savior was in the same room and looked away with flustered cheeks.
"Um, yes… everything hurts… but I am fine…"
The claymore smiled in response and sighed.
"Good to hear, but you had me worried there… You took a serious injury after all…"
The girl frowned and glanced back at him.
"How did I…?"
"Feel lucky that the yoma wasn´t good at aiming, but you were still in danger from blood loss, so I did my best to patch you together in one of the few intact houses left in this little town."
Her face mellowed at the thought of the yoma as it was mentioned; the man noticed this and asked.
"Was it someone you knew? Was it a neighbor? Something close to that?"
"It was… it was…"
She looked like she was about to cry again and the man tried to help her out of it by a change of topic.
"Okay, okay… you don´t have to think about it… everything is fine now little lady…"
The girl stopped and a silence built between them.
"Why did you save me?" She asked in hesitation and looked back to him. He raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"Why? Because I wanted to. I couldn´t just leave you to die like that. Let me tell you something. When you save someone their life becomes your responsibility. And if you died then it would be the same as murder. And I am not going to let that happen, little lady... I am not like that yoma…"
"No… You are a hero."
The man blinked as in confusion and put one hand back behind his head in slight embarrassment.
"Well, that was a first time… I have been called many things but never a "hero"…"
"It´s true… You saved me when nobody else could… twice…" The girl frowned with sad eyes. "I am sorry…" She looked down in shame. "… If I had listened to you then I wouldn´t have gotten hurt…"
The man shook with the head and raised a hand.
"Don´t put the blame to yourself, little lady… The fault is mine; I should have disposed of the yoma sooner. But the point is that you made it through this ordeal. So let go of that guilt, you were only curious…"
He looked away and grabbed something out of her line of sight. It was a small clay cup that he held out so she could see it clearly.
"Let´s see if you can drink a little of this medicine. Don´t worry, I know it´s a little strong but it does well for a wounded body. So do you want to try to drink for yourself?"
A small nod in response and the claymore carefully lifted her head to make things easier. There was a sweet-smelling dark liquid inside the cup. She took a sip…
…and immediately spit it out with scowled eyes.
She had been fooled by the scent and made an expression of disgust from its taste.
The claymore raised an eye brow and wiped his pale face clean.
"I know, it's dark and bitter just like my soul and takes time to get used to…" She looked away with a silent apology. "But if you´re going to spit it out, do it in the other direction."
"I am so sorry…"
"Don´t be, I would be surprised if you didn´t react to it. Just don´t try to drink it that fast."
The girl tried again and managed to swallow a tea spoon worth of the medicine. But not without an undeniable grimace afterwards. The man chuckled and put it away.
"Maybe we can try again later…"
He rose up from the chair and headed towards the door, she carefully spoke to him.
"Where are you going?"
He stopped and turned back to her.
"I am only going to do some house-cleaning, with all the bodies around, something far worse than yoma might pay us a visit." He raised the arm with the attached blade in advance to make his point. She nodded. "I will be back with some food, you have slept for two days straight and need to replenish a lot of energy… I will take care of you for the time being so you don´t have to worry about the yoma for the next couple of days or so..."
He opened the door to leave and stopped as the girl called out after him.
"Thank you… but my name is not lady…" He turned around to look down at her. She lowered the voice in caution"…It´s Grace…"
He spoke with a nod and a pleased expression.
"Grace… that is a beautiful name indeed… fitting for a little girl like you…" He held the right hand over the chest and nodded."My name is Blanc."
He left and closed the door, Grace rested with her head in the pillow and smiled as she went back to sleep.
"How are we feeling today?"
Blanc asked with a smile as he walked into her room with a complete dinner of fruit, vegetables and dried meat at hand. Grace giggled from the cherry mood and sat up in bed and the hands down at her knees.
The stench of death had vanished from the town the last four days as Blanc moved the bodies away into the woods. Some odd creatures had passed by at night but they scattered the moment Blanc stepped outside the door.
Grace smiled up at him and answered.
"Better… At least it doesn´t hurt when I breathe anymore."
Her chest was still wrapped in bandages and her movements were stiff but she held back any pain from showing in the face, Blanc´s presence making the painful experience fade away and the medicine less bitter.
Blanc put down the next dosage on the small table by the bed together with the food. He sat down on the chair and reached out to bring the medicine to her.
"Wait…" Grace said and Blanc held the hand still, she sighed and a determined expression took form. "I will do it…"
She carefully grabbed the cup with the dark liquid and lifted it closer to her lips. She sighed and made faces from the anticipation and memory of its unique taste. She gulped and closed her eyes hard as she inhaled and emptied the cup in one sweep.
Grace put it down with shivering hands and tears building up from her eyes. She swallowed and exhaled with a deep scowl.
"I think… my tongue… just died." She said and Blanc offered some water to her.
"I don´t think so. How else would you be able to speak if it had?" He tilted with his head with an arm over his chest. "But you really don´t have to take it all at once."
Grace opened the eyes in slight distressed disappointment.
"I thought you would be happy that I did…"
Blanc sighed and looked directly at her.
"Grace… Never do things you don´t like because other expect you to do them but because you want to. Remember, your choices are yours, nobody else's…"
Grace looked down and nodded.
"It makes sense… I think…"
The dinner began and Blanc watched while she chirped on a piece of dried meat. She had learnt how Claymores didn´t need to eat as often as humans did, and not three times a day. Instead they talked about anything that came to mind and her small curiosity for what it meant to be a claymore.
But once dinner was finished, the serious question rose up.
Blanc asked her with some concern.
"Do you have any relatives?"
Grace´s eyes filled with a heavy gaze and bowed the head down.
"Are you sure? None in other towns or…"
"They are all dead…" Tears appeared in her face as she shivered."…And it´s my fault."
She cried slowly and Blanc put his left hand on her shoulder as comfort.
"Don´t say that, the yoma is to blame for it… Not yours…"
"My family was all I had… and they died because of me…"Her tears flowed down along the cheeks and sent the voice into a tremble, filled with sorrow as she talked between the sobs. "I… I… I was so scared… the yoma... I couldn´t move... I couldn´t run! I saw it eat my sister in the doorway... and I couldn´t run! I could not leave her! I asked my brother to help... but then it killed him to. And then it saw me... and I...I...was so afraid! Mom saved me... mom told me to run... while it ate her!"Grace cried in rivers while she held her head with both her hands. "They are dead... because I wanted to help my sister!"
She broke down and leant up at Blanc who moved the chair closer to her. He sighed and patted her on the shoulder in a hug as she cried out.
"So, so, there is nothing you could have done… You at least tried to take matters into your own hands and that was a good thing… but humans can´t fight the yoma, Grace…"
A couple of minutes past by as she cried into his chest and she spoke.
"It´s not fair…"
"No…" Blanc looked up as her sobs continued. "No, it´s not…"
Grace´s grief continued for hours, the memories of those she lost stung like knifes into the heart. She had been left behind and the only thing that remained was him. The man who saved her life, the hero that cared for her well-being and was there for her.
"Don´t leave me…" She thought and hugged him back.
The grief replaced by the safety from his presence.
She wished it could last forever.
Thirteen days after her near-death experience.
Grace had recovered her mobility and strength. The wounds were barely visible as three coin-sized circles in a slightly paler color then the rest of the body. She didn´t complain about it and Blanc had been pleased about how she shone up with a warm smile whenever he visited in the morning with the same greeting. She felt safe in his presence and found the silver eyes as a source of confidence and security as he took care of her.
Grace opened the eyes and noticed how the sun hadn´t risen over the horizon. She smiled and wondered if she should wake up and surprise Blanc by a greeting before he could utter it. She turned around in bed to look at the door in anticipation.
And saw how he already stood in the entrance with the back turned at her and one hand on the door handle.
She opened the mouth to speak but stopped as she noticed how he wore the traveler cloak around his neck. There was no friendly greeting and only a stoic expression of heavy lament in his eyes.
On the chair he used, waited a small half-opened pouch with gold pieces, a tightly secured bag and a set of clothes.
"So you noticed me…" He said and she blinked without understanding. He looked down at the side and sighed. "…Grace, the time has come."
She sat up and let the blanket fall from her bandaged chest. Eyes in a frown and she blinked.
"What are you doing?" She asked and glanced down on the contents of the chair. "What is this?"
Blanc sighed heavily.
"We both knew this day would come… You have finally recovered from your injuries and can move around on your own. I gathered some food and water, gathered all gold I could find for you. It should be enough to buy a ticket to Rabona..."
Grace slowly shook with the head and blinked faster.
"B-but aren´t claymores forbidden to enter that town?"
Another sigh from Blanc.
"Yes, they are…"
"So how would you follow me to it then?"
Blanc didn´t respond for a short while and looked away from her.
"I am not…" Grace held her breath in with disbelief when he didn´t look back at her. "Grace… This is where our paths separate… It´s time to say farewell."
Grace´s hands shivered as her body grew tense and her heart appeared to stop in her chest.
"Can´t… can´t I come with you?"
"No… I am sorry… I can´t take you with me…"
"Why?... Why can´t I…"
"I am part of a world no human ever can understand or comprehend. People shun my kind because of our bond to it… Grace, you must understand that I fight monsters far worse than the yoma, that thing that destroyed your town is one of them. I am on the run from my fellow warriors because of what I do and who I am… And I don´t want you to get involved in that nightmare…" He pulled the hood over the head and bowed down with it. "Humans shouldn´t get involved with Claymores… You were given a second chance, so don´t let it be wasted... Rabona is a sanctuary, go there and try to find happiness…"
He walked out of her sight without a single glance back.
Blanc stepped out and walked over the ruined town square, arranged his cloak to conceal his body and inhaled the cool summer air. He felt the distant presence of more warriors and planned to leave in human speeds to not alert them. He bit his lips tightly and moved further away.
The desperate voice forced him to turn around and a small figure clung to him.
Grace wore only a skirt and the bandages. Tears decorated the corners of her eyes and the cold ravished through her exposed thin body.
"Don´t… please don´t…" Her grip around his uniform trembled as she opened the cloak and pulled his right arm and its blade closer to her body. Pressed the blade closer and harder until he expected a thin line of blood to flow from the edges, she looked up at him with tears in the green eyes. "…please don´t leave me!"
Blanc put a hand on her shoulder and frowned with concern.
"What are you doing?"
"You said you never wanted human blood on your blade. So please let me be with you! Or I will…"
"Grace, don´t do anything you will come to regret, this thing can cut you in half…"
"Then please don´t abandon me!" Her tears poured out and she clung to the blade tighter. It´s edge threatened to cut through her pale skin like nothing. "… I have nobody left… I have nothing… Only you… And if you too abandon me, then what else do I have left to live for?"
"You can´t come with me… so stop…"
She pressed the edge tighter and she winced from the pain. A red line appeared around it. Blanc pushed her away and raised his voice.
She fell down on the ground with a vertical wound that went down from the chest and to the abdomen. Her tears filled the empty city and Blanc wiped the blade clean.
"Grace, you must understand that our worlds are far too different. You wouldn´t survive mine, and I was robbed of my place in yours long ago…"
"I don´t care… I don´t want to be alone… And you told me what happens to children that survive yoma attacks…"
Blanc remained silent as he bowed down and offered a hand.
"I am afraid that what you want will never be more than a dream. The line between us runs deep…" He pulled the claymore across the ground between them to carve out a line and looked down at it. "The road to Rabona is on your side, all that you need to do, is to turn around and leave. Walk and never look back, forget about this misery. You can´t cross over to my world as I don´t want to see you die… All I can do is to offer a helpful hand over the line. That´s all and you will be happier if you don´t get involved with me for any longer than this. Free of the misery."
A thought surfaced in her mind… she stopped her tears and muttered.
"What if… if…"
Blanc looked a little puzzled and then she turned her eyes up at him, looked into the silver eyes where she saw the promise of freedom from the pain in her heart.
"…I became like you…?What if I become a claymore?"
Blanc laughed a little at it, believed it to be a joke and stopped when he saw the determination in her eyes.
"Grace, you can´t be serious… do you really want to cross over to my world? A world full of nightmares and darkness? Blood and death as far your eyes can see? There´s no going back and you will be hated for the rest of your life. The yoma that nearly killed you was nothing. It will be a world devoid of emotion and eternal pain…"
"Could it be worse than this!?"
Blanc looked around and remembered the bloodshed and destruction. She had already lost everything and he had to agree that this could be the worst part of Hell. He looked at her and asked in a serious tone.
"I offer you a chance for a normal life, and yet you refuse it?"
"My choices are mine! And nobody else´s!"
She glanced up with determination and Blanc took a deep breath of consideration.
"Well, that came back to bite me…" He muttered and gazed at the horizon and the rising sun. "And if I say no, then I will be the biggest hypocrite this world has ever seen." He nodded with a smile in the face and then came to an agreement in his mind.
"If you became a Claymore, then what would you do with the power and responsibility that comes with it?"
"I will use it to protect everyone! You showed me that you are a hero, and I want to do my best to become one…"
Blanc gazed down at her for a moment and sighed tiresomely.
"Okay, I will help you, but you must promise me something in return. Can you do that?"
"Remember what I said about responsibility for other´s life…?"
"If you become a Claymore then want you to take my life…"
Grace´s lower lip dropped and she stared wide-eyed at what Blanc had said.
"You want to be a hero? Then I want you to find me and kill me… when I lose control over myself…"
"It is one of the perils with claymores, we lose control over our powers if we let the yoma side take control, I have not reached that point yet, but I will, someday, that is why I am asking you for this favor… If I help you to become a Claymore, I want you, and only you, to kill me… That is my sole condition, so are you still willing to accept it?"
Grace seemed a little distressed but remained determined, nodding with tears in her eyes, feeling the raging pain in her heart. Blanc smiled a little and turned his back to her, raised his left hand and she felt a small change in the air pressure, like the cold of the early morning mist faded away. He turned back to her.
"Okay… but I can´t do that on my own, Grace, there are three more claymores heading here and with them will be a man dressed in black. I have exposed my soul to draw their attention here… I need to leave before they arrive, but since you are serious about becoming a claymore and a part of the nightmarish world I live in… I will give you a push in the right direction…"
He moved forth his right hand and removed the gauntlet on his left. The skin slightly shimmered in the moonlight. He raised the blade on his right arm, stared up at the sky, and inhaled a deep breath. The air around them intensified and then without warning, he cut off his left forearm in one move. Blood flowed from the wound and the left hand made a series of spasms.
He looked at Grace that gazed in shock at his move. He told her in a solid tone.
"This is the key to it..."
"What…Did you really have to...!?"
"Yes, because when becoming a claymore, you will have yoma flesh put into your body, and I know how painful that is… Like flames of purgatory for the soul… So I am going to make it easier, you can either choose to have a murderous beast inserted into you, or you can have my arm, it should be more than enough and have the same effect… so are you willing to accept this gift of mine?"
Blanc held the chopped off arm in his right hand toward Grace, across the drawn line on the ground. Some sounds in the distance and he knew the time would soon run out for them. She asked him again.
"Are you going to be okay?"
"Don´t worry, I am a defensive type..."
Grace appeared confused, judging from the frowned expression on her face. Blanc explained.
"It means that I can heal; things like these are just flesh wounds…"
He smiled with assurance and faith in his eyes. She had a trail of tears that flowed down from her eyes. She wiped them off and accepted the arm from him with a grief-struck voice.
"Thank you… for everything… And will we meet again?"
"If you survive, then I am sure we will…I want give you something…"
He removed something from his neck and gave it to her, A small silver medallion about same size as an eyeball with small ruby in the center resembling a cat´s eye. Grace looked at it and he spoke to her.
"If you ever feel like giving up, then look into the red eye and remember the promise it stands for… I will await for the day, in the darkest nightmare this world has ever seen… for you to get strong enough to fulfill our promise…"
The steps closed in on their position and he prepared to leave.
Grace interrupted him before he could.
"Wait! Before you go!"
She reached over the line and grabbed around his sword arm to cut off a strand of her black hair. She wrapped it around Blanc´s right wrist and then made a knot. He seemed a little surprised from this and she explained.
"Now I can find you! I will find you… and you won´t forget me… You are my hero, Blanc…" Her voice trembled as she looked up at him. The sun spread a faint light as announcement of the new day. Time ran short."…and I will repay everything you have done for me…"
They both smiled. The sounds in the distance closed in and he said one more thing.
"Goodbye Grace… I look forward to the day we meet again…"
She smiled in return as she held his severed left arm like a puppy with the medallion around her neck.
He disappeared faster then she could blink.
She looked around and remained for a short moment in thoughts of lingered sadness. She sobbed as he departed, but made a silent vow to enforce her belief.
She would get stronger so she could help everyone, to make sure that others would not have to endure such pain like she had. Grace held Blanc´s arm close to her body and waited for the source of the sounds to reach her.
Three claymores, all women, arrived at the scene and one of them cursed when she saw it.
"Damn it! He escaped again!"
"What would you expect? He is after all a former single digit… and the last male Claymore left…"
"Look at this place, it is in ruins! Did he do all this by himself?"
"No, this was the work of several Yoma and something larger…"
A black dressed man clothed in a black coat, arrived at the scene with the claymores and looked around with cold calculating eyes. The claymores chatted amongst themselves again as they discussed the next step.
"The trail has gone cold; do any of you feel anything? Can anyone sense him?"
"No, his yoki just disappeared into thin air, he is far from here by now…. wait…"
One of the claymores looked in a different direction with a puzzled look in her face.
"There is a faint trace of it here… but it is too small to be him…"
The other Claymores also picked up the yoki aura and aimed their swords at the spot with one hand. They prepared to face down anything that might come out and attack them. The fragment waited around the corner of the next ruined building.
"Who is out there? Step forward!"
They rounded the ruins of a house and noticed a little girl with black hair and green eyes standing in the middle of the town square. They lowered their swords in unity and one of them muttered.
"It is just a little girl…"
"Not only… look what she is holding!"
They all noticed the arm-stump and were just amazed.
It was a piece of their target.
The little girl looked at them with anticipation and breathed heavily, shaking from the cool breeze. She stopped when she saw the dark dressed man walk up and stop a few meters from her. He looked down at her with a curious and sly smile. She clenched harder around the severed arm and down at the ground.
At a deep line carved into it.
She put one hand over the medallion around her neck and bit her lips together. She nodded with her head and with eyes filled with determination, as she lifted one foot…
…and crossed the line.
She stopped right in front of the black coat without so much as a doubt or a second thought. Her resolve had been enforced and she glanced up at the dark dressed man.
Grace held out the severed arm and with a glare that sent shivers through the observing claymores behind him.
"I want to be a Claymore… use his arm, and make me into one…"
The sun rose over the horizon behind her to greet a new day and illuminate the long path ahead of Grace...
…And her first step on it.