“Damn it Koenma! She may have been his best assailant, but she has been through enough to pay for that and then some! Her case doesn’t warrant execution!”
“As much as I want to believe you, and to give her some other punishment aside from death, I cannot. She is too dangerous to be left alive, and her crimes are clearly severe enough to warrant the death penalty. Just because she has some ma-”
“You don’t get it do you!? That isn’t just some random mark! She was marked at birth to be a Child of Ice! She wasn’t given her chance to choose whether she became what she is or something else! Her eyes clearly say she wasn’t an ice breed to begin with!”
“Regardless Hiei. I can’t pull back on my decision just because she was marked and never given a choice. That’s life. Harsh. Cruel. Unfair. Brutal. She was just the unlucky one we caught.”
The riled young man snapped away from the desk that he had been leaning against, screaming in the face of the small prince. He had been trying to negotiate the release of a young woman they had brought in from an earlier mission. Her name had been recorded as Koriki Tezu, but after a few minutes of interrogating, she told them her name and story. Shiku Kamihiri, fire demon turned ice by an ancient and forbidden ritual that dictates the element of the child it is performed upon. Hiei knew of this ritual and had fought a number of beings that had suffered from it. They would become immensely powerful, yes, but they would never be a whole being. The ritual was banned because it took the very essence of the person and reformed it into what the caster wished the being to be. Shiku had been another victim of this cruel ritual, and had been turned against her very being, something many considered the very worst of fates. She had been turned from a fire demoness to an ice breed assailant. She was shifted from her soul to her polar opposite, something even Hiei saw as cruel…
Shiku was placed in a solitary confinement room, bound to a wooden chair and gagged. Koenma was taking no risks with her. She knew her death was imminent, her fate as Mazioz top assassin had ensured that…
Her head hung low, her chin on her chest. She was ashamed of what she was, but there was nothing that she could do about it. Her mind raced with questions that she knew would go unanswered…
So this is what it’s like to be marked for death? You know it is coming, yet the time between the execution and the sentence just seems to get longer with every passing minute.
I hate it.
I am the hunter, not the hunted.
I am the one who takes the kill, not the one marked for it.
This is all so twisted!!
My eyes raged with a hidden fire. A fire I had never been able to wield. This mark… it completely contradicted me. It changed me. I was once a fiery blonde-haired woman with copper-tone bangs, now I am a navy blue-haired assassin with sea blue bangs. The only thing it didn’t change about my appearance was my eyes. They remained their natural bloody red. Whenever I saw my reflection, they mocked me. Reminding me that I am not an Ice breed, but a fire demoness waiting to be released. My skin had paled from it’s natural light tan to an almost sickly pale color. My body went from a figured and toned fighter’s shape to a sleek and lean figure that reminded me of an anorexic human girl in their teen-age years. It changed everything for me. Not even my own mother would look at me when I finally got a chance to return home after three months of constant assignments. It was then that I realized what I had become, and how much I contradicted who I was to begin with. I had changed… I wasn’t the Shiku Kamihiri my mother gave birth too; I was no longer a fire demon.
I wasn’t me.
“Still with us Shiku?”
My head snapped up almost instinctively. The shortest of the bunch that had captured me walked from his place in the doorway to about a foot in front of me. He kneeled down and I noticed the color of his eyes for the first time. Earlier I had seen the spark in them, now I saw the color. A crimson red. He was a fire demon as well…
I glared at him slightly. He wanted a verbal answer no doubt. I was gagged however, my lips sealed with a demon spell that muted my voice. Spirit World’s version of a gag. He seemed to notice this.
“That’s right, they silenced you didn’t they? The world takes most of it and they take the rest.”
I felt something snap, and my restraint that kept even my lips bound together broke. He broke the spell. I stayed silent however. I had no reason to speak.
“Look. I tried to get him to drop the death sentence. No luck. So, I’m letting you go. I know what the mark on your shoulder means. I have fought many beings with one. You fought mechanically, no instinct, only taught skill. I knew you were marked before we seen it.”
He knew of the mark and what it did. But he acted like he knew what it was like. He flitted around with his words so he wasn’t hitting the exact point directly. He felt sorry for me, and he though he understood what being under this seal meant. He was wrong.
“Get off your charity soap box. You know nothing of the seal and what it does to people. You may be able to see it and know enough about it to know what it does, but you will never know what it is like to be it’s prisoner.”
I glared at him. Had my hands not been bound I would have punched him. I didn’t need his sympathy, nor would I ever.
He knew this.
He was a fighter.
He could sense it.
His eyes hardened and his hand went toward his katana that he kept at his side. My eyes regained their spark for a moment at the notion of a fight, but that ended when I remembered I was bound. He almost grinned when he noticed this. His smirk was enough to make me jerk against the binds in an attempt to reach for his head and remove the expression from his features. At this the grin broke through, and he removed the blade from it’s binds. My eyes darkened a shade, I didn’t know what he was about to do, but I prayed he would end me. I couldn’t stand the thought of waiting for the execution; it was maddening at this point.
“Go ahead. End me. End the wait for the execution and finish me now. You’re a fighter. You are like me the respect that you relish the feel of blood on your hands. End me. Follow through with it and finish off the contradicted soul before you.”
He stood and brought the blade over his left shoulder, crossing it over his chest. A slight smile made it’s way to my face. Finally, I would be able to rest and escape this damn curse.
My heart froze. If he wouldn’t kill me, then what the hell was he going to do? ‘Let me go?’ I was tired of running. I welcomed death so I would let them catch me, they’d shorten the date and execute me earlier.
He brought the blade down, and I closed my eyes. The feeling of a blade biting into my flesh never came. I felt the binds fall and opened my eyes. His blade was sitting just above my shoulder, the blade tilted to catch the light from the window above us. I looked at him, confusion filling my eyes. Why? Why did he free me? I didn’t deserve to be released because of what I had done. So what possessed him to break the binds?
“We’re the same. That is why. I know what it is like. I know the feeling of being bound and changed.”
“How could you know? You have never been under this curse. I would be able to se-”
It was at that point that his eyes flashed blue.
He had been under this curse?
“Yes. It was a half hearted effort done by the village elders in a half-assed attempt to make sure was at least able to be identified as a koorime by my ability to control ice, an attempt to mock me. I held the same seal as you for years. Well over 3 decades if I remember right.”
“Then how? How did you revert to your true form? Why aren’t you still suffering from the curse as I?”
“I broke through. I managed to find myself when I found about the Darkness Flame. It was the strongest sub-element of my type, and tapping it broke the seal.”
The darkness flame? I had heard of it. I feared it as an ice breed because of how strong it was.
I stood from my chair and looked him in the eye as a show of equality. He wasn’t superior to me, nor under me. He was my equal.
“Can you break it on someone else?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t met another fire demon who had been under the seal until now.”
I knew he had been under the effect of the seal by the glint in his eyes. His power was un-reigned. He was his own master, nothing to bind him in any way. One must be bound to know strength. For when one is bound, they know only weakness, breaking free gives them power.
The look he gave me told me that he was willing to try it, if I was willing to put myself at the mercy of his fire. I knew what risk it would carry. I was bound as an ice child, thus I was currently an ice breed. The darkness flame to an ice breed was like an instant death inferno. But I had to try.
I had to break free.
He knew my decision was made and walked back a few steps. He closed his eyes and relaxed after putting away his katana. Then I saw it.
The dragon under the chains.
He was no ordinary fire demon.
He was the master of the Darkness Flame, and of the dragon it became in this world.
His eyes opened slowly and a circle of black energy wound around his feet, roughly 3 feet across. Then it caught fire. I stepped back and brought my hand up to guard against it as a natural reflex. I had learned to fear it.
“Don’t. I won’t let it consume you. I’ll maintain control of it. You don’t have to worry.”
I swear I saw a slight smile cross his face, but it very well could have been the flames. I swallowed the lump of fear that had settled in my chest and stood straight. I started to walk toward him, slowly and he reached out his hand through the flames to me.
The flames had rid him of his shirt and they gave him and the room a glow of shadows. A deadly beauty.
I reached out and laid my hand in his. He pulled me toward him slightly and I walked closer to the flames. I stopped just barely out of their reach.
“Come on. I promise I won’t let them harm you. Trust me…”
I saw something in his eyes through the flames; many didn’t trust him so my trust is something he wanted. I was the same as him, only bound and not free. He was giving me the chance to break free, and I was hesitating. I closed my eyes and stepped into the flames only to be pulled against his chest as soon as I entered them. His head lowered down to my ear and he spoke, his voice comforting yet commanding.
I heard his blade come from it’s sheath and then the sound of the flames parting around the blade when he brought it around behind me. I then felt the familiar feeling of skin being parted by metal.
A burning feeling that mimicked that of the flames around us.
There was no cold. No chill. Nothing to suggest the ice that had filled me but a moment before. It finally clicked mentally.
And the seal broke.
A torrent of flames broke from the seal, torching it from my skin, and joined the darkness flames around us.
I looked up and noticed he was smiling, and this time it was directed at me alone. I pulled away slightly and he allowed the flames to dissipate, my own being the only ones seen. I willed them to disappear, just as I would with the ice I once controlled. They obeyed. I smiled slightly.
I was free. He had broken the seal.
I leaned up and stood on my toes as he was about a foot taller then me- after all, he was only the shortest of the bunch by one inch- and kissed him lightly on the lips.
“Thank you. I’m in your debt.”
I then turned and leaped upward. I knew that Spirit World sensors would know that power wave didn’t come from the training fields, they would come to investigate it eventually. I shielded my face with my arms and used my fists to break the glass once I was within range.
I had to leave, fast. But I would come back one day. I would come back to visit him.
I felt a draft on my right shoulder. I reached back to feel where the draft was coming from and found a whole in my shirt. Beneath it, however, was the scar from where the flames broke free. Exactly where the seal was. I grinned, allowed my flames to consume me, and continued running. I was going home… and for the first time in my life, I was going to arrive as a fire demoness. I was going to arrive as Shiku Kamihiri and greet my mother with a smile. I was finally free. I was finally the person I was meant to be…
I watched her, surprised by her actions, as she leaped out of the skylight in the roof. Then I let some thing shine through that very few seen. I smiled. I had redeemed myself to some extent be freeing her. Of that, I was proud. But I was also saddened. She understood me. And I had just let her walk away.
The sound of the door being slammed against the wall behind it woke me from my peaceful thoughts.
“What the hell happened here?!”
I was surrounded by shards of glass from the skylight. A few of them had sliced into my skin, one just deep enough to let blood run down my cheek. I looked back and saw Yuske, Kurama, and Kuwabara standing in the doorway, shocked expressions on their faces. Shiku wasn’t here anymore and they knew it. Kurama knew what happened. He could tell by how her energy signature changed just before she left.
“It’s alright Yuske. Though Hiei has some explaining to do, especially when you consider that she was to be executed at twelve a.m. tomorrow.”
I grinned slightly and they knew I had let her go. I freed her. Koenma could just get over it.
Yuske sighed and walked out the door, taking the other two with him. I knew she’d come back. The question was when. I looked up once more before I turned to walk out the door. I felt an old scar stretch as I did. It had reopened and closed back up when I broke her seal.
That was my only reminder that I was once bound as she was.
It was where my own seal lied, and where my own was now buried with the memories of it.
She would have one similar to it. Where her own Mark of Ice once laid…