Chapter | 22
I wasn’t quite sure how to react when the man dropped to his knees with the knife stuck in his chest. It seemed my body felt the same way, because it wasn’t even seconds before I slumped to the ground, clutching my chest where the knife should have struck me.
“What just happened?” I breathed, trying to make sense of it. The man was definitely dead, but how was it possible? I had seen the knife touch my shirt, how did it end up in the man’s chest instead of mine?
Boh recovered first and moved to help me up. Luna approached the man, checking his pulse even though anyone could see he was gone.
I thanked Boh once I was up, trying not to look absolutely stupid.
“Yubaba?” I asked, since she was most likely to know what was going on. Yubaba looked at me for a second before walking over to her desk and rummaging in one of the drawers.
“Ah ha!” she exclaimed and pulled out what appeared to be a round piece of magnifying glass.
“Now sway around a bit Chihiro, but not too fast,” Yubaba said and I obeyed without question. Before putting the piece of glass up to her face, Yubaba moved so that she was standing in line with me, but she was still a few steps away.
“Interesting, very interesting yes,” she cooed, not sharing what it was that was so interesting. Yubaba removed the piece of glass and motioned for Juko to have a look. His reactions whas much the same as Yubaba’s- a lot of understanding noises, but no actual sentences.
Juko seemed to notice my confused look and took it upon himself to explain.
“It seems Chihiro, that a spell has been placed on you. A very powerful one at that,” he said before offering me the piece of glass. Hesitantly I took it from him and went to stand in front of one of the mirrors.
I raised the piece of glass to my right eye and closed my left, focusing on my reflection. At first I didn’t see anything, but when I shifted my weight from one leg to the other I saw a slight slow motion to the movement. I tried again, watching the second me appear for only a second before merging with the real me again.
“Who did this?” I asked, placing the piece of glass in Boh’s waiting hand.
“Most likely Zeniba” Yubaba said, taking the piece of glass from Boh since he had started tossing it around between his hands. “It’s the only person I can think of whose strong enough, and alive of course,” she continued.
Juko seemed to notice my confusion once again.
“A spell of this calibre can only be done by someone who’s alive, because it uses the wielders spiritual energy to create a force field of sort.”
I nodded, not actually understanding most of what he said, but still getting the basic idea.
“So this is going to happen every time someone attacks me?” I asked, “Because that would make going undercover so much cooler.”
Boh laughed suddenly and soon all of us where laughing along with him. If any sane person walked into the room at that moment they would probably call the heaviest secured crazy house.
“Okay, all of you need to leave now,” Yubaba said, clapping her hands together. “I need to do something about the man ruining my carpet.” I had almost forgotten about the dead man lying in the middle of the room.
The weather was amazing, and I don’t mean sit inside admiring the clear sky, I mean simply lying outside in the amazing sun. I leaned back until my back pressed against the window, tuning my head up and closing my eyes.
The sun felt heavenly on my skin, the heat practically melting all my worries away. I was just about to take a nap when a shadow fell over me. Holding my hands to my face I looked up. Yoru was standing over me, his wings spread wide.
“Mind if I join you?” he asked, pointing to the spot on the ground next to me.
I nodded and he sat down.
“So, I hear they’ve already come up with a plan?” Yoru asked, trying to sound casual about it. Despite my better judgement I told him about it, the amount I knew anyway. Yoru thought about it for a second.
While he was thinking I gave him a quick once over, realising I had never actually looked at him. Then again, he had changed a lot since the first time we met. For one, his hair had grown a lot. I never thought about it since he always had it tied back, but his hair was probably longer than mine, reaching the middle of his back like some old samurai.
He had a gentle face, not at all affected by many years of hard labour. His skin seemed so unbelievable smooth. Of all his features, his eyes were definitely the best. Long lashes and beautiful green-brown eyes. It was strange to think that I had thought of him as a man when he had kidnapped me, but he couldn’t have been more than five years older than me in appearance.
“Yoru, how old are you?” I asked without thinking. The question seemed to take him by surprise, because he turned so suddenly that I didn’t even have a chance to pull back. A moment of silence passed when neither of us moved, our noses practically touching.
I was right, his eyes really were beautiful, even more so when I could see every colour in it. Slowly he raised a hand and touched my cheek, stroking down my jaw line. It felt so good to be touched at that moment, to feel wanted.
His touch felt so normal.
I was so caught up in the moment that I barely noticed his eyes coming closer until they were only inches from mine. When they closed, I snapped out of the trance I was in, seconds before Yoru would have kissed me. I turned my face away, looking in the opposite direction.
Yoru muttered something that sounded like “I’m sorry,” but I knew he was only saying it because he had to, not because he wanted to.
“I’m about as old as Haku come to think of it” he said after a moment of dangerous silence. I had forgotten that I had even asked him what his age was.
“How long until the mission starts?” Yoru asked.
“About three weeks, some technical issues still have to be sorted out before I can move in,” I said, glad to be able to speak about something.
Yoru considered it for a moment before turning to face me again, his head pulled back a bit though.
“I guess I’ll have to train you a little, don’t want you in a bad situation where you can’t protect yourself,” he said, standing up.
I thought about it for a second. Sure, I could fight, but I still don’t have that much experience, and who better to teach me to fight against a Shadow Walker than another Shadow Walker.
I accepted his extended hand and followed him back into the room. I didn’t know he meant immediately, but it seemed he was adamant about starting as soon as possible.
Several hours, and many knock downs, later we took a break.
“I just can’t get it right,” I said when Yoru came back with some water.
“You’re doing fine,” he said, giving me a glass. Even he knew he was stretching it a bit far. I couldn’t keep my stance, my punches were weak and I couldn’t dodge any of his attacks. At that moment I would easily be able to take on any normal human, but spirits were a completely different story.
“Come on,” Yoru said after we finished our glasses, “We’ll work on the stance again until you feel better.”
I stood up, walking until I was standing in front of him. Getting in the stance was easy enough, but once I started moving it got hard to keep it.
“I see your problem,” Yoru said, coming to stand behind me. “Your hips are too far forward, no wonder you keep losing your balance,” he muttered, placing his hands on my hips and pulling them back. My shirt had pulled up a bit, so instead of touching fabric, his hands rested on bare skin. I quickly stepped away, turning so that the two of us were facing each other.
“What?” Yoru ask, not realising what he had done.
“Sorry, it’s nothing,” I said quickly, but not very convincingly. Yoru took a step closer to me. I could feel my face turning red.
“Did I do something wrong?” he asked. It’s not like he had, but when his hands touched me it felt like Haku’s touch. I felt it when he stroked my face as well, but I didn’t want to tell him that.
“You were thinking about Haku, weren’t you?” he asked suddenly, his tone and face unreadable. In a split second he crossed the room, wrapping me in his arms.
“Close your eyes, and think only of him,” he ordered, and I did. It felt so natural in his arms, like I had been in them so many times.
Then he kissed me again.
I didn’t stop him; I didn’t want to stop him, because for some reason it just felt completely right. In one smooth motion he bent down and pulled me up. I didn’t waste any time wrapping me legs around his waist and pushing my fingers into his tied back hair. In a few wobbly motions we reached the bed, falling down onto it in a flurry of tangled limbs.
One of his hands slipped under my shirt while his free arm held him suspended above me. The way he touched and kissed me felt different from the other time, more loving. I was just about to pull away for air when he suddenly jumped away from me. He seemed to be listening for something in the distance, but I couldn’t hear anything.
“This was a mistake, I’m sorry,” he said as he climbed from the bed, leaving me confused and still a little dizzy. Quickly he went out onto the balcony and the sound of wings told me he had jumped off into flight.
I stayed on the bed, trying to wrap my head around exactly what had happened. After the confusion settled I felt it being replaced by anger. I wasn’t sure whether I was angry at him for leaving me, or because he had taken advantage of my moment of weakness in the first place.
“You jerk!” I yelled before chucking a pillow at the window, pretty sure it wouldn’t make my situation in better. But sometimes it just felt good to throw things.
Instead of getting up, I simply turned onto my side and stared at the wall, trying to forget about the way his hands and lips had made me feel, to forget about the feelings I was starting to feel inside my chest.
Slowly I fell asleep, a single tear running down my cheek.