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Shift - Chapter 36 - The Little Things

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Fumiko’s eyes had widened in surprise as she could feel the blade ripping through her stomach. The jerking pain as the blade shook from the energy discharge made her cough and gasp for air. She felt like she was falling uncontrollably through a void that was threatening to imprison her forever. It was a cold and empty, solitary, sensation that enveloped quickly around her. ‘What’s happening?’ Her eyes started to fade blurring what she could see before her. ‘Everything’s out of focus… I can’t feel my…’ An icy touch surrounded her making her body lock in paralysis. She did not even have the time to think of her own mortality. ‘Why can’t I feel anything? It’s so cold… What’s wrong with me? Is the little girl safe?’

The sword redrew from her stomach trailing blood as it exited dropping her body with a hollow echoing thud. Fumiko’s eyes were pale and almost empty as her eyelids started to low with her body becoming still. “…Please…be…safe…”

Chapter 36 – The Little Things

Ayumi jumped back from the little girl that had just attacked her to put some distance between them. She held her hand up against her shoulder feeling the small trickle of blood through her ripped school uniform. The initial attack Ayumi had been able to dodge barely when she noticed the change in the demeanor of the child. It had, unfortunately, not been enough for her to completely avoid the attack since it was much faster and wider than she expected. ‘Another assassin so soon…I just dealt with two the other day…’

The small child swung the blade horizontally letting some of the blood wipe off of the blade to be painted across the school wall. The child was not even a meter and half tall and the blade she carried was easily more the half her size, yet she carried it as though it was nothing to her. There was a tiny giggle that came from the girl’s mouth as she returned the blade back in front of her ready to be swung again. “Hiding out in a high school, huh?”

“What do you want? There’s too many witness here for us to fight.” Ayumi stood prepared, but uncertain knowing that she was at a disadvantage without her field and powers. It took time to summon them and she did not know if she would have that time.

The girl smiled becoming amused by Ayumi’s words. “Worried about the children are we? That’s not the Eudokia I remember.” She caught the narrowed look in Ayumi’s eyes when she had said the last few words. “Oh that’s right. You’re going to by Ayumi these days aren’t you? Having fun playing Japanese school girl for that boy?”

Ayumi stared at the girl continuing to be cautious of her movements. She was safe so long as the conversation continued, but she had to make a move soon before drawing in others. “Maybe I’ve changed since last we met.”

“Well change or not it doesn’t change what I have to do. You’re a traitor to your homeland and must be killed!” The sword echoed through the back of the school as she pointed it straight at Ayumi.

“It’s you that’s the traitor! Trying to stain the name of your king!” Light burst from Ayumi as waves echoed through the ground changing everything into snow. The temperature change created a cloud around her that slowly settled with her clothes changed into her transformed state. She held out her blade towards the girl.

The girl smiled at Ayumi still amused by something in spite of her field being released. “Hmm? Not taking this seriously?”

“You aren’t being serious in the form.”

“I guess not,” said the girl shrugging acting like she did not have a care in the world. The girl swung the sword down from above her head launching an energy beam from the tip of the blade. The snow came up blocking the attack before it could even get close to Ayumi. Ayumi sliced her sword through the wall of snow causing shards of snow to be shot out forming into ice moments upon being released. The girl swung her blade horizontally with the blade perpendicular to the ground with a trail of energy that left a thick line in the air that widened prior to the shards breaching. All of the ice impacted on the semi-opaque wall of energy causing small waves as they were vaporized.

When Ayumi saw that she was not making any headway with her attack she sprinted forward to close the distance with the girl with her sword held back ready to swing. The girl saw the same and followed in suit bringing her sword to bear on Ayumi. The metal clashed together echoing through the school grounds as ice and snow kicked up from the blade and energy from the double edge long sword shot out. They struggled with the angles and stress of the swords to deflect or divert secondary attacks away from their bodies. Defenses were meaningless at this range with only agility and technique being of use.

‘I’ve got to end this quickly, but…’ Ayumi summoned up her ice to go after the legs of the girl, but she pushed back on Ayumi knocking her off balance and then in a smooth motion cut off the advancing ice. The girl jumped back a step throwing out another energy beam from the tip of the sword. Ayumi knelt down placing her hands in the snow to enforce the barrier that she projected up to stop the incoming beam from such a close range. Even with the strength that she provided it carved through the snow burning over her shoulder narrowly missing.

While Ayumi was still down she moved her hands through the snow up into the broken wall causing the snow to grow suddenly forming into spikes that extruded out from the wall towards the girl. It began as a single spike extended, but grew as more of the surface of the snow wall was transformed into attacking spikes.

The girl dodged and cut off the spikes, but it soon grew to exceed her capabilities and forcing her back as she was cut through her dress, but avoided a wound. The tearing cloth flew through the air as she came to a safe landing drawing the sword through the ground erecting a light field from the energy that the ice impacted on. Ice assaults continued as she could see thin pieces of the ice making it through. “Well if you’re getting serious…”

Ayumi jumped up onto the ice that had created a bridge of cylinders to the girl leaving the ice to keep up the siege. She held her sword ready to strike as she closed in the distant seeing the opening. “I’m not going to let you change!” Ayumi came down on the girl as she blocked with her sword just in the moments before. Ayumi’s blade sparked against the other blade, but it began to push into the steel as she focused her mind on the sword.

The little girl eye’s had widened in surprise to see that she was being over powered by Ayumi. She was unable to stop the advantage that Ayumi had built forced to hold the best that she could against Ayumi. However, all of the strength that she had could not be held against the tidal forces that were being brought to bear on her. The blade gave way as Ayumi cut completely through and continued through ripping through her dress and spraying blood from the wound. The girl retreated leaping backwards throwing the reformed blade at Ayumi forcing Ayumi to evade as it exploded in light.

Ayumi was blinded by the light as she attempted to protect herself from the explosion that knocked her away to the ground. “….damn…” When she collected herself after the light faded and she could see again the damage from the explosion had only been visual leaving nothing damaged, but it had bought all of the time that the little girl needed.

From where the girl had been was a colored mist that pulsed outward falling into the ground expanding to change the grass and cement into a pool of liquid like multi-colored energies that covered a vast area. The changes affected the school eliminating anything that was not ground level carving an arched cross section into the school with the pool expanding. Ayumi could see her own field disappearing greatly from what it normally was as the snow and pool collided with her losing the mental fight. She was able to keep a little in front of her, but the sign made sweat drip down her face.

Out of the fading mist came an adult woman with blonde hair and medium blue eyes that had a surprisingly calm and gentle expression on her face. She had strains of hair from the side of her head twisted and pulled back to be tied behind her keeping her medium length hair in place. Covering her entire body was a gray body suit that matched her figure completely. She stood taller than Ayumi and the sword that the little girl had been using looked almost small in her hand now. “Ready, Eudokia?”

Ayumi pulled herself together narrowing her eyes and controlling her features. She raised her sword up releasing the chakram from the hilt in her off hand. “You’re using your real form now.”

“Now use your real power and let’s finish this.”

“Ayumi!” Yuki shouted from around the school building as he came running towards the two women, but quickly coming to a stop seeing that there was a battle in progress. “Another assassin?! Ayumi, you’ve got to listen to me quickly! I think there is a little girl around this school that is an assassin looking for you. You need—“

“I already know.”


“This is her.”

Yuki began to walk closer watching the assassin carefully knowing that he did not have a kasou-ryoko out or prepared. It was Ayumi’s words though that confused him as he looked at the young woman standing at a safe distance away from Ayumi. “Huh? I said little girl, not an adult. If you just let me finish—“

Ayumi drew her sword over to Yuki making him stop while keeping her eye on the woman assassin. “The little girl you saw was this assassin. She used her powers to make you think you were seeing a child while she was hiding behind that illusion.”

He came to a stop seeing how serious Ayumi about what she was saying and knowing that she had to be wanting him out of her way. She had to protect him from the assassin and he did not have anything to help her.

She pulled her sword back in front of her and began to step forward cautiously. “Take the girl and stay back.” Ayumi focused on her strength pushing her field back a little on the pool field that enveloped her. She had to be at peak concentration if she expected to even have a chance.

Yuki did not know what she was talking about until he remembered that Fumiko was with the assassin as well, but he had not seen her standing anywhere. He looked nearby to Ayumi noticing Fumiko lying in the snow passed out with a large pool of blood around her body. “Fumiko!” Yuki ran to her side immediately reaching out to touch her hoping that she was still alive while the back of his mind was spinning fears out of control. “…is…she…”

“Get back now! It’s only been a minute. She should still be alive. I’ll finish this quickly.”

“Quickly? Not as you are…” said the assassin watching Ayumi.

“Why?! Why did you do this to her? She just wanted to help you! She did nothing to you!” Yuki was having trouble holding back the tears that were forming in his eyes as he stared at the woman. The kind expression on the woman’s face jarred him expecting to see a cold calculating face like the past assassins. He did not know what to think, but Fumiko was dying. “I just met her today. She has nothing to do with me! If you wanted to kill me you could have done it without her!”

“Yuki! Control yourself!” Ayumi said snapping at him trying to get through his emotions.

The assassin looked calmly at him looking almost sympathetic. “I’m not interested in you. I’ve seen your skill. I could kill you at anytime. You’re no threat to me.”

“Yuki! Get out of here with her now!”


“Save her! And let me protect you!” Ayumi stared at Yuki knowing that she had to face him if she was going to get through him to him. Unfortunately, his emotions were running high for him making it difficult to speak to him rationally. It seemed that she was getting through him and so she gave him the final push by making her snow form a wave in the ground pushing Yuki and Fumiko away. She turned back to the assassin knowing that she had to focus.

‘Ayumi…she’s fighting to protect me, but Fumiko… What should I…’ Yuki watched as Ayumi initiated her attack on the assassin echoing the clash of blades through the school. He lifted up Fumiko’s body feeling her awkward height giving him trouble as he staggered to his feet trying not to drop her or lose his balance. ‘Ayumi’s right. I have to save her!’ He ran off around the school getting out of sight of the battle.

He bent down letting Fumiko rest on the ground. When he pulled his hands back he caught the sight of her blood that coated his palm and then to his uniform. “Blood! She’s bleeding badly!” He was sent into a panic standing up and backing away no longer certain what he was doing. ‘What am I doing? She’s dying because of me! It’s my fault!’ Yuki drew his hands up to his face feeling the fear that was building starting to pour out into him. He looked through his fingers at Fumiko wishing, hoping, that she would be alive. ‘Why does this have to happen? It’s always me. I’m always hurting them! Why can’t I stop it?!’

Fumiko suddenly coughed spilling blood from her lips as she began to shake. It snapped Yuki out of his fears for the moment drawing him towards her. “…is…she…safe…” She was barely able to speak in a low voice as the blood from her wound began to seep into the ground now.

Yuki leaned close to her trying to understand what she was saying, but not certain who she was talking about. “Do you mean Ayumi?”

“…the little…girl…”

His eyes grew widen when he heard her worrying about the safety of the little girl that was the assassin in disguise. He tightened his fist that rested against the ground feeling the shaking pain in his chest knowing that the Fumiko had been completely fooled by the assassin and was still worrying about her when the assassin did not care at all. Tears from his eyes were streaming down his cheeks uncontrollable. “…Yes…she’s safe now…”

“…good…” she said with a weak smile forming on her face.

‘…why…she did nothing and yet…I have to do something! I have to save her! I can’t let this keep happening and doing nothing, but cry!’ Yuki rubbed his sleeve over his eyes to get the tears out of his face and stood up. He looked down at Fumiko knowing that she did not have much time left. There was no time to wait, but he feared if he would be able to do what he wanted. ‘There’s no time to second guess myself. I know what I want…that should be enough.’

Yuki closed his eyes concentrating on his Kasou-ryoko and Fumiko. There was only one thing that he wanted from his power right now. Nothing else mattered to him. ‘Give me the power to save her life!’ The wind suddenly blew up around him as waves pulsed out of his feet making the grass blow away from him. All around him light began to appear from the grass and cement around him gathering at his hands.

When he opened his eyes he looked down to see thin strains of energy being drawn towards his hands. He knelt down at Fumiko’s side not completely sure what he had to do, but instinctively placed his hand on her wound. The strains of light flew up into the air blowing in the breeze digging into the skin and wound of Fumiko. All around the injury green light shined between Yuki’s fingers. Yuki held tightly to Fumiko as more strains grew up attaching to Fumiko slowly closing up the wound from the inside until the skin was sealed up.

Yuki pulled his hand away looking through the cut in the uniform to see that there was nothing but blood left where the wound was. He smiled in relief and fell back on his legs. Fumiko groaned and coughed as she opened her eyes. “Are you alright?”

“Huh?” Fumiko pulled herself up looking around no longer certain what was happening. The cold feeling of the void that she had felt was no longer surrounding her. A warmth carried through her giving her the reassurance that she was still alive in spite of what she was certain had been her final moments alive. “How am? Is this heaven?”

Yuki laughed a little wiping away the newly forming tears in his eyes. “No, you’re alive still.”

“But how am I alive?” She looked down at her uniform seeing all of the blood that had soaked in her clothes and around her. It confirmed for her that she had not dreamt the injury. She remembered feeling the blade going through her and yet now it was no longer even a scar on her stomach. “It’s gone!”

“Yes, I healed you.”

“Healed? How?”

“I don’t have time to explain now. I need to go back. You stay here and rest. I’ll be back.”

Fumiko watched him stand up and start to run off away from her. She saw a different side of him that she had not seen before. The last time he seemed like a raging maniac that she could not control and before he seemed like a kind friend. She did not know what it was that was true about him. All she could see from him now was worry and kindness. ‘He saved me…I don’t know…but…’ Fumiko stared at him a moment longer trying to figure out what was going on and what she had to do. ‘Saved me…he’s worried…there’s something he needs to do…’ She stood up narrowing her eyes in determination feeling a stiff almost soreness coming from her stomach only helping to affirm the notion that she used to be injured, but no longer. “I’m coming with you!”

“What?!” said Yuki as he turned seeing Fumiko walking towards him. ‘She needs to stay there. She can’t see this…’ Yuki stopped and rushed back to her looking at her straight. “You need to rest! I’ll be back shortly, it’ll be fine.”

“No! I’m going!”


“I…I misjudged you. I’m sorry… I thought that you were trying…I didn’t know that you trying to protect me. That’s all you wanted to do. I can see that look in your eyes right now. You want to protect someone. Let me come with you so I can return your kindness.”

‘That doesn’t make any sense!’ Yuki stared at Fumiko seeing the look in her eyes and getting a feeling that he had felt before. It was something that he was going to lose. He could not beat her determination. He was not going to understand it, but he had no choice. “Fine, just stay behind me.” Yuki ran off to where Ayumi was fighting with Fumiko following up behind him.

As he turned the corner of the building a piece of a sword flew past him making him stop. He looked towards Ayumi seeing her sword broken and the assassin standing behind her wearing a red short skirt and shirt one piece over the gray suit. The assassin’s sword was coming back for another swing with Ayumi completely defenseless. “Ayumi!” he shouted as he charged around the corner towards Ayumi.

To be continued…

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