Part I: Mikan Saikyo
The Incomplete. That’s what I’m called. I have my first name Mikan and my last name Saikyo, but I’m also The Incomplete. I come from a powerful clan. The Saikyo are known throughout the world for their power. The people of the bird clans all have two forms, a human form and a humanoid bird form. The Saikyo are a part of those bird clans. So yes I’m supposed to have a bird form… I kinda do. There’s just one problem.
It was the day of my 13th birthday. That’s the day we are of age to awaken our bird forms. It was really exciting for me. I wanted to take to the skies. I was ready. I’d waited 13 years for this day and it was finally happening. I stood on the long platform of the ceremonial platform. The old wood put splinters in my feet as I walked up the stairs. My Dad was watching as well as my trainer. The ceremonies are supposed to be mostly private so we didn’t have a lot of people there. The person who’s trying to unlock their bird form jumps off of the platform into a huge ravine. They turn into their bird form and fly back up. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen.
“Jump!” My trainer left. I was nervous. I could see how deep the ravine was. What if I didn’t unlock my form in time. I had heard of some people who couldn’t change in time and died on the bottom of the ravine. I imagined myself just flailing around in midair then splatting on the ground. Surely my Dad or trainer would save me if I got too close to the ground. I jumped off. About 30 feet from the bottom I saw a wing instead of my right arm. Then I looked to the left. No wing. I saw two talons right before I hit the ground. I couldn’t even feel the pain. Dread was all I felt. I didn’t want to know what awaited me when I woke up...
When I finally woke up I was sitting in a bed. I looked around and nobody was in the room. I tried to get up but I think my ribs were broken. Not even any casts or wraps on it or anything. Last time I checked our clan had a pretty good medical clinic. We are known for are power in battle and stuff so injuries are expected. Where was my family? I heard footsteps down the hall and saw a shadow.
My Dad walked in looking disappointed and angry. It’s happening I thought... “You’re a disgrace. I don’t want to see your face again. Leave.” He told me.“W-what?!?” I asked. “You heard me. Leave.” He said.
And that’s why I’m called The Incomplete. I was banished from the Saikyo clan. I was supposed to be the prince. I was the son of the King of the Saikyo clan. But not anymore. I stayed in the woods. I was crying in my makeshift shelter. I didn’t take my bird form off yet so water was flowing around me. We could control elements and whatnot through our emotions. Sadness is water, Anger is fire, Focus is steel, etcetera. I willed my part-bird form away. I had to show them that I’m stronger than them in this form. I just had to figure out how…
Not again would I let anyone hurt me. Never again. I belong to no clan. I am Mikan Saikyo… No just Mikan. I have no family now. I’m alone. I cant even call myself a friend but at least I can trust myself. Unlike anyone else...
I traveled further into the forest until I came across some old ruins. There were engravings of people in their bird forms fighting someone with- an incomplete transformation. He looked so powerful. It looked like he was moving from his incomplete form to a complete form. Then I heard rustling in the bushes behind me. A girl stood there. Like she had just been wandering the woods for no reason. She looked about my age, but definitely not from my clan. All the girls In my clan were literally coated in every inch of their bodies with makeup. This girl wore no makeup. “Hi?” She asked, obviously just as confused as me. “What clan are you from??” She asked. “None… I no longer have a clan.” I told her. “You’re speaking in past tense. What clan were you from??” She asked, changing her wording. “Saikyo… what about you?” I asked. “Im from Saishu…” “Then what are you doing out here?? Saishu’s so far away from here…” I said. “Banished… Because I messed up bad. What are you doing out here??” She asked. “Banished as well… Because well.” I popped out my incomplete bird wings and feathers. “Oh… I see. I’m lucky my bird form is complete…” She turned into a full white and black bird. I noticed some water dripping off of her feathers. Then she turned back into her human form. “You’re sad…” I pointed out. “I- yeah…” She said. “What’s your name??” I asked. “Kireina. You?” She said. “Mikan S-” I stopped myself. “Just Mikan…” Then more rustling came from behind us. “What’s two chicks doing in our woods…” A deep voice asked then a big black bird came out of the bushes. A crow. They are a clan of exiled birds. Mostly criminals. They get their black color from being burned with the exile fires. Not literal fire but from the loss of their clan they also lose their color. Some actually turn white instead but most turn black. “We were banished from our clans… And don’t call me a chick...” I told him openly. “I see… Come with me.” He told us. He must’ve noticed the black streaks of my incomplete coat. We made it to the crow’s base. There were a lot of crows here. Whole families. I saw some babies and some old people. They didn’t even look bad at all. Then I looked to the other side where there was what looked like some barracks. That’s where the intimidating crows were. They didn’t really look mean they had a soft look in their eyes. They weren’t out for blood or anything they were just trying to survive.
He brought me and Kireina to a small hut. “You two can stay here for now. You’ll be recruited tomorrow. Don’t worry too much about it yet just try to relax for now…” The crow told us. I sat down on a bed and Kireina sat next to me. “So… We’re a team now huh??” Kireina asked. “I suppose…” I said. “Is it ok if i ask how you got banished from your clan??” She asked. I said, “Yes… I’m an incomplete bird. My last name used to be Saikyo. I was the prince… I once dreamed of being the greatest king ever known to the Saikyo clan. You can’t tell these crows who I was. They might banish me from here as well… What’s your story??” “Uhm I- I don’t want to talk about it…” She said. She looked at her shoes as if it would hide her sadness. She made it really obvious something really bad happened.
“Sorry it’s just-” She started “It’s Ok. I get it. Something really bad happened... Maybe I can get you to tell me one day but I’m not gonna force it out of you. I’ll gain your trust and maybe then you’ll tell me…” I interrupted her. “Thanks…” She said. The crow from earlier walked in, “Make sure you get some sleep. You need your strength for tomorrow. We can’t have two tired crows for initiation haha! Anyway can you tell me your names??” “My name is Mikan. I no longer have a last name…” I said. “Im Kireina,” She told him. “I see,” He said. “Can you tell us your name??” I asked him. “Sure! My name is Shinrai Tsuwa. I used to have a different last name but all of us crows here are exiled from our clans. Some of us keep our old last names but most of us were abandoned by our families so we have different names. Now get some sleep.”
The next day Shinrai woke me and Kireina up early. I don’t know exactly when but the sun was just barely coming up. It looked like the whole village was standing in front of some kind of stage. Ugh not another stage. Shinrai led us up onto the stage and patted our backs, “Good luck!!” He said. “Elder!! They’re ready!” He called. An old looking man in his bird form walked from the shadows behind us. I didn’t even notice him standing there, “Enter your bird forms younglings…” Kireina transformed into her black and white bird form. It seemed to be even more black than before although some spots were blacker than others. As if maybe some of the black wasn’t from her transformation into a crow... The crowd cheered. I looked at her and she nodded. I entered my incomplete bird form. I noticed some black stripes over what used to be a fully brown coat of feathers on my arm. Then I looked up and noticed the crowd was dead silent. All the cheering stopped. Even the children didn’t make a single noise. “He’s here… The chosen one…” The Elder muttered. “The what?!?” I asked, extremely confused. Shinrai walked up to me and held my hand up. “He’s here!!!! Our savior!! Retazen!!!” He exclaimed. That’s when the crowd started cheering uncontrollably. After everyone was done cheering Shinrai walked me and Kireina back to our hut.
“What’s the chosen one??” I asked Shinrai. “HAha!! There was a prophecy that one day one by the adopted name of Retazen would use his incomplete bird form and bring glory to us crows!! He would save us from exile!” He said. “Hold on a second what?!? So you’re saying my new last name is Retazen?? How could I bring glory? I only have one wing, two talons, and half of a bird head…” I said. “Yes your new last name is Retazen. And you’re the chosen one!! You’ll find a way. Or the way will find you…” He said. I was actually being accepted for my bird form. After all that happened that shouldn’t be possible… A prophecy. It can’t be right. There’s no way I could be of any use for these crows… All I did was fail. My whole family hates me and these crows think I’m their savior. They don’t know who i really am… They would probably kill me if they knew my old name was Saikyo. I can’t trust these people… I can’t trust anyone. Hah chosen one. Chosen to die maybe. I’m no savior… I realized I was crying. “Are you ok Mikan??” Kireina asked. By the look on her face I was probably crying for a while.
“Oh yeah. Sorry. It’s just-” I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I noticed Shinrai was gone. “It’s just what” She asked. The look of worry so obvious and sincere on her face… “How can I trust anyone?? My family so easily just threw me away. I thought they loved me but after that I realized all I was supposed to be was the heir to the throne. I was never their kin.” I was holding Kireina’s hand. I didn’t know why, but it just happened, and I couldn’t bring myself to let go. “I understand. I know this might sound dumb after all that you just said, but I think you can trust me. My backstory might not support that but I want you to be able to trust me. I know I trust you. Although I can’t say the same for myself…” Her hand gripped mine tighter as she told me this. “I think I can trust you… It’s just I don’t know why I can’t stop doubting my trust. I’m afraid if I do trust you or anyone again they’ll betray me like my family did.” I was so angry at my family but I was too sad to get up and start screaming although I felt like doing so. “I killed my family… There was a fire and I- I couldn’t save them. I tried and got burned and scared. I ran away to the clans fire protection services but it was too late. By then my whole family was a pile of burning corpses. The sight of them just melting. I was banished from my clan because they believed I started the fire. Even I started to believe them…” She told me her whole story. Her hands started to shake as if just talking about it brought back the memory enough to scare her again.
She started to hug me. It was a weird position so she was kind of leaning into me wetting my shirt with her tears. I hugged her back trying to comfort her. “If I can’t trust anyone else. I know I trust you.
By the time we were done it was night. Even so I could see people working outside still. From young children to the Elderly. I guess bedtime didn’t happen here until all the work was done. I felt bad just watching now that I was a crow too so I told Kireina that I was going outside. I found a little kid struggling with a big crate of coal. I picked up the other end to help him take it to wherever he was going. “Thanks.” The kid said. I could hear the sincerity of it. It wasn’t like how it was in the Saikyo clan where a ‘Thank You’ sounded dry and bland. After that I kept helping with a bunch of work. Kireina noticed and came out to help too. Eventually I ran into Shinrai and he looked at me and nodded. I felt like power was surging through me making all these boxes easier to move. As if I was in my bird form. Then I remembered that determination is what gave us a strength boost. I looked at my elbows and they were covered in feathers. I wasn’t supposed to have feathers on my left elbow. But I did… I thought about it some more and tried to will one of my fingers into a talon. It worked. I laughed and realized how cool this was. I showed Kireina and she said, “Oh wow!! That’s awesome! Try doing a full bird form!!” I tried and only got an incomplete form as usual but it was different. Instead of having my left arm completely bare I had talons for both my right and left hands and feathers coming along the edges of my arms. I was like some Human/bird mutant. It looked really cool according to Kireina.
By the next day I had a good hang of my abilities. I was able to make both of my arms just wings and fly. I asked Kireina if she wanted to fly with me and she agreed. So we were just flying around the village together. She looked beautiful even in her bird form. I realized I was staring at her and quickly looked away. But then when I looked back she was gone. I thought she had left me until she quickly flew up in front of me making a huge gust of wind. She was doing a play air battle with me. I laughed. I flew up really high really fast then faced downward and pushed my bird form into my legs making me like an arrow. At the last second before hitting the ground I pushed my wings back into my arms and used the momentum to fly back up to kireina. “Haha we’re being watched now.” She pointed at a group of kids who were gasping and cheering. We flew down to them. “WOWWWW You went down SUPER fast like an arrow then flew up super fast again!! And it looked extra cool because of your glowing red eyes when you did it!!!” A kid said. All the kids were jumping and yelling. We turned back into our normal forms and started walking back to our village.
We made it back to our hut and found something in our mailbox. It was a summon from the Elder. “I gotta go for a bit Kireina see ya la-” She kissed my cheek. “See you later!” She said. I started walking away holding my cheek thinking about whether or not I should take a sticker to rip the kiss off and put it away in an airtight safe forever so it doesn’t die. All my happiness was ruined when I got to the Elder. Shinrai was standing next to him along with some other people who seemed pretty important as well. All of them wore the same grim face. “Uh… What’s up??” I asked. “Saikyo is approaching… This time to extinguish us…” Said Shinrai. “And we need your help” Added the Elder. My heart filled with fear. But also a sense of determination. I want to help these people. If it means fighting my family then so be it. Shinrai started, “But you don’t have to-” “I’ll fight. And I’ll win. I will make us crows more powerful than any other. We can beat the Saikyo…” I said completely sure that we could. “How can you be so sure? The Saikyo are known for their power and nothing else there’s not a chance-″They’re weaker than you think… I’ll explain their weaknesses later. I was from the Saikyo clan…” I interrupted the Elder.
On the day that the Saikyo came marching up to the village we were ready. They bursted into the village and found nothing and nobody. We were in the trees waiting for the moment to strike. I waved my hand for Shinrai to fire the first arrow. After that half of the army was on the floor. Next the soldiers flew onto the battlefield. I was focused and determined. Causing my powers to activate. My feathers were covered in steel and I had enough strength to throw a car 6 feet. I flew through the army easily and was killed. I knew none of these people but I still felt bad. I imagined how their families would react when their relatives didn’t return. To find out they were killed by crows.
The next wave appeared along with a familiar face… My brother was leading the army. I flew straight to him. And gripped my talon around his neck. My anger heating up my metal with fire. Searing into his neck with pure hatred. I threw him onto the ground and then he saw my face and recognized me. “You betrayed me… And now you’ll die.” I said, slowly walking toward him to finish the job. “No please… I didn’t- I didn’t want this to happen. I tried to stop dad but he just pushed me away…” He pleaded. I continued to walk. “Shut up.” I gripped my talon around his neck and started to squeeze harder. “Mikan stop!!” Kireina was running to me. She must’ve noticed me on fire. I dropped my brother. “You don’t need to kill him. He’s your family right. Don’t show them the same hate they have, shown you. Be better than them.” She told me. “Fine then… Go back home brother… Go tell Father I’m coming for him.” I told him. He ran away and called his army to retreat.