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 Katsue's Mysterious Voyage

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PostSubject: Katsue's Mysterious Voyage   Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:03 am

(This could actually turn into a thread if the charas who will appear in her visions make posts out of it. Anw)

''So what are you saying?''

Katsue gave her master a blunt, underwhelmed stare. Lately, she was becoming increasingly convinced that the old man was growing senile. It seemed she was patronizing him more and more, with reason. She often times felt like his whims – which, incidentally, also increased in number – were caused by his reverting to a child's mental state. Such a thing could happen with age, and Hajime could no longer hide behind his fifties.

As time went by, she questioned his abilities as her teacher, especially since he'd only been sending her on random errands for the past few weeks. Then, she would remind herself of what a skilled man he was, what a wise mentor he had been and what power he withheld. Power she had had the chance to witness. There was none other like him. Her doubts dissipated, for some time. She followed his instructions, firmly believing he was the only one who could train her and make her the best. The best warrior Carista had ever seen.

Now, he was on the downhill slope of that cycle yet again. They were face to face, at arm's length, kneeling on the wooden deck outside Hajime's residence. Or rather, his school. Where he once trained dozens of children in the martial arts and in the control of the Earth element. Nowadays, the school was empty, since its headmaster had left to focus on his ace student, his protegee. He still held deep affection for the establishment and planned to one day re-open its doors. However, his mission was clear and his heart was set on it. He would train this young woman and try to keep her on the right path. No matter what, he couldn't leave her behind. He had to watch her grow.

The courtyard beside them was as stunning as when they had left; Hajime making sure it be tended to during their absence. The lawn was lush, punctuated by exotic flowers and plants. Off the deck, a stone path led to a wide Koi pond that took up half of the space. A tall wooden fence blocked both view and chatter from the 'outside world'. Here, only peace of mind was allowed. The garden said simple and soothing. Even Katsue had to admit it brought her a sense of tranquility.

''You've finally lost it, I see'', Katsue snorted. ''I was hoping it would wait a little longer seeing as, you know, I haven't really gotten that much better since the beginning of my training!''

She coated her words with a sharp edge; while they weren't true she still wanted to get her point across. Hajime couldn't be lackadaisical about her training forever. Yes, she had improved, gotten stronger and learned a great deal being his apprentice. But, it wasn't nearly enough. Hajime took things too slowly, believed too highly in patience, thus her growth took years to show. She felt that way, in any case.

''Always with the training!''Hajime reprimanded, with a slight whiny tone to his voice. ''Katsue, you must relax more; how many times have I told you?''

''Too many. How many times must I ignore you before you take a hint and give up?''

Hajime shook his head with a disapproving click of the tongue. She knew by now it was just an act. When he opened his eyes, he looked at her more seriously.

''What I've just spoken to you about is not the fruit of my fading sanity, Katsue.''

She recoiled slightly at that. Was the geezer a mind-reader or something? He went on:

''It is very much true, and you could benefit from the experience greatly.''

He took the cup that rested next to him and placed it between his student and he. It contained a brownish, olive-tinted powder. He poured hot water over it and mixed gently. Then, he looked up at his apprentice.

''The powder you saw is a very powerful blend, concocted solely by master Health users. It makes for a delicious tea, too!''he added. ''Drink it, and it will allow you to see deep inside yourself.''

''That's what you told me...then I assumed you were crazy.''

He smiled oddly.

''I'm not obligating you to do this. After all, even if you intake the mixture it is not guaranteed it will have effect. The will of the user to undergo the experiment is crucial, it will surely fail without it. I suggest you try.''

She eyed the mixture curiously.

''I just have to drink it and bam, some epiphany will hit me?''

''No, no, like I said, your mind must reach a special state. After drinking it, you must meditate first and foremost.''

She rolled her eyes. Of course. When had there ever been no meditating? Never, that's when. She eyed the tea again. She knew she could trust her master, but still there was something unsettling about drinking the blend. See deep inside herself? No thanks: she was pretty messed up. Her inner self was no one she ever wanted to meet. If Hajime said she could benefit from it, though...She looked at him, and inquired:

''What does it show me, exactly?''

He paused, seemingly studying her face. Then, he explained:

''Experiences vary. It can show you the past, the present or the future. Or all three. Note that it is only a constructed image of those times, made from your inner thoughts and views.''

''You mean...what I think my future will be and how I see my past?''

''Yes, very good'', he hummed. ''Normally, when the visions come together they are not that far off the truth, but they are not to be taken too seriously. They could show you nothing, as I've warned. It is harmless to try. The blend will have no effect if the user is not ready both mentally and physically, thus no damage can be made.''

That's not quite true, he thought. If she fooled herself into thinking she was prepared for anything, she could be scarred by the visions. Nevertheless, Hajime had faith in his student. Otherwise he wouldn't have encouraged her to undertake the experiment. Katsue nodded, eyes falling to the cup. She stared at the depths of its contents, searching for the bottom. When it couldn't be found, she took a decisive breath in and brought the cup to her lips. Slowly, she drank the tea under the watchful eyes of her master.

She set the cup down and rested her hands on her knees. She closed her eyes. Meditation had never been a practice she enjoyed, and she had taken years to get a hang of if. Now, at least, she was able to slip into the desired state without too much trouble. She used the same trick Hajime had given her at the start of her training: focus your thoughts on one thing only, then gradually let it fade. It worked on her much better than trying to block out the world right away.

She began to picture a fight, a sword fight, more specifically. She knew it wasn't the best image to help her relax, but it came to her easier than anything else. She dwelt on the little details; the sparks flying from the clashing blades, the sound they made as they sliced through the air...all the while ignoring the wielders, not giving them faces or notable features. The katana were the key element of the picture. After all, nothing fascinated her more.

She imagined drawing closer to the blades, until her mind was filled exclusively with the color of their steel. Eventually, it faded, and she was left with nothing but the void of her mind. She heard nothing and saw only black. She was perfectly still. From then on came the hard part; not letting any thoughts pop up. But therein lied the art of meditation.

Before her mind had gone completely blank, she had wondered about a few things. Would she find out something surprising? By diving into her inner self, wasn't she breaking some kind of rule? Hajime had suggested the idea, so it had to be fine. However, some things were meant never to be known...She couldn't believe she was having second thoughts, especially with such cowardly excuses, and resumed her exercise. Whatever she came across during her 'soul voyage', it wouldn't affect her whatsoever. She already knew enough about who she was, after all. Her past was painfully vivid to her, her present well within her grasp and her future already clearly mapped out.

She opened her eyes with finality like the period of a sentence.

''It's not working.''

The old man sighed, taking in his student.

''You're rejecting the pull of the mixture. You shouldn't view this as a challenge, it automatically blocks anything from entering your mind.''

Again, how did he figure out something like that? That she considered the experiment a challenge. Hajime definitely knew her way too much for her liking. She shrugged, with a bored pout.

''Guess this isn't for me, then.''

She got up and moved to leave, only to be stopped midway by her master's voice:

''It might work if you try it before you sleep.''

Katsue turned her head to look at him for a moment, before saying outright:

''What I'm really wondering, Ji-ji, is why you're so hung up on this.'' (Ji-ji = geezer)

For once, Hajime remained quiet. This was so rare, she made a mental note to never forget this day. She waited around for a bit, before letting out a huff and entering the dojo. She didn't care for his explanations anyway. He wanted to be difficult? Fine, like he ever did give her the answers she asked for. Hajime watched her go, discomfort and conflict apparent on his face.

***
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PostSubject: Re: Katsue's Mysterious Voyage   Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:18 am

Well :I Dunno how all that angst appeared over there...The next part will be lighter.
I kinda don't like how vulnerable Katsue looks in this...I wanted her to look like an emotionless robot a little longer xD
Bear in mind this is just me going crazy with my writing, not holding back, doing what i want and what sounds cool to me :]
---

Katsue woke up with a strange feeling of well-being. Strange in itself since she seldom rose to anything besides anxiety, resentment or fierce determination. She sat up, feeling the futon underneath her. She recognized her room in the dojo. She furrowed her eyebrows; she didn't remember going to sleep. She must've been exhausted the night before. After that unfinished discussion with Hajime, she'd vented her frustration in training. She hadn't stopped until her vision became blurry.

The geezer, she thought sourly. She had half a mind to go beat him senseless until he choked out all the answers she had ever wanted from him. Most recently was obstinacy at making her ingest his weird powder. Hajime was a 'live and let live' person. He never forced her to do anything; always leaving the choice up to her. Yet, he had been so pushy yesterday. He may have been a self-proclaimed, phony (note: those are Katsue's thoughts!) sage, but he wasn't above having hidden agendas. He could plot. He could scheme. Deep down, he was just as sneaky as the next guy. Katsue huffed angrily to herself. She would find out the meaning behind his behavior today, at all costs.

She got up and slipped into her training gear. If the conversation went how she imagined it, she'd need it soon. Hajime was passive about everything, except when it came to her. And the stuff he hid from her. She gritted her teeth; and boy did he hide things from her! She thought furiously – and with a hint of envy - that he probably hadn't been so secretive with his other students. She pictured Hajime telling her 'it's because you're special.' She felt like hurling.

Sasayaku was leaning on the wall in his usual spot, tucked in his sheathe. She took him gently, not to say lovingly, and slipped him into place. Come to think of it, she hadn't sparred with the blade in a while. With a living opponent, anyway. Hajime fought with hand-to-hand, or using his element, and she hadn't had the chance to face a different opponent since her return to the dojo. She felt it in her; the need for violence, for the rush brought to her only by a real fight.

It was decided then. Once she was done chewing Hajime out, they were taking off. He would probably whine and argue but she'd get her way. Even when she couldn't convince him with her words, her master always ended up following her by sheer concern for her. She rolled her eyes. Really, the man had absolutely no faith in her. It was infuriating and saddening at the same time. She would never admit the latter, however.

''Ji-ji!''she called, leaving her room.

A few seconds passed while no answer came. She headed towards the garden, where Hajime was probably doing his morning meditating. She saw the screen doors, just a few steps ahead. She stopped in her tracks, noticing that two shadows stood behind them. She could see them, at about a five feet distance from each. Both men, Hajime and someone else. One of the silhouettes seemed shorter, like he was hunched over.

''Stay back, Katsue! Don't come here!''

Her eyes widened. It was her master. Not only had he seemed out of breath, there was distinct urgency to his voice. It took her some time to move, which was odd, taking in consideration her usual top-notch reaction time. She was halfway through pulling out her katana, about to rush outside to aid her mentor and find out who the Hell he was dealing with, when a second voice came:

''What's the matter, Katsue?''

She froze, eyes wide open and staring at the screen door. Her arm stayed in mid-air, hand still gripping the hilt of her katana. She heard her master again, this time he sounded even more desperate:

''Get out of here! Now! Get out and we'll talk about this later!''

She barely even registered his words. Was he even speaking? He sounded so far away, despite his shouting. She only heard one voice.

''Who will you listen to? Him...?''

That voice.

''...Or your father?''

She remained utterly paralyzed, eyes darting back and forth, lips quivering. Her father, right behind those doors. Her goal. The reason she lived on, the reason she endured everything else. She felt like her heart raced and failed at the same time, felt frozen and ablaze altogether. She felt like screaming. Her mind was screaming. Thoughts jumbled up, like a million voices screeching in her head. She hated it. Hate hate hate. She hated him.

Her hand tightened on Sasayaku's hilt. She took one hasty step forward and gasped as she tripped and fell head-first on the floor. Upon impact, she couldn't help shutting her eyes. When she opened them, she noticed the ground looked darker than before. She brushed her hands against it and realized it wasn't the polished wooden floor of the dojo. It was earth, slightly damp.

She got up at break-neck speed and looked around, heart pounding, trying to look everywhere at once. Sweat ran down her back. She wasn't in the dojo anymore. She was outside, and it was night. It was too dark out to make out anything much, but somehow, the place felt familiar. She could see a huge, black gate past a row of trees. Anything beyond that was lost to the shadows.

She couldn't even begin to ask herself the obvious questions: what had happened, where did Hajime and her father go...She couldn't seem to focus. Her head hurt. She still felt like screaming. Where was her father? She stared at her hands, as she opened and closed them, lifting them up to her eyes. If he was here...if Lucius was here...What if she could hold him between her hands, just like this...

''Haha-ue...'', she whispered. (Haha-ue = very respectful way of saying mother)

She could see her, in the gap between her hands. She was sitting against one of the trees. Katsue's arms fell limply against her side.

Mirai was there. She seemed a bit tired, her breath just slightly ragged. She looked up at her daughter with a sad smile. She looked exactly like Katsue remembered her. A gentle beauty; with long and glossy ebony hair, kind eyes...Her arms were folded atop her thighs, and her legs were partly pulled against her. Like she was trying to make herself comfortable, but it looked fake. There was worry in her eyes, as she buried them inside Katsue's.

And love. So much love.

Tears prickled Katsue's skin, beginning to form under her eyes. She reached out towards her mother, taking a clumsy step forward.

''Haha-ue'', she choked it out this time.

Mirai jumped ever so slightly and, with a simple look, beckoned her daughter to halt. She was still smiling with the same sad, distant expression. Katsue wondered why she wouldn't speak to her, why she didn't run to her. It was her mother. She missed her so much. If Lucius was everything rotten and sick in her, than Mirai was everything pure and wholesome. Time and again Katsue had dreamed of slipping into her arms once more, of feeling the reassuring heartbeat against her ear, enveloped in her sweet smell...

A shadowy figure stepped out from behind the tree, quiet as a mouse. The silhouette came to stand in front of Mirai, hiding her partly. It was a man, tall and lean, dressed all in black. The moon emerged from the clouds and shone upon his face, just as Katsue tried to make him out. She hated him already. He was threatening her mother, she knew it. She still couldn't move.

He had serious, mature traits. His eyes were stern, but she felt like they could see right through her. They were clear, icy blue. His hair was as black as hers, just a bit longer than the usual and slightly unkempt. She recognized him. She had seen him before, in a picture.

It was her half-brother. Curtis Trancy, the heir to the Trancy name. Lucius' pride and joy and fire wielding prodigy. He stared at her, with a pout that showed boredom and a hint of contempt.

''Give up already'', he muttered softly.

He breathed in and blew fire out of his mouth, creating a screen and separating Katsue from her mother and him. The fire was impressive, almost ridiculously so, blazes licking the ground and spreading at at dreadful velocity. She thought of running through the flames. By now, the wall of fire was so large, she would undoubtedly find her demise. She backed away, shaking her head. She couldn't die. She couldn't die because she still had to kill Lucius and avenge her mother.

The flames scorched her skin and she squeezed her eyes shut, holding back a cry.

***
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PostSubject: Re: Katsue's Mysterious Voyage   Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:37 am

''Stronger...Gonna get...Gonna get stronger. I'm gonna get stronger...''

As she muttered the words like some kind of protective chant, she wasn't aware of anything around her. She remembered the flames, but didn't feel the heat against her anymore. She could feel her arms clutching her legs, but aside from that, there was nothing. Her eyes were nearly closed, staring blankly at the crook of her arms. She could barely string any thoughts together; as if they were all jumbled up. She could only form the words she was spewing right now, words too familiar.

''Spirits' teeth...Did you jump into a volcano or something?''

Katsue scarcely heard the voice speaking to her. She was still murmuring to herself. However, the lingering feeling of discomfort was slowly leaving her, replacing by something soothing, gentle. The voice came again, more insistent this time.

''Hey, Katsue,''

Something pried her arms apart. Katsue looked up, eyes still glazed over. The person in front of her looked blurry as it said:

''What are you muttering about?''

Finally, Katsue made the effort to blink and study the person. At first, it clearly became a woman, then when more details came into focus, the face started looking familiar. Long, dirty blonde hair, and clear blue eyes looking at her with concern. When Katsue recognized her, she turned her head away, realizing her predicament. She didn't want anyone seeing her like this, weak and broken. Especially not Stian, whom she'd already shown enough of her weakness to. (Note: hasn't happened yet in the Stian-Katsue rp!)

''What are you doing here?''she managed to grunt.

''I was looking for herbs when I found you, passed out on the ground. I healed you.''

''Healed...?''

''You had scorch marks all over.''

Stian stopped there and Katsue knew the sentence was over for her. The Health user wasn't going to pry, probably didn't even particularly want to. If Katsue didn't pause to recall earlier events, she would've smiled at her friend's considerate nature. But, all she could think of now was, well...all the madness that had happened earlier. It should've appeared like madness, but she didn't see it that way. She only saw events as they were, and soon her head throbbed and she had to hold it between her hands.

She heard a sigh, and felt a hand pressed against her forehead. Soon, the pain dissipated. Katsue opened her eyes to stare up at Stian. She wore the half-neutral, half-pensive expression she often wore when Katsue had seen her last. Katsue could tell there was always a lot going on in her head, while it stayed there most of the time. Another thing she appreciated greatly. Although, since she couldn't be brought to care about anything or anyone right now, she most likely would've ignored even the most talkative, loud and obnoxious child. She made a point out of ignoring Stian too, trying to block her out.

''My horse isn't far. Think you can ride?''

Katsue ignored her still. She could almost feel the slight frown on Stian's face as she continued:

''You're going to stay here, then? Way out here?''

Katsue grunted in response. It meant yes, and leave me alone.

''What if I tell you I need an escort?''

Katsue cracked open one eye. It was plain to see Stian was just using that as an excuse to get her to move. To the last she knew, Katsue was a violence-driven crazy person drawn only to fights. It was still the truth, but not right now. The Earth user closed her eyes again and mumbled:

''Heal them to death.''

''You must be fine if you're saying stuff like that.''

Another sigh. Then:

''Alright. Village is this way. Walk there when you're ready.''

Katsue opened her eyes to watch as Stian walked away, disappearing into the bush surrounding them. For a moment, the younger woman felt like reaching out, stopping her. She didn't of course, and the fleeting thought left her confused and disappointed in herself.

Stian was...a person who's company she enjoyed, without having to fight her, at best. Or maybe she was a friend. Sorta. Even so, she couldn't understand. Couldn't do anything for her. No one could. Katsue soon started brooding again, burying her face between her knees.

She was pulled back to attention by the sudden sound of a snort. At first she ignored it, until a snide voice said:

''Aren't you just the scariest warrior of all time. Finally embracing the true nutcase within, copper-top?''

''Shut up, brat.''

She didn't even need to look up to know that Haruna was speaking to her. She would recognize that knowing, smug tone anywhere. At this point, Katsue didn't even bother to acknowledge her presence any further. Didn't even bother to wonder why she was here, and how she had gotten here. Nothing made sense. Nothing mattered anyway. She heard the annoyed click of a tongue.

''Fine. Sulk forever. Take one for society and stay hidden forever.''

It was Katsue's turn to click her tongue. If Haruna's plan was to make her snap out of her self-wallowing state by angering her, it was working. Katsue already felt a bit more like getting up and slitting her throat, rather than brooding. She gritted her teeth and glared up at her rival.

''I said shut up. Go look for that soldier kid or something.''

Haruna glared back, and the glaring contest went on for a moment, before something weird happened. The Terran in front of her started fading away from sight, as if she was disappearing into thin air. Everything around Katsue started to fade as well, and gradually turn to black. She had time to see a potato roll by before she passed out for good.

***
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PostSubject: Re: Katsue's Mysterious Voyage   Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:32 pm

***

Katsue felt something moist on her face, moving from her forehead to the back of her neck. She could hear a faraway voice speaking to her soothingly. It took her a good five minutes, even after recovering that small bit of consciousness, to open her eyes. When she did, it was partially, and she could only make out a big, round shadow looming over her. She later realized it was a head, and that someone was watching over her.

''Ji...ji?''

She had started to make out his balding head and wrinkly face, but she had recognized his voice first-hand. She sat up, and regretted it almost instantly. A pounding headache struck her as soon as she did, and she had to press on her temples not to scream. She clenched her teeth while the pain faded. Then, she took a good look at her caretaker. Indeed, it was her master, and he wore a look of concern. She tried to speak up again, but her words came out as a groan:

''What...?''

''Shhh, you shouldn't talk. Just take it easy, you'll feel better soon.''

As to be expected, she didn't listen to him and tried to question him a second later. Halfway through the first word she started coughing her lungs off. She heard a sigh, then was ''gently'' brought down on the futon. She struggled, stiffing up and fighting the pressure, pushing Hajime away and making him frown.

''Hopeless, you're my most hopeless student...Stop wasting your energy.''

''Ji-ji...what happened? Why do I feel like shit?''

''Later.''

''Now'', she grunted.

A sigh. Then Hajime left the room, to go fetch water. While he was gone, Katsue took some time to close her eyes and think. Her mind was foggy, and her head hurt, but she remembered her visions. In fact, she was having a hard time separating them from reality. She knew she was awake now; the illusion of dreaming was gone, but she still felt like all she had seen was real. The next thing she knew, she was shaking violently, uncontrollably.

Hajime returned and, upon seeing the state she was in, rushed to her side and held her by the shoulders. She ignored him, looking down at the sheets.

''Calm yourself, Katsue. The after-images should wear off soon...''

There was worry in his voice, although he tried to cover it. Worry, and guilt. She managed to narrow her eyes at him, and ask:

''After-images? What are you talking about?''

''I will explain everything to you later. For now, it's crucial that you relax.''

''Shut up'', she growled. ''I just had these crazy...terrifying dreams. Now what the Hell do you know about them?''

Hajime stalled, looking at her with eyes wide with remorse. He lowered his eyes, breathed in and said:

''Get up, take your time, and join me in the garden.''

He left without another word, and without space for discussion. She glared at him until he was out of the room. At least she had calmed down. Well, fear had been replaced with anger; something she knew how to deal with. After a few minutes of self-suggestion, she got out of the futon and stood up.

She looked around. She was in her room, in the dojo. Nothing was out of place. She was in her night wear, suggesting she'd gone to sleep normally. She wasn't forced, didn't pass out...Now that she thought about it, it made sense. She was slowly starting to recall the previous night. After the talk with Hajime, she had trained for a few hours, eaten, bathed and went to sleep. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, she had had the nightmares.

Why was Hajime acting like such a criminal about it? Treating her like a sick person and looking like he had something to hide?

She gave up wondering about it, thoughts on her dreams overwhelming her. The image of her mother haunted her still, even more so than before this dreadful night.

She shook her head, willing herself to forget about her dreams. She dressed quickly, and took her katana before leaving the room. She walked towards the garden, and as she did, images flashed through her mind. She slowed down until she reached the screen doors, where she stopped completely. She stared at them silently, lips slightly parted. The trembling returned, but she willed it away.

She stepped out into the garden, determined. Hajime was kneeling on the grass, in front of the pond. She went to join him, setting her sheathe down on her lap. She waited a moment, then said:

''I'm waiting.''

''I'm sure you are.''

Yet the silence ensued. Katsue clicked her tongue and warned:

''Come on, what are you waiting for?''

Hajime hesitated, then he began by saying:

''Let me say this first; I'm sorry.''

''What for?''

Hajime turned his head to look at her, and she saw a mix of emotions in his eyes that was enough to shut her up. She stared at him quietly, while he gathered his thoughts. And his courage. Before long she was gazing intently at the pond, unable to do anything else. For some reason, she had a bad feeling about what would come next, and thought focusing on the water would help her cope. Or at least, block out whatever Hajime said if it got too shocking.

''Last night, I mixed the powder in with your meal.''

She could've looked at that pond forever and she wouldn't have felt any better. She convinced herself Hajime had momentarily gone mad and asked:

''You did what?''

''I...I wanted you to learn something from it. I had no idea what visions you would have, what you would see exactly. I just hoped you'd get a glimpse of your future. See what you already know; what your future will be if you keep pursuing your revenge.''

He glanced at her, but her face was hidden by her hair. After a moment he thought endless, she seethed:

''So you're the reason I saw all that. The reason I had to go through that...''

''I'm terribly sorry. I heard you screaming last night. You were writhing, and shaking when I came in. But I couldn't snap you awake.''

Nothing but silence answered him. Hajime was half-expecting his student to pull out her katana and kill him where he stood. Instead, she didn't move. Feeling a bit bolder, he added:

''Katsue, I do regret putting you through that. I never meant to hurt you. However, I still stand by my reason. Ever since I've started training you, I have hoped you would let go of your hatred.''

He paused, then went on:

''I thought the experiment would teach you a lesson. Finally make you give up on your vendetta. I'm sorry, Katsue.''

He expected she would pick a fight, yell, insult him...throw some kind of tantrum! But, for a while, all the both of them could hear was the gentle sound of the pond. For once, Hajime couldn't tell what his student was thinking, how she was feeling. He had always been able to, through intuition, but also because of the bond they shared. He thought that maybe he had lost the ability now, and it could only mean their bond had been severed.

''It did teach me a lesson'', Katsue said quietly.

Hajime looked at her, anxious.

''Even the people you trust most can hurt you, betray you. I'll never forget this one.''

She got up without a word, putting her sheathe back into place. Eyes wide, Hajime turned to follow her. She stopped halfway through the garden.

''My revenge is all I have. I'll pursue it until I die, what becomes of my life doesn't matter. I never believed you would see me through it. I never thought we would part like this either.''

Had Hajime not known any better, he would've said something. Tried to convince her. You'll live to regret a life of hatred, something in the likes. He steeled himself. He knew, already, that his student was worlds away from him. He heard Katsue softly utter:

''Farewell, Hajime-sensei.''

He had been foolish to try that experiment on her. He should have know it would never work. After all, her hatred wasn't something she would let go of through a petty trick. She needed to let go of it herself. He couldn't have done anything to pull her away from it. All he could've done was keep training her, but he wasn't capable of it. He couldn't be part of her quest anymore. Not that he wasn't aware she would simply seek strength elsewhere.

But he prayed she would move on one day. Before it was too late. Because if she kept seeking revenge, even if she exacted it...He shook his head. This is just goodbye, Katsue.

End.

There. I stopped describing Katsue's emotion at the end cuz I can.
So this ended up being a prequel story. After this, Katsue will begin travelling alone, seeking strength on her own. Eventually, she will join the surly fighting girls with Haruna and Miran.
Thank you for reading!
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