Chapter 21:

Chapter Seventeen: The Twins of the Rhyine

Beyond the Borders Volume 1

Reki and Neki Kuuhaku were only ten‑years‑old when their home was razed
to the ground. Fire continued to spread, destroying buildings and
forcing villagers to flee in terror. Parents ran through the streets
with their children in their arms trying to escape the horrors of the
war.Bookmark here

Before the Kuuhaku twins could fled with their parents to the outskirts
of the city two soldiers of the Sylverian Army gunned them down in front
of them. Seeing their parent die broke both twins mentally. Without
hesitation they encased both soldiers with their earth magic and crushed
them in a coffin of dirt and rocks.Bookmark here

Both twins fled the city and traveled with a few of the other kids that
were running from the war zone taking place. As nightfall came all the
kids made camp on the road to Mejorin. Reki and Neki sat alone in an
earth hut they made and spoke to no one. Both of them were angry at the
Sylverian Army, maybe even the world.Bookmark here

As the two twins laid there awake in their hut a little girl — who was
no more then six years of age — innocently made her way inside.Bookmark here

“Would you two like some—”Bookmark here

Before the girl could finish her sentence Neki shot a small rock at the
girl’s forehead. The small rock acted like a bullet, piecing the girl’s
skull and entering her brain only to fly out the other end. Within a
matter of milliseconds the little girl laid there dead at the entrance.
Neki looked to her sister.Bookmark here

“I say we kill this whole camp.”Bookmark here

Reki simply nodded.Bookmark here

Within a few seconds both twins killed the whole camp of twenty or so
kids between the ages of four to twelve. A river of blood stained the
once green grass in a now dried crimson. With all the kids dead the two
twins made their way to the City of Mejorin. Both of them knew what they
wanted to do. As the twins walked the streets of Mejorin they managed to
find shelter in an abandon house that was for sell. For them it would
only be a temporary home until the dawn of a new day.Bookmark here

At the break of dawn Reki and Neki both made their way to a building
that was recruiting people for the Versyian Republic.Bookmark here

“I am sorry but I cannot allow kids of your age to join the Versyian
Army,” said a recruiter.Bookmark here

Reki and Neki stood in the office of one of the Versyian recruitment
buildings. The two of them were annoyed that they could not join the
army to fight the cause. Neki turned to her sister as they walked out of
the building.Bookmark here

“Go find their weapon storage and take a few of their guns. Not too many
but just a few. Oh, and grab some ammo,” Neki whispered.Bookmark here

Reki nodded as she headed for a nearby weapon storage building. Neki
waited at the abandoned house as a few hours passed. After night had
fallen Reki managed to return with a sniper rifle and two automatic
rifles. Neki smiled and placed her hand on her sister’s head.Bookmark here

“You are the best little sister ever.”Bookmark here

Reki smiled as she handed the sniper over to Neki.Bookmark here

“No, you should keep the sniper. You are the quiet one after all.”Bookmark here

One whole year passed as Neki and Reki practiced their weapon training.
The two of them practiced everything they could think of, from firing
weapons at targets to knife combat. Both twins continued to practice
their hand‑to‑hand combat until the sun was just passing overhead. As
they stopped to take a break the two of them noticed a girl who appeared
to be in her teens walking through the forest. They seemed puzzled by
the girl as she did not appear like any other magic‑user they were used
to seeing.Bookmark here

The girl noticed the twins and wondered just who they were and why they
were out here alone in a forest with knives.Bookmark here

“What are you two girls doing out here without your parents?”Bookmark here

“Shut up and get lost!” Neki said as she stood to her feet.Bookmark here

Reki stood up as well.Bookmark here

“Or what?”Bookmark here

“We will kill you,” Neki said pulling out her knife.Bookmark here

Reki pulled out hers as well as the two of them slowly closed in on the
lone girl. The twins surrounded the girl, ready to strike.Bookmark here

“You two should be careful about picking fights you can’t win.”Bookmark here

Reki rushed forward, flanking the girl from behind. Without any effort
the girl dodged Reki’s thrust attack and grabbed her wrist. She quickly
twisted her wrist and threw her to the ground with her arm behind her
back. Like a flash of lightning the girl had managed to disarm Reki and
hold the knife to her throat.Bookmark here

“Sis!” Neki called out as she tried to use her earth magic to attack.Bookmark here

Neki soon realized that her earth magic wasn’t working.Bookmark here

“Wait… what—”Bookmark here

“I told you, you shouldn’t pick fights you can’t win. Consider
yourselves lucky I am not with the Sylverian Army.”Bookmark here

The girl release her grip on Reki and picked her up from the ground like
it was nothing. Reki quickly ran over to her older sister.Bookmark here

“It is clear by the look on both of your faces that you two hate the
Sylverian Kingdom. As luck would have it I too happen to hate the
Kingdom of Sylveria,” the girl said as she threw Reki her knife.Bookmark here

Reki caught the knife as the girl began to walk towards the twins.Bookmark here

“You two may be to young to join the fight but in time you will be able
to. Until then, join me and we can bring a new era into this world.”Bookmark here

“Oh? Give us one good reason why we should join you?” Neki asked.Bookmark here

“Because I plan to kill the root of all our problems, the Emperor of
Sylveria himself.”Bookmark here

Both Neki and Reki appeared shocked at the words that came out of the
girl’s mouth. They both found it hard to believe that this one girl
would bring about the fall of an evil kingdom like Sylveria but somehow
they felt as if she was serious. The two twins looked to each other.
Without a single word they both nodded and looked up to the girl.Bookmark here

“All right, we will join you, but what could you possibly teach us?”Bookmark here

“Oh there is plenty I can teach you.”Bookmark here

Without another word the girl headed East for the City of Ezorn. Both
girls followed the girl in silence until Neki finally asked a question
on her mind.Bookmark here

“What is your name?”Bookmark here

“Layla Veltress.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Neki and Reki continued to do push‑ups with mud caked on their faces.
The two of them had spent years training with Layla and learning many of
the skills she had learned in the military. As the rain beat down on
both of the girls Layla looked to her stopwatch.Bookmark here

After completing one hundred push‑ups in only a minute both twins stood
at attention. Layla smiled as she handed both of them a dagger. Walking
a few meters away from them she pulled out her dagger and turned to
them.Bookmark here

“Now, attack me.”Bookmark here

Both twins rushed at Layla as she readied herself. She could read their
attacks like a map — dodging and blocking their strikes — only
counterattacking when the time was right. Without their earth magic both
twins found it even harder to land a single blow on Layla as she threw
them to the ground time and time again. By the end of the day both twins
were covered in mud and dried blood from their nose bleeding.Bookmark here

“That is enough for today,” Layla said as she sheathed her dagger.Bookmark here

Reki handed her dagger over to Layla as Neki thought about what to do.
Deep down she didn’t want to give up but part of her knew that it was a
losing battle. Even still, she knew she had to keep trying as that was
all she could do. As Neki walked closer to Layla she played out in her
mind how she would attack her when her guard was down.Bookmark here

Like a coiled cobra, Neki tried to pierce Layla’s rib‑cage. Within the
blink of an eye Neki found herself staring at the tip of the dagger.
Layla had managed to disarm her — forcing the dagger to stick up
straight in the ground — along with bending back her arm and holding her
back the tips of her hair.Bookmark here

“You know, if I was to drop you, even from a few centimeters here, this
would still be enough to kill you with that dagger,” Layla said as she
continued to hold her.Bookmark here

Neki could not speak as she began to see her life flash before her eyes.
Layla threw her to the side and picked up her dagger.Bookmark here

“I admit that was a nice try but it was easy to read that sneak attack
from a kilometer away,” Layla said as she wiped the mud from her dagger.Bookmark here

Layla held out her hand as Neki looked up to her.Bookmark here

“Come on lets go back home. You two deserve a bit of rest.”Bookmark here

The three of them headed back to the City of Ezorn and into the warm
house that Layla called home.Bookmark here

Layla’s home was located on the thirteenth floor of a penthouse
apartment and quite big for an apartment. The main room was decorated
with a dull gray carpet and white opaque walls. There was hardly any
furniture to speak of aside from a large fireplace near the center of
the North wall. The West wall was mostly a large glass window that
showed the busy city street below.Bookmark here

Neki and Reki removed their combat boots at the door as Layla did the
same.Bookmark here

“You two can take a warm shower. I will get the fireplace going to try
and make it a bit warmer in here.”Bookmark here

The twins headed for the bathroom as Layla threw a few small logs on the
fireplace. After closing the door behind them Neki removed her sister’s
shirt as Reki did the same. Once they were both naked they turned on the
warm water and stepped into the shower. The two of them could feel their
body starting to get warmer as they slowly washed each other’s hair.Bookmark here

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