Blind ** ******* *****
Fwip fwip fwip.
The sound was like that of a whip cracking through the air. The sound barrier shattered ever so slightly so as to allow a miniature sonic boom to ripple through the atmosphere touching down into the Sinova River where she now practiced her katas. Fish swam away at the sudden small waves whose source was nothing but the extraordinarily swift and beautiful movements of a young girl merely 17 years of age."Not good enough," she whispered, her breathing shaky. She threw another punch. No, not a punch. To say that she threw a punch implies something fundamental - a fist flying through the air. A fist being one's four fingers and thumb curled into a perfect brick that is then yielded forward to the target. That being the case, this girl did not throw punches. Well, unless you chose to define them differently. To define them as something not requiring fingers, or a thumb, or a hand. This girl, throwing her unique "punches", was without hands, and therefore without fingers, without thumbs, and without a fist.
"Hya hya hya!"
But not without skill, unbridled technique, and...Fwip!!...incredible force.
"There. That was a good one."
She composed herself in a stance. Straightening up her body, she closed her eyes and emptied herself of all superfluous thoughts. Slowly, the raging river in which she now practiced her skill became barely a blip on her radar as the world slowly fell and fell and fell away leaving only silence.
My daughter. It is not yet time for you to leave.
A lone thought fell into the silence of her mind. Like a pebble in a pond, like her "punches" in the wind disrupting the peace of the fish that swam beneath her, this thought disrupted her attempt at calm and threw away her sense of peace. And in doing so, seemingly magnified the very flow of the mighty river. The girl, who once was statuesque in her might now yielded slightly. She threw yet another "punch."
The punch was given with what she thought was her full might but it did not even make a noticeable sound. If her prior actions upon nature were like that of a thunderstorm, she was now only a drizzle. Next to the magnitude of her worry, of her desires, and longing, she was always only a drizzle.
"Damnit. Dammit dad! Damnit."
Her concentration fell in one fell swoop and then the river knocked her down. It was not strong enough even on her worst day to make her fall but she was especially out of it, especially outraged, especially indignant. She laid back into the flow of the river, letting herself be swept away like so much fallen debris.
She wasn't someone that allowed herself to float very often. Mostly it was because she was not a laze-around type of girl but also because a small part of her was vaguely afraid or at least reasonably weary of the occasional Water Guppy that were said to hunt in these waters. She felt confident she could handle any threat that came her way but after all, even a giant could be slain when asleep or heavily relaxed. If this could even be called relaxing. It didn't look like it. She was so untrained in the art of taking it easy that as flat and stiff as she was while standing she was not even remotely so while laid back in the water. Her spine beant forward, stiffening itself and preparing for the inevitable sinking that would probably not come.
If a passerby were to come and observe her floating they would not consider it to be the Proxy's daughter. They would think it was three floating stones. Her head of scraggly brown hair, her admittedly generous breasts, and her upturned knees. She was the picture of helplessness, fetal, and she viewed herself in such a helpless way as well.
Surely there was no one as helpless as..."What is this?" A bit of red caught in the corner of her eye. She got up from her "relaxation" pose and stood strong in the water, positioning herself against the waves so they could no longer move her. She was in fight mode.
"Did I hit a rock or so--"
She looks down the direction that the river flowed and saw a man floating in the water. He looked to be about her age but she was no pro at gauging such things when the subject was far away and, well, naked. He was naked. And bloody. He was leaking blood from his head.
She readied herself, bending her knees and positioning herself so that she was facing the area beyond the floating person. Then, in a quick whip-like motion, not unlike her "punches", she lept into the air, somersaulted, and landed in the man's path with a great splash. She faced the body as it floated toward her.
Others thought that she was being silly learning how to do flips in mid-air, but she showed them. A brief smile flickered across her face as she realized this, but it was quickly reduced to a frown as the body which had been floating directly toward her, started to float around her.
She looked on with a rather dumbfounded gaze. This was odd, to say the least. Of course, it wasn't as though the body had made a series of 90 degree turns, to deliberately avoid her path, but considering how fast the flow of this river was (which she had seen sweep away grown men like nothing), it might as well have.
As the body got to a position where it was directly behind her, she turned around and grabbed its shoulders. As she pulled, she found that it was difficult for her to pull it away from the water's flow. It wasn't as though she could not pull the body out of the water if she wanted to, but considering the unexpected amount of force with which the river was pulling, and the force she could muster to pull in the opposite direction, she worried she might pull the body in half.
So she quickly left go. This was strange indeed, but she had heard about this. The stories of her village were more than detailed when it came to dealing with this specific problem.
She broke into a sprint and ran around the body wants more until she was again in its path. She took a moment to pose herself. Her eyes slosed, her stumps touched together, her breathing evened, and in this moment where she needed her calm more than anything, she was very very calm.
She widened her stance, positioned her stump (her "fist"), above her head, and started letting out a volley of absolutely massive punches into the water beneath her. The sound was like the engine revving on a train.
Even as the body got close to her, she still did not stop, confident that her hunch in this situation would be correct. And just as her "fist" only seemed to be a few feet from the body's head, the body changed course in a dramatic way.
It sunk completely beneath the water and then shot itself onto shore like some kind of missile, encapsulated entirely by an oblong sphere of water that kept the body afloat within. When the sphere touched down on the shore, it did so, with what appeared to be four long legs.
"A water guppy," the girl said. Her volley of fists stopped. Its purpose to force the water guppy out of hiding, having concluded, she stood strong and sturdy. And with her eyes, she glared into the eyeless face of the water guppy, or at least what she thought was the water guppy's face.
There is a lot of debate surrounding the anatomy of the water guppy, mainly because it is considered extraordinarly difficult to anatomically define the Armejians which are beings composed entirely out of each individual element. Namely, water, earth, air, and fire, and thus don't have any organs (at least not in the way that humans think of organs). That being said, it is clear to any that it is capable of some level of thought and that there must be an epicenter for such a place, namely a brain, which, upon destruction, rendered the beast dead. This "brain," was considered housed in its head, which, like its legs, extended off of its body like a worm, a worm that now seemingly looked back at the determined young girl ready to square up with the strange being.
But she had to be cautious. Water guppies were considered to be the craftier among the Armejians, able to adapt to most any situation, like water does to an empty glass. Not only that, but she could not simply kill it, as it now held the body hostage, and any damage inflicted on the being might affect the man's body as well. She could just throw caution to the wind, give the beast a strike strong enough to kill it, but not strong enough to blow it to smithereens and then take what is left of the body. Surely a human body was sturdier than what amounted to a sentient puddle of water. Still, she did not know the extent of the man's injuries and so opted to play it safe.
Whatever the case, whatever she intended to do, she needed to do it soon, otherwise the man might drown within the belly of the water guppy before he bleeds out.
She watched the blood slowly oozing out of the man's head and into the watery stomach of the water guppy, and, as if to break her distraction from the horrendous site, a long watery limb extended from what can assumed to be the posterior of the water guppy (a tail perhaps), and began to whip at the girl.
Not used to fighting water guppies, she flinched from the speed at which the tail slapped her over and over again, but soon she collected herself and went to grab for the tail, but it slipped completely out of her hands, rotated around like a tornado and then, seeming as though it would be unleashed on her again, instead slapped the river water, creating a powerful splash that climbed upward, concealing the beast's form.
When the water cleared, the water guppy was no longer there. It had disappeared. The girl was frantic, she thought about where she would go and then she remembered something her father had said to her:
"Now remember, Armejians do not tend to stray very far from their elemental homes. Save for their yearly migration to the land of their creation, Armejia, to reproduce, you will find that even in most dire circumstances..."
The memory cut off, and she sprinted with the flow of the water.
That's right, she thought to herself. A water guppy will not stray far from the river.
She knew the chase was on now. The water guppy had been taking its sweet time flowing with the river's speed, perhaps being cautious, but it knew now that it was being hunted and was surely swimming as fast, if not faster, than the girl was running.
But she knew that she didn't need to be faster than the water guppy per se. That is, she didn't need to catch it. Rather, she needed to catch something else.
As she continued to sprint forward it wasn't long until she finally heard it.
The sound of massive amounts of water descending from a high precipice and smacking jagged rocks beneath.
The Sinova Falls.
The Sinova Falls was not a huge waterfall, but it was more than adequate enough for the purpose of the water guppy, which was to finish off its prey.
A brief shiver went through the girl's spine as she again recalled the stories that her father told to her about the different beasts and people that inhabited the world. The tales regarding the nature of the water guppies she found especially intoxicating. She would listen to these with great fervor as though listening to inherently innocent and harmless fairy tales.
But the water guppy was not fiction. It was a proficient killer that used its nature as living water to its fullest. Those caught by the water guppy could expect a nightmarish time of being tossed against the floor of a body of water until something important breaks, all the while struggling to reach the surface, unable to claw your way to air as your fingers cannot help but graze the body of living torrent - the water guppy - as it refused to leave you. Such poor souls often yielded very quiet deaths, falling into the water and simply not resurfacing, but on occassion these creatures went for more grandiose killing methods, ones that left impressions worthy enough to be retold around the campfire so that kids grow up extra extra weary of the waters.
Water guppies tossed their prey over waterfalls, letting their bones be crunched by the fall, and then collecting the mess, and absorbing it into their "stomachs."
"Ugh," the girl let out as she sprinted forward. "I need to get there in time. I have to!"
She followed the body as it tore through the water, edging ever and ever closer to the fateful drop of the Falls. At best, she was only approximately as fast as the water guppy swimming about its domain of water. Even as hard as she was trying, she knew that she did not have much (if any) hope of catching up to the creature in this situation. That is why she did not bet on catching it at all. That is, she did not intend to run up to it, grab it by the "tail," and twirl it about until the body was released.
She was betting on the small, ever so miniscule, amount of time in which the water guppy would inevitably be slower than her, which would be as it fell down the falls. She was hoping that her maddening and horrifying sprint toward the beast would be enough for it to not feel as though it could waste time attempting a 90 degree turn downward into the water which fell from the falls, but instead fling itself into the air, allowing itself to freefall, and thus not be able to make use of the speed of the water.
If she could force the beast's hand like she hoped then there was at least a chance that she could get ahead of both the body and the water guppy, and catch them both.
The girl roared, letting herself get taken over by the adrenaline. She felt strong, intimidating, she felt like a warrior as she chased the beast down. And though this could have been her imagination, she felt as though the water guppy felt the fear that it wanted to instill within it as it made the hoped-for jump above the falls.
"Yes! You're mine!"
The water guppy was now in freefall. To the untrained eye, it was reaching an entirely uncatchable speed as it hurled through the air. But it was not uncatchable. In fact, the water guppy had given up on being uncatchable when it had left its domain of the water. Surely, this appeared a miniscule difference. Gravity or the force of flowing water. What difference did it make?
It made all the difference.
As the girl's foot reached the very edge of the falls, she bent both her knees as far as they would go, and from the precipice -
-she leapt, or rather, shot herself like a missile through the air, and towards the body and the water guppy.
As she started to pass them both she maneuvered through the air and in the mere second that she was glided through the sky before touching down, she used her momentum and sheer strength to gracefully pull the body from the clutches of the water guppy.
Once she had successfully held the body in her arms, she did a forward flip through the air, and landed facing the falls.
She briefly congratulated herself for performing yet another useful mid-air flip.
The water guppy was still hurdling through the air, right in the direction of the girl. She braced for impact.
The body of the water guppy completely shattered into pieces (or, well, puddles) as it slammed full force against the immovable body of the girl.
She hoped that now at least the water guppy would take the hint that this body was not going to be its prey and get lost. She could definitely demolish it now that it didn't have a hostage but such would still not be easy now that SHE had a "hostage." Not to mention she needed to cover his wound as soon as possible. She prepared herself for a retreat when she noticed that the water on her skin, probably the remnants of the water guppy's body, was beginning to flow somewhere...awkward.
She looked down in between her breasts and saw what looked like a little blue marble, seemingly about to be engulfed by water of the exact same hue.
The girl smirked.
She could not believe her luck. Between her breasts was the solution, the end to her problems. The epicenter, the nucleus, the brain of the water guppy, shimmering like beautiful jewelry.
The girl bent her head down between her cleavage and pulled the marble out with her teeth. The water continued to flow toward it, though, probably sensing the danger, appeared to move a bit rapidly, but it was too late.
The marble shattered between her teeth and fell like little specks of sand into the water, and with it, the remaining "body" of the water guppy.
The beast had been defeated.
As the water flowed off of her body and back into the river, she thought, oh so briefly, of all she had ever learned while in Yarga village. And as desperately as she wanted to leave for greater pasteurs, she knew in her heart that it was a blessing for her to have been raised here, and for her to have a father who cared for her enough to share the stories of all the lands she wished to see.
She quickly ran to shore.
"Damnit dad. Damnit...