Talent of the Marks-men
"Riho…" A small voice called. Riho stirred under her covers.
"Riho…wake up…" Called the voice again. Riho did not open her eyes, shoving the voice from her mind.
"RIHO!" The voice screamed. Suddenly Riho jumped, sitting up quickly.
"Oh!" She gasped. She looked up at the person who was calling to her. She blinked. It was not Juki, nor was it Hotsuma.
"Why good morning Riho, it's good to see that you have awoken before I had to drag you out of that spot." The young boy's face lit up mischievously and he smiled. Riho frowned.
"Uh…who are you?" She asked. The boy blinked.
"Oh right…" He laughed and leaned backwards rubbing the back of his head.
"I'm Chiha, and this is my little sister, Kohibi," He said stepping sideways so that Riho could peer upon the small figure of a little girl. Riho smiled at her. She looked so frail and timid, her tiny face was dirty. Riho crawled out of her bed and over to the tiny girl.
"Well hi there Kohibi!" She said smiling kindly at the girl. The girl looked up at her brother, holding a thick cloth like a security blanket. Chiha stepped in.
"Uh well Riho she's a little shy…" He said dimly. Riho looked up at Chiha.
"I see…I was just like her when I was younger…" She said. She bit her lower lip.
"You don't have to fear me Kohibi…I won't hurt you, not in a million years!" Riho said and then reached out and gently pulled the little girls hair behind her ear and smiled. Kohibi's eyes lit up and she smiled. Riho cocked her head and smiled kindly again. Suddenly Chiha and Kohibi looked at the doorway and jumped back, going completely straight like how Juki had. Riho blinked and looked at the doorway. There stood Hotsuma, his figure shadowed with the light at his back. Riho stood and put her hands on her hips. Hotsuma looked at her with his intense, gray unruly eyes. Chiha nudged her.
"Show respect Riho…" He whispered and went stiff again. Riho gave a little 'humph'.
"Why should I? I have to leave this island in a week anyways…" She said. Chiha and Kohibi looked at each other uneasily. Hotsuma stepped in; his footsteps could not be heard. He stopped in front of Riho. Riho looked up at his tall handsome figure. His glare was cold. She sighed deeply through her nose, giving no resonance to his annoyance. Hotsuma's glare turned horribly annoyed and his nose flared.
"I want respect from you! I don't care if you're only here for a week, I can easily take you off of this Island by throwing you in the ocean and never letting you set foot here…I could let you drown…" He said coldly. Riho just stared up at him.
"Then why don't you? It'd be better than being here with a big oaf who cares nothing about nobody!" She barked. Hotsuma's glare halted and he opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. Suddenly his lips curled into a smirk.
"You have courage…but your courage will get you killed rather than get you security." He said and then walked out of the shack. Riho relaxed a little. Chiha and Kohibi ran up to her side.
"I wouldn't do that again if I were you! He would throw you in the ocean and never let you back on the island!" Chiha said. Kohibi nodded in agreement. Riho smiled and bent down to their level.
"Don't worry…I don't fear him…" She said and ruffled Chiha's hair. Chiha sighed.
"You should…" He muttered. Riho looked out the door of the shack.
"Hey…where's Juki?" She asked. Chiha shrugged.
"Back at our village doing something for the elders…he's the one who set up all of the magical boundaries along our island…he's very powerful ya know! But he's very kind hearted as well…I'm sure he warmed up to you pretty quick didn't he?" Chiha said. Riho nodded.
"Yeah I guess you could say that…" She replied. Chiha took Kohibi's hand and then turned back to Riho.
"We have to go, we can't stay here for long, and our village is the safest place, ya know, being here is too dangerous, I think you should come back with us." He said. Riho shook her head.
"I can't…I have to stay here until my raft is built, then I must leave." She said. Chiha sighed.
"Ok then…we'll try to come and visit as much as we can! Oh yeah, and Juki told me to tell you that there's bread and fruit in the crate over there," He pointed at a wooden crate beside a mud-brick fire-pit, "he makes the best bread around!" He exclaimed. Riho nodded.
"I agree." She said softly. Chiha frowned.
"Well…good-bye!" He said and waved off, Kohibi waving back at Riho as her brother raced out of the shack dragging her behind him. Riho waved to them as they entered the forest behind the beach. She sighed. She turned to the crate but hesitated.
"Not yet…" She said and then turned away, walking to the doorway, placing her hand on the doorframe. She breathed in the morning air and sighed.
"You should eat…" A voice said. She turned her head and peered at Hotsuma, his body leaning against the shack with his arms crossed and his foot pressed to the shack, his eyes closed. Riho looked away.
"I'm not hungry…" She said. Hotsuma's lips curled.
"Food doesn't last forever…" He opened his eyes and peered at her, "you will also be building your own raft…" He said and stood up off of the side of the shack. Riho blinked and looked at him.
"But I thought you said—"
"I said nothing about building a raft for you…" Hotsuma interrupted her. Riho blinked.
"But…I don't know how to build a raft…" She admitted. Hotsuma shook his head.
"Juki will assist you…" He said and started to walk off again.
"Why do you always walk away?" Riho called to him. Hotsuma stopped. He hesitated but turned to her, his arms crossed.
"Because carrying on a conversation does not appeal to me…" He said and turned back around.
"But why don't you just try it? It'll make you a much more likeable person." She said. Hotsuma sighed annoyed.
"You'll understand once you're older and wiser…" He said and started off.
"What do you mean by that! I'm plenty old enough!" She called to his back angrily. Hotsuma waved his hand back at her.
"You are no older than a teenager, there is so much to learn…you understand so little…" He called back and then disappeared into the forest. Riho stood in a huff.
"Of all the—" She growled under her breath.
"Riho!" A voice called happily. Riho blinked and looked back to the far side of the forest, Juki walking happily out of the forest. Riho smiled.
"Good Morning!" She called to him. Juki walked at a steady pace up to her and then pulled out a small box from under one of his long colorful robes. Riho blinked. Juki handed it to her.
"Here, take it…it's a gift…" He said and smiled. She looked at him and then at the box, examining it.
"Thank you…" She said and then slid the top off, peering inside. Her mouth dropped open.
"Oh…" She gasped. Juki smiled. Riho reached into the box and pulled out a jeweled necklace, the many colored rubies and diamonds lining the leather string. She studied it and ran her fingers over it. Juki stepped closer to her.
"Would you like me to put it on you?" He asked. Riho looked up at him with bafflement. She smiled and handed it to him, turning around and pulling back her hair. Juki reached around and put the two ends of the necklace in his hands, bringing it behind her neck and tying the ends together.
Riho let go of her hair as it fell back over her shoulders. She looked at the necklace and ran her fingers over it again. Suddenly she felt arms wrap around her from behind. She gasped slightly and turned her head. Juki rested his head on her shoulder and smiled up at her, squeezing her waist. She raised an eyebrow and smiled kindly. Juki's eyes sparkled slightly. Riho blinked. He was a truly handsome boy…She thought. Suddenly they heard a loud thump from behind them. Juki let go of Riho and spun around. Riho spun around as well, holding the necklace. Hotsuma stood with his eyes intense, a staff placed in his left hand, being dug into the sand. Juki went stiff and swallowed hard.
"Brother I—" He started but trailed off. Hotsuma did not say anything, his cold glare piercing into Riho's soul. Hotsuma looked at his brother and threw the staff to him. Juki caught the staff and placed it at his side.
"The elders want you to go back and receive a blessing…" Hotsuma said to Juki. Juki nodded and then looked at Riho slightly and then lowered his eyes and ran off, disappearing into the forest again. Riho watched Juki disappear and then looked at Hotsuma with a cold stare.
"Why do you have to make your brother fear you so much!" She barked at him. Hotsuma did not answer.
"He has respect…" He said coldly. Riho let out a little 'humph'
"Perhaps too much! I heard how he is the one who protects the rest of the island with his magic! You just protect this little section," She crossed her arms and looked at him mischievously, "perhaps you should show him a little more respect then he shows you…" She said just as coldly. Hotsuma glared at her.
"I hope you can back your words up with action because I am not afraid to defend myself against even a woman!" He yelled. Riho's hands pulled into fists and she looked down.
"I cannot fight…" She said, but then looked up at him again, "you can teach me!" she exclaimed. Hotsuma blinked in surprise.
"Teach you? Why would I teach you anything!" He barked. Riho put her hands behind her head and paced around.
"Oh you know, little old me being out on the ocean for god knows how long when I leave…and who knows where I might end up when I get off of that raft, if at all…I could be in danger when I reach a new world…" She said. Hotsuma chuckled wickedly.
"It is none of my concern what happens to you or not when you leave this island!" He waved her off and started to walk away. Riho's face faltered and she turned red with anger. She sprang off and ran in front of him, throwing out her arms.
"It is your concern! If you cannot teach me how to fight, your way of fighting will die away…then how will your island be protected?!" She exclaimed. Hotsuma glared down at her.
"Pah! Juki knows how I fight, ask him to teach you." He said and pushed Riho aside, walking away again.
"But he is not a fighter! He uses magic! Hotsuma plea—" Suddenly she clamped her hands over her mouth. Hotsuma spun around.
"How did you learn my name!" He roared. Riho looked fearful now.
"I—I'm sorry…I just heard it said before…I didn't—" Suddenly Hotsuma walked angrily towards her, his hands in tight fists, his eyes intense with rage and his lips pursed. Riho gasped and scurried back.
"Oof!" She gasped as she fell over. Hotsuma approached her. Riho's eyes grew fearfully and she covered her head. Nothing happened. Riho looked up from behind her arms. Hotsuma stood over her, his posture more relaxed. She put down her arms slowly and looked at him fully. He leaned over and put out his hand. Riho looked at his hand.
"Take it." He demanded. Riho raised her hand and placed it in his. He wrapped his fingers around her hand and pulled her up. He let go and crossed his arms. Riho swallowed hard.
"I'm sorry…" She said under her breath. Hotsuma sighed.
"Now that you know my name I am to grant one duty for you…" He said. Riho blinked.
"You what?" She raised an eyebrow. Hotsuma looked away.
"It is my obligation…our custom…" He said. Riho smiled.
"Ok then…teach me to fight…" She said. Hotsuma sighed and his intense eyes resumed their emotionless state.
"Five more days, I will teach you all I can within five days…after that you are to leave this island…" He said and turned, picking up a log. He turned back to her and held it out with one arm. Riho looked at it.
"Take it." He demanded again. Riho reached out and held out her arms. He dropped it in her arms.
"Oh!" She cried and fell over as the log crushed her arms. Hotsuma grinned.
"Once you can pick up that log and carry it all the way across the beach without falling over, I will teach you the basics…" He chuckled and walked away, leaping up and sitting down on the bridge that connected the two islands. Riho looked up at him and growled.
"Why you—" She said in a huff and then looked down at the log. She took a few deep breaths and then yanked up on the log. She got it about a foot off the ground before falling over.
"What the heck is this! I thought you said it was a log!" She screamed at him. Hotsuma chuckled.
"It is! It just comes from the densest tree known in the universe…" He called back. Riho gasped.
"I'll never be able to carry it all the way down the island!" She screamed.
"Sure you will…it just might take you a while…" He said. She let out a 'humph'.
"Insensitive pig…" she said under her breath and then took a few deep breaths again and then yanked up on the log again, only to fall back over.
8 hours later…
Riho gasped and fell over on the other side of the beach, the log rolling away. She gasped in breath after breath and then rolled over on her back as Hotsuma stared down at her.
"So it didn't take you quite as long as I thought it would…" He said. Riho gasped in air and smiled up at him heaving breaths, all sweaty.
"Is it just me or did you just give me a compliment?" She mocked. He let out a 'humph'.
"Compliment, no, impressed, a little." He said. Riho sat up.
"Can we call it a day?" She asked as she looked back at the shack, where Juki had returned to make dinner.
"No…I have something else for you to do…" He said and grabbed her arm, yanking her to her feet.
"AH! Hey I'm still in pain ya know!" She scolded. Hotsuma shook his head and then started to walk, motioning for her to follow. Riho blinked and followed. Hotsuma continued to walk, passing a few trees along the inner part of the beach.
"Um, Hotsuma, where are we going?" Riho asked. Hotsuma stopped near a grove of trees. He reached behind a bush and pulled out two bows and a sack of arrows. He turned to her and handed her a bow. He put the sack of arrows over his back and pulled one out, pulling it back into the bow and aiming at a tree. Riho turned to the tree; it was marked with a red dot in the middle of it. She blinked at it. Suddenly she heard the wiz of an arrow pass her ear. She gasped as it smacked the tree, dead in the middle of the red dot. She turned to Hotsuma. Hotsuma lowered his bow and pulled out an arrow, handing it to Riho.
"I will teach you how to handle a bow and arrow." He said. Riho's shoulders dropped.
"Bow and arrow? But can't I learn how to handle a sword or stick fighting or fist fighting or something!?" She exclaimed. Hotsuma's expression turned cold.
"You will learn how to fight my way or no way at all…" He said coldly. Riho bit her lower lip and hesitantly took the arrow out of his hand. Hotsuma stepped out of the way and pushed her in front of the tree. He reached from behind her and put his hands on her hands, putting the arrow onto the bow for her he pulled back her hand with her hand on the arrow. He looked foreward and stared at the red dot.
"Imagine that dot being ten times bigger than it already is…imagine yourself hitting that dot no matter where it is…" He said and then stepped back. Riho had trouble holding the bow back with the arrow, the string straining her muscles.
"Let go of the arrow, but do not move your arm, just let go…" He said. Riho narrowed her eyes at the red dot. Suddenly she let go, the arrow went whizzing out of her hands. She laughed. Suddenly the arrow passed the tree, missing it entirely. Her face faltered. Hotsuma chuckled.
"You keep trying…until you hit the middle of that red dot, I will not allow you to eat until you do…" He said. Riho gasped.
"But I'm hungry!" She cried. Hotsuma shrugged.
"I told you to eat earlier…but you didn't listen to me…" He said and turned away.
"Come and get me once you've hit the tree…" He turned to her, "oh and don't try to cheat…I can tell when you deceive me…" He turned back around and started to walk away. Riho threw the bow on the ground.
"You big jerk! How am I supposed to fight if I can't even get any food in my stomach!" She screamed at him. Hotsuma waved her off again.
"Like I said, you can learn how to fight my way or not at all…" He chuckled.
"Ooooooh!" She screamed with frustration. Hotsuma disappeared from her sight and she stood in the dim light of a nearby torch. She bent down and picked up the bow again. Suddenly her stomach growled. She put her arm around her stomach and groaned.
"I think I just made the biggest mistake of my life…"
E/N: Hope ya liked that chapter! Golly…took me about an hour and a half to write that entire thing out! Oh well, REVIEW PLEASE!