Book One: The Innocent Heart

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New School, New Start, New Friend

Part 5.1 of 1.10: No matter how boring your schoolwork may be...

Ashlyn Sadi Techryn was now nine years old. She was growing fast and stronger. It took a while of driving around the states, but her father eventually found a place where no one would find them. James drove the car across the mountain road. Looking out the window, Ash noticed the marker of the sign displayed. It said, Welcome to Rocksboro, Illinois, the secluded little place that is home.

The heavily forested area surrounded a long, singular two way road. The images of the trees swirled around the window as Ash gazed out. The car slowed down pulling into a narrow long driveway from the road. Ahead of her was their new home nestled at the bottom of the hill. The rocky path of the driveway crackled beneath as the tires drove over them. Ash stared at the house with widened dark eyes curious.

When James stopped the car, Ash got out and opened the other door. Kieka barked as the large muscled dog jumped out. Ash smiled at her animal companion rubbing its neck and kissed the thick muscle spot. Kieka barked licking her face. James whistled and commanded the dog. He responded irked at her, “That will be enough. Empty the car of our belongings and take them inside. I need to do something.”

James left her. Ash scowled at her father with hatred. Taking the first bag, she proceeded to clear the car and carry everything into her new home. Stopping for a moment, she looked around. Taking in her surroundings, she noted the forest surrounding their house and the driveway. James picked this place solely for isolation and to be left alone. They now owe at least forty five acres of land. It was more than what they own where Ash was born. Obeying her father, Ash carried the bag into the house and returned to the car to unpack it as instructed by him.

The following morning, Ash found herself standing in front of a new school. It was her first advanced grade school. It was meant for kids of ages thirteen and over, but Ash did her testing. Her studies were hard, but she proved herself. She worked hard and with her eidetic memory, it helped her absorb more information. For a nine year old, Ash was a bit more bulky and stronger that she would pass for a thirteen year old.

Cold and distant, Ash shouldered her bag. She walked in alone through the quiet halls. Finding her classroom, she opened the door. The teacher stopped talking and turned recognizing her. Beckoning her over, he spoke, “I am Herman Shalts. I will be your teacher. I would like to be the first to welcome you to your new school. Come sit over there. I was just about to start. Why don’t you take out your tablet and I’ll begin giving you a head start on an assignment we have been doing the past two months. If you are unsure of what you’re doing just ask around. I’m sure they’d be willing to help. Of course, I am also willing to help as well.”

Ashlyn gave him a cold look before sitting down. She listened to the teacher’s long speech about supposition or quantum theory that she couldn’t understand yet. Letting out a slight snarl of boredom, she moved her hidden MP3 player and placed the ear buds onto her ears. She fell asleep listening to the rumbling, thrumming music.

After school, Ash found herself outside. She headed toward a small path behind the large building. Her father decided not to drive her anymore and the bus couldn’t make the trip to her home, so she had to walk. Fortunately, home wasn’t far and she is usually accompanied by her strong, black watchdog. On cue, Kieka waited for her patiently from behind the gate. Passing the gate from the school, Ash whistled a command to her dog. The dog’s large size reached Ash’s hips as she knelt before it offering her hug.

Moving her head back, Kieka panted and slobbered over her face with its tongue. Its long canines avoided her skin as she rubbed its muscle spot on its bulged shoulder. They both got onto the path and ran through the forest of trees. Soon, they came across the open farmland.

Part 5.2 of 2.10: matter if you meet a new friend...

Walking a bit further past the ruined windmills and the broken gate up the hill, she saw a young boy running around. He was playing a game. Pointing his finger, the boy pretended to fire at something. Kieka saw him and uttered a low growl as it bare its sharp canines. The dog was tense preparing to defend its master. Sensing that, Ash quickly grabbed the collar of her dog to hold it back.

The boy shouted playfully while jumping out of the way from an invisible enemy. Curious, Ash walked towards the boy. He stopped and turned around to face her. Unfazed by her dog, the boy offered a smile. Suddenly gasped when his expression changed, “Watch out lady! There is a Sikkie behind you!”

He pointed an imaginary weapon and fired using his mouth, “Psht! Got him! You okay?”

Ash turned behind her and then gave him an odd look. Kieka cocked its head in confusion as well. With a question in her mind, Ash inquired, “Sikkie?”

“Oh,” the boy exclaimed while explaining, “Sikkie. It is short for Sikkirian. They are nasty looking reptilians known for their brutality, but have a very strict sense of honor.”

He looked around for people. Ash looked around in confusion. When he was satisfied no one was listening in, he inched closer and moved his hand to his mouth whispering, “But don’t call them that. Actually, the term Sikkie is sort of a bad word in some cases. However, between you and me, I can keep a secret if you will? They don’t need to know I insulted them or I would get bumped.”

The little boy who looked to be seven watched her with an innocent look. Ash gave a little nod and he smiled satisfied. Offering his hand, the boy replied, “Captain Thaddeus Kirk, to your service. My companion,” he pointed at an empty space beside him, “is Tyson.”

Ash studied him with no emotion. Even her dog that remained tense and alert looked at the empty space beside the boy. It whimpered as its long, sharp canines hung over its thick, massive jaw. The girl only had a simple curious expression as she could tell he was lying. However, she said nothing assuming that he was only playing.

The boy, no older than seven, sighed withdrawing his hand speaking, “You’re one of those silent priestess of Endar Prime, aren’t you? That’s alright, we are working on a mission right now, and that’s taking down that warlord named Lord Xaverius. He has them all under his gaze with mind control. Come on, we’re almost to his mansion. It won’t even take long.”

He grabbed her hand and pulled forcing her to react. Ash snarled as she grabbed his hand and pulled him harshly. She grabbed his throat with her gloved hand. With a growl, she pushed him down catching him off guard. The dog reacted as Keika ripped out a louder snarl. It barked rushing after the boy. He screamed as he attempted to move back, but Kieka grabbed his ankle. Its sharp canines ripped into the boy’s ankles and into the bone. He howled in pain as he struggled against the muscular dog. Kieka’s sharp claws ripped into the boys arm. Blood seeped through his gashes.

Quickly, Ash reacted as she grabbed hold of the dog’s spiked collar. She shouted a command to the dog pulling Kieka off. Ignoring her, Keika barked madly and gnashed its jaws. Blood trickled down its sharp canines. Ash kept her strong hold on the dog wrestling the bulked up monster onto the ground and scowled at the squirming boy. Her added strength only managed to hold it back for a few moments.

Part 5.3 of 3.10: ...never forget the hatred the beast has...

The boy shouted back as he backed away fearfully onto the tree, “Whoa! Ow! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to grab ya like that, I wuz jut playin’. Please call off your dog! It was only a game.”

Ash stared back coldly walking close to him. She gazed at his face as Kieka growled at the boy. It wanted to kill him but its master was holding it back. She looked close seeing that the boy was crying. It confused her. He didn’t mean any harm and she just reacted. Keeping her hold on her strong dog, she finally spoke, “Who are you? What were you doing?”

The boy was still bleeding and in pain. His arm and ankle was shredded and bleeding. After he stopped crying, he spoke, “C-Cameron Sheppard. I’m from around here and I’m playing something I saw on the Holo-vision. It’s an old science fiction show called Adventures of Thaddeus Kirk and Tyson. Thaddeus Kirk is my idol. Y-you want to play?”

After he asked the girl with a hopeful glance, Ash just stared back coldly at the boy. She felt a similar trait emanating from him. It was innocence. Cam was only a child who wanted to play. He was in the way of her getting home. Pulling her dog back a bit, she cocked her head inquiring, “Play?”

“Y-yeah! We don’t have to do the one we just did. I won’t even grab you. You can just be yourself and be on my away team. Just don’t start wearing a red shirt, cause they have this weird tendency to die often first,” he started hopeful as he attempted to sit back up again the tree despite his obvious pain.

The dog snarled gnashing its long canines with hunger for the boy’s flesh. Rubbing Kieka’s muscled torso, Ash shouted a singular command into the dog’s large pointed ears. It ran off obediently towards their secluded home in the middle of the trees. Cameron whimpered in pain as he attempted to hold it back while resting against the tree. Letting out a low growl, Ash removed her pack and took out her old medical device called Sparky.

She approached Cameron and knelt before him. Applying the medical device on the boy’s ankle and arm, Cameron moaned with comfort as Sparky washed over his damaged and broken skin. It was mending his injury as his pain ebbed away. Putting the device away into the pack, Ash picked her backpack and slung it over her shoulder. Ignoring the boy, the nine year old girl walked away.

Getting up feeling relieved of the pain, Cameron exclaimed as he inspected his mended skin. He tapped his foot were his ankle was broken, but the bone was mended as well. Looking up, he let out a shout at the retreating back of his new friend, “Hey wait! Where are you going?”

“Home,” was her final response. It was getting dark.

The boy shouted, “You haven’t given me your name!”

Ash ignored him and walked away. It was nearing dinnertime and she was growing hungry. Increasing her momentum, she started running back as she did not want to get whipped for being late again. Cameron watched her run from him. He was left in wonder from his expression and hoped to see her again. The young boy wanted her to give him her name and play with him.

Part 5.4 of 4.10: ...for her father

As the next morning that followed the previous day came, the doorbell rang. A man waited before the door. Suddenly, he turned and gasped when the dog started barking. The door was opened and the furious eyes of James scowled back at him. His eyes glowed red for a few brief moment. He spat questioning him, “What are you doing here on my property?”

The barking sound of the dog came closer. The man gulped and spoke apologetically raising his hands, “Apologies, I came by to see who lives here. I’m from an orphanage fifteen miles across the field from behind your house. I drove here because a boy wanted to know the name of the girl who he thinks lives here. Do you have a girl?”

James let out a growl and stared at him with coldness. Letting go of the door, the large imposing man revealed his large, muscular form in the doorway. The smaller, meeker man gasped with fear at his form and backed offering his hands. James snarled and grabbed the man’s chest harshly. The man stuttered as he grabbed the wrists. James inquired coldly, “Who do you think you are walking around here? Do you think yourself better that you walk freely among my property?”

The man stuttered as James pushed him back along the deck, “Uhh, I just. I mean, I only.” He stumbled back while nearly losing his footing.

As his rippling, massive muscles showed, James pumped his right arm and grabbed the man’s chest. Lifting him, he hoisted him over the edge of the deck effortlessly and thrust him out letting go. The man flew across the air several meters and landed on his back painfully as James moved forward threatening him pointing, “Get off my property! I will have your hide if you trespass around here again!”

The innocent trespasser stumbled across the gravel and attempted to stand. From his blind spot, he finally saw the big black dog with glowing red eyes rushing toward him. It barked madly. He could clearly see the dog’s sharp canines and yelled as he ran toward his car.

Seeing his dog, James rushed while lumbering toward Kieka and barely grabbed his dog’s spiked collar. The three hundred pound dog lurched forward as James’s strong muscled arm flexed holding it back. His torso expanded as James wrapped his arm around his dog’s thick neck and moved his mouth close to its pointed ear. Kieka’s loud barking cut the air as it gnashed its long, sharp canines hungrily.

The man fumbled for his key and pulled it out of his pocket. It flew out of his hand and hit his car. Turning around, he gasped with fear watching James hold his dog tightly. James whispered into its ear, “Kill him and leave nothing behind.” Kieka’s growling bark was louder as it obeyed its master.

Letting go, James watched Kieka charge toward the man. The man took his key to open the door of his car and closed it. The massive genetically modified glowing red eyed Rottweiler Pit-bull cross breed ran after the car. It bit into the cars bumper and tore out the metal with his strong canines. The car started as the man yelled in fear. With its paws, Keika’s large claws dug into the metal of the car and shredded at the plate. The car veered off across the driveway as the dog ran after it.

The man wasn’t paying attention. In his blunder he drove into the tree. The ramming power totaled the front of his car and killed the engine. He yelled. James watched coldly as his dog ran around toward the passenger side. It tore into the door with its claws. Its sharp fifth claw dug into the metal as the dog attempted to pull away with its bristling muscles. The door lock broke as Kieka managed to open the door slightly, but the man yelled as he grabbed hold of the handle. He tried to keep it closed.

Part 5.5 of 5.10: Keika, the massive bulked genetic freak of a monster gone awry

Kieka snarled as it bit with its canines into the metal of the door and ripped into the casing with ease. It started its head motion of swinging back and forth trying to rip the door off, but the man kept his door closed barely. Letting go, the dog released its hold and backed away still barking. He closed the door and attempted to start the car again but to no avail. His engine was dead.

Suddenly, his window shattered as the dog came at him again. The large genetic freak launched itself forward through the broken window and reached in to bite him on the jaw. He backed from the dog yelling while avoiding its long, sharp canines. It was dripping with saliva. With another snarl, the feral dog grabbed hold of the bottom window with its claws and jumped through while using its back hind legs to push the door open. It went through the window and bit into the man’s jugular.

The man screamed in pain as Keika’s claws tore into his torso. Its heavy muscular power overwhelmed the man making his struggle meaningless. It kept its strong jaw locked onto the man’s neck. He felt the sharp pain of the dog’s canines digging into his throat. Blood trickled down his neck. The broken door remained ajar and hanging off as the large dog kept its hind legs standing on the ground keeping the man from falling out of his driver’s seat.

James turned away and noticed Ash staring. Ash heard and was curious as to what was going on. She was watching her dog attacking a complete stranger. With a growl, James made his way toward her. Getting close, James raised his hand and smacked her jaw.

Ash grunted in pain as she averted her eyes, spat her blood at the side and stroked her jaw. The dog behind them yelped as it twisted once with its muscled body. The man’s screams was silent. James pointed his finger at Ash and responded with enforcement, “Listen here. A man trespassed asking about you. I won’t even ask but do not give people a reason to cross my property. It’s off limits. You understand? We move here simply to avoid people and we do not welcome strangers here.”

Ash looked behind him and noticed the dog pulling at the man. Blood trickled down the man’s hand and dripped onto the newly formed puddle of blood near the car. The dead body was dragged out of the vehicle and onto the ground. Looking up, Keika stared at its master with fierce glowing red eyes. Its mouth was dripping with blood and opened bare with a snarl.

Ash nodded albeit painfully. She knew Kieka was required to defend its masters territory no matter what even if it meant attacking them and making sure its master knows about the body. She responded with a growl scowling at him while speaking firmly, “Yes father.”

Blood trickled down her chin, so she wiped it with her finger as she bent down turning away from him. James spoke satisfied, “Good, now go. Don’t be late for school.”

Keika watched as Ash turned away. It cooled with a whimper and panted as it lay on the dead body. With its tongue, it licked the blood off the man. James turned back to his dog and proceeded to walk toward the car. He knew he had to clean up the area and make sure that no evidence remained.

Several more months passed. The seasons grew colder. Kieka walked back and forth with Ash guarding her. During the course of those months, Ash stopped seeing Cameron. She couldn’t find him anywhere. Suddenly one day, the dog vanished. Kieka had run away. Ash assumed that Kieka must have gotten lost somewhere in the cold wastes of the forested mountains. It was a harsh winter. James set out to look for his lost dog in the shivering cold. However, he gave up and became angry at his disloyal companion.

Part 5.6 of 6.10: Kieka is gone but Cameron returns...

The week after that, Ash started to see Cameron again. The boy was playing again on the hill across from the farmhouse. She trudged over the cold, hard snow while hugging her books and her tablets close to her body for warmth. The boy saw her and ran towards her. He casually glanced around looking for something. Cameron asked not fearing her anymore, “Hey, where’s your dog?”

She looked back and shrugged not really caring about her animal companion anymore. She walked past him. Cameron spoke again causing her to stop, “Hey wait! You never gave me your name.”

Ash stopped and let out a sigh. Turning back to him, she gave him a cold stare. Her dark eyes were colder than the snow itself. Finally, she responded without emotion, “Ashlyn.”

The girl turned and walked away from him. Cam stood there speaking her name, “Ashlyn. Wow that is a cool name. Hey, wait!”

Cam shouted bounding after her in a playful mood while asking, “Wanna play? I’ll still be Captain Thaddeus Kirk and you can be a silent priestess of some lord. Uhh, I forget the name. Oh whatever! Hey!”

Ash walked away as she made her final word, “No.”

Cam bugged her. However, she didn’t make any angry moves to silence him. Instead, the cold just numbed her to a point where the heat was frozen. No hot rage came forth. The boy wouldn’t let up, so he bounded after her protesting, “Aww, come on! I wanna play. No one wants to play with me. They said I was a-noy-ing, or whatever that means. Hey!”

The boy muttered walking besides her. His boots trudged across the snow leaving behind deep footprints as he tried to keep up to her same pace. Ash stopped suddenly. He walked a little more before stopping turning to her. Feeling the cold, Ash spoke, “Cameron, this is where you stop.”

“Huh,” the little boy asked. He wondered what was going on and inquired, “But why?”

She confirmed her answer by enforcing her cold, emotionless depth of her dark eyes as she spoke, “Don’t ask. Just don’t follow me beyond this tree. Go back home and maybe I’ll see you again.

Without a word, Ash walked a ways towards her father’s homestead. She kept her pace carrying her books close as she pushed her stray dark strand of hair behind her ear. The boy was left gaping in a wide eyed wonder and wondered not understanding what was going on with her.

Approaching the gate, Ash opened it and walked through. She locked it behind her and approached the door into the house. Opening the door, she listened to the quiet piano song. This song was something that the little girl hadn’t heard in a long time. It was sung with the low tenor voice of a large man. Her father was singing. It was beautiful and unbroken as it was clearly sung by someone with a good pitch.

Taking her coat and boots off, she walked to the living room. Ash was guided by her father’s voice to a piano. She clenched her fist and took her place beside him seated. He sang. It was the song dedicated to her mother.

Ash looked up to see the holo images of her mother. She was smiling with joy while holding her baby daughter close. Her father sang and played the piano beautifully. His guard was down just for a moment as he mourned the loss of his only love. She took the chance and spoke, “Father?”

Part 5.7 of 7.10: Singing that song of mourning for the lost

James stopped singing, but played the piano as he spoke, “I would sing occasionally while you were out to school. I only sing to honor her memory. She was the most beautiful and mine alone. She would sing to calm me down when I got angry. She always knew how angry I would get.”

James moved his fingers brilliantly along the piano keys as the music echoed among the house. Ash started to have confusing feelings about her own father. Jani was also her mother, so she touched him on the arm and replied, “Father, I miss her too.”

The piano music stopped abruptly. A low angry growl emanated from the bottom of James throat. He let out a snarl and turned against his daughter smacking her harshly on the face. She tumbled onto the floor and rolled away as James got up to yell at her while bashing his chest, “I loved her more! You don’t miss her! You don’t know! YOU DON’T KNOW!”

James muscular strength showed as he pumped his arms while letting out a roar. Grabbing the rod, he smacked harshly at his chair. Walking over to the fallen girl, he kicked her harshly. Ash flinched as she rolled away from him. He retreated back to his piano and sat down on the bench. The piano music resonated as James ignored his daughter. He was trying to calm himself again.

Ash moaned with pain. She crawled away feeling a bit angrier with him. Her father pushed her away further causing her to feel more hatred with him. Picking herself up a bit painfully, Ash left looking for her room. It was no longer a closet as James allowed her the freedom of choosing her own room. She was growing bigger in size after all.

Opening the door to her room, Ash walked in. She headed toward her bed and lay down. Not long after a few seconds in bed, the piano song ceased. A moment later, her father came into her room carrying her medicine. He still had his angry scowl as he walked toward her. Ash sat there scowling him in anger as he grabbed her arm and gave her another injection.

The moment he left the room, her room had transformed into a fighting ring via the Holo automatically. Ash knew this was required of her in order to get stronger and letting her medicine to build up immunity for her. Her autonomous trainer appeared as she stood to prepare for her next level of training. Raising her fists, she charged forward as her virtual trainer defended itself.

Part 5.8 of 8.10: Spring time comes with flowers ready...

For the months that followed, Ash was growing fast. The food she ate gave her muscles as she worked her cardio exercises and bodybuilding. It was April. Ash hung out with Cameron. Somehow just by looking at him, she didn’t see her father. Instead, she just saw an innocent little boy who just happened to grab her hand in an attempt at friendship. Ash learned a lot from the boy as he played imaginary games around her.

Cameron had that same expression of innocence that Ashlyn once saw in her own eyes when she looked at herself the first time in front of a mirror. It was just right after being let go from the medical facility when she was six. It was something that somehow stopped the beast from charging out and silencing Cam, just like when she almost silenced John. John was still alive but traumatized. The last she heard from him, John moved out of the country with his father since his ordeal. Apparently she scared him out of the school.

Walking from her school across the glade of flowers, Ash walked along the path. She kept her strength up by running along the path from the forest and past the old, ruined farm land. She exercised and fought her invisible enemies. Keeping her fists up, she dodged and burst a few jabs while listening to her MP3 player.

Ash let out a snarl feeling a presence behind her. She turned and scowled at Cameron with her cold, dark eyes while placing her ear buds down. Cam approached her showing her the cupcake. He stopped a few steps before responding, “Whoa, hey Ashlyn, guess what today is?”

She growled slightly cocking her head while curious at this odd food. He responded, “I turned eighth! Here’s a piece of my cake!”

Cam offered the cold beast his tasty and innocent looking treat. Ash regarded it with a curious growl snatching it. Taking a big bite out of the red colored cupcake with white icing, she chewed the bakery food softly. Cameron giggled, “It’s a red velvet cupcake! It tastes so awesome.”

It was good. Ash mused remembering the other cake she ate. It tasted awful and this red velvet cake made it better. She swallowed the tasty treat and regarded him a curious, cold stare before turning away to finish her cake. Cameron followed her and tried skipping across the glade to catch up.

Ash licked her fingers and finished the cake while enjoying it. She didn’t actually mind him following. However testing his resolve, she sped her pace by running. He took off after her and ran for a while. Soon, he started breathing heavily. Making a grab for her hand, Cam stopped her from running. Feeling the touch and her space violated, Ash let out a snarl as she turned to him baring her teeth.

Cam looked back cocking his head. He held her hand while speaking, “You like the cake?”

Ash was confused. Not liking to be touched, she snapped her hand out of his hold before replying, “It was-,” pausing for a few seconds while looking for the right word to describe it. She responded making him happy, “Good.”

Cameron smiled broadly. He followed her across the glade towards her home. Stopping before the invisible line next to the tree, the boy spoke, “Hey! You know you should visit my place sometimes. I’m sure my teachers would be glad to see you. The orphanage isn’t that far from here. Its only up the mountain along the path.”

Ash stood there listening and let a low snarl shaking her head. She couldn’t just leave her father anytime. He responded with confusion, “If you don’t like him, then why do you stay? I’m offering you a chance to run from him. Come stay with me awhile. I don’t understand.”

Letting out a sigh, Ash turned away. She walked past the boundary. Turning around, she explained, “It’s best you don’t Cameron. I’ve seen what he does and his cruelty,” the girl stared at him with an unemotional dark eyed glance and nodded finishing, “Thanks for the cake.”

She turned again and ran from him towards James’ homestead. Cameron was left still scratching his head. He couldn’t understand her.

Part 5.9 of 9.10: As she made a new friend she let live, for once...

Several more months passed. It was July. Ash was in the classroom of Herman Shalts. He presented his speech about a group of aliens. She had seen them around sometimes. The active Holo-vid shimmered as the display showed several blue skinned females walking around.

Herman pushed up his glasses and spoke, “The Dresia as they called themselves once was almost psychic. They can touch a person or hold them close to see into their hearts. When they do, they can actually see those people that are destined to meet their counterpart. They were of aquatic nature as they loved swimming the oceans. However, they could stand and walk as they interacted with the other bipedal aliens. During the war before the Dresia met humans, they were slaves to a group of space faring warmongering race known as the Sikkirian.”

The holo shifted to show a few scowling reptilian like beings. They were filled with hatred and malice. Ashlyn studied them curiously as Herman replied, “The Dresia and the Sikkirian share a symbiotic relationship as we did once with some of our own throughout history as masters would do to their slaves. These reptilian beings made slaves of the Dresia, destroyed their culture and shortened their lifespan considerably as they raped them, tortured them and treat them like dirt. It was terrible and it was like that for most of their lives for centuries. The culture of the Dresia was dying slowly.”

The teacher cleared his throat. Picking up the glass of water on the table, he drank it to douse his parched throat. The Holo-images showed the Sikirians in detail from their diamond hard scales alongside their counterpart the Dresia as he resumed,

“It was through our interference that we had saved their culture. We salvaged their culture from a millennia old slavery from the Sikkirians and introduced them to our Terrian Alliance. We made our peace with both of them through a stable treaty. However, the damage was done. The Dresian culture was long gone. To pay us for being their saviors, the Dresia made them available to us. Having no home and no culture, they implemented themselves into ours.”

Herman finished the glass of water and placed it back onto his table. He finished, “This was a prime example of what the consequence it was for our interference. However, no matter of the consequences, the Dresian owed their lives to us. In doing so, they changed their race name into Tricetra with the Tri meaning three and cetra meaning an extra appendage for their unique ability to look into the hearts of others. They can actually see when they hold someone close to them. It works the same way as if someone rapes them and they see something, but they don’t do that anymore.”

He let out a sigh and a slight shudder while continuing his presentation. Ash listened with her curiosity in this new information.

Part 5.10 of 10.10: Ashlyn’s little present from her only friend in the world...

A week later, Ash was seated under a shade of the tree. She was halfway from her school. It was summer time. The girl watched as domesticated animals walk by led by a farmer. The farmer was leading his flock across the field. He let out a shout and nodded waving. Ash watched him go.

Today was her birthday. She didn’t bother telling anyone because she didn’t care. However, there was one specific person she told because he asked her. She hated birthdays and never wanted to celebrate them because of her father. Several footfalls came from behind her. Ash woke up a bit as Cameron tackled her into the ground. He was giggling.

Ash let out a snarl grabbing her attacker on the throat. Twisting her agile and strong body around, she thrust him harshly onto the ground and clenched her fist priming it. The ten year old was bigger than him. Cameron held onto her strong arm giggling madly as he yelled out, “OW! That hurt. Let go!”

He was laughing in his own pain confusing her. Scowling at him, she uttered a low growl and let him go. He counter tackled her onto the ground. Ash pulled up a bit setting herself back against the tree. Cameron flipped over and sat on her chest. Holding out a homemade chained necklace, he spoke, “Ashlyn, it’s your birthday present from me. You’re ten now!”

He got up pulling on her shirt to have her sit up onto the tree. He placed it around her neck offering a smile, “It’s called a choker. Well, they called it a choker, but yeah. Anyways, it’s a type of necklace, a present from me. I made it! Actually I made it months ago on a February. It was Valentine’s Day! I wanted to give you one, but I was too embarrassed. Didn’t think you would like it.”

Ash touched her small choker and let out a slight growl. He replied, “But eventually An’Pol, my teacher, she convinced me that if I like someone that much, then I shouldn’t be embarrassed. I should just give you one and so I did. She must have touched my heart or something and looked into my desires. She’s a Tri-Tri, umm. OH! A Tricentra! So, you like it?”

Regarding him with curiosity, Ash grunted once nodding. She stroked the metal on her choker.

“Umm-,” Cameron spoke again gazing on her. He was still seated on her lap. Taking her strong arm, he laid besides her and spoke, “You’re quiet. I like you.”

They sat down in silence watching the peaceful scenery. The sun slowly went down. It was her birthday and she didn’t care about her curfew anymore. The only one who actually cared to give her anything was the one that confused her enough to not bite his head off.

“Ashlyn?” Cameron asked after about an hour. They were still seated next to the tree. The sun faded falling slowly behind the mountain.

“Hmm,” Ash grunted once.

Cam touched her arm feeling her strength. He touched her slightly raised bump over her shoulder as he whispered into her ear, “You’re so strong. Why does your father do what he does?”

Ash grunted again with a singular shrug, “I don’t know.”

Cameron sat up and placed himself in front of her. He started fiddling around with her new metal choker and asked again, “Do you mind me asking? Where-”

He was cut off by her sharp snarl as she bared her teeth. He gulped, stopping his tongue in time as she spoke harshly, “Careful. Do not ask another personal question.”

It’s okay. I won’t,” Cam placed a strand of dark hair out of her dark eyes. He spoke, “I lost both my parents in a fire when I was born and ended up in an orphanage where I’ve been growing up ever since. I don’t mind telling you this because An’Pol, she says its starts healing process if we talk about our family and the loss. She also says not to force things out of people if their loss is greater. So, I understand, I think. I won’t ask if you won’t.”

Cameron let out a sad sigh. Ash snarled trying to understand him. He was confusing her more. Grabbing his shoulders, she harshly pushed him aside. She got up and walked away.

“Hey! Wait!” Cam stood and ran after her. He tried again by grabbing her hand. She let out a snarl, but he kept holding her hand and brought himself closer to offer his comfort placing his hand on her thick arm. The beast let out a low growl. It was her way of sighing in defeat as she walked with him while the sun went down. She passed the boundary alone leaving Cam behind.

She does not abide weakness. Cameron was weak. That was what Ash felt so she tried to teach him by pushing him away. The ten year old birthday girl finally stopped before the door and opened it. She cringed a bit. Seeing no one, she let out a little sigh and entered. Her father must have already gone to bed. James never really cared for her much anymore. He didn’t even acknowledge her birthday. She walked off to go to bed alone as darkness fell around the Techryn household again.

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