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The Purifiers

September 05, 2015

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September 05, 2015

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Arit Packala Nihs

Part Two: Arit vs. Her Heart

 

With a light punch she easily broke the nose, along with bashing in half of his face, of her human opponent. She sighed as she realized no one from this village would be a worthy opponent, even if she held back. These humans were such weak and pathetic creatures. That last one was the absolute worst. He clearly had no fighting skills and never even stood a chance against someone like her. If he was so weak, then he should have cowered with the masses and accepted his death like the rest of his kind instead of wasting her time.

It was painfully dull. Such flawed and weak creatures that couldn't accept their fate didn't deserve to live. After her encounter with Ziru she was raised to the rank of second lieutenant within the clan. Now she only had to answer to two others, first lieutenant and the war chief himself, Nargs. Despite that she found herself still being stuck with such simple and boring assignments. This was work more suited for a fool like Shas Trintar Faul, the black-furred fox demon that was now third lieutenant. The need for her to stain her hands with scum like this made no sense. Even worse, ever since that battle she found that she could not regain the same thrill as when she fought Ziru. It seemed perhaps she had already faced her best opponent ever and from there on it was only downhill.

She was bored with these insignificant human beasts. With a raise of her hand she gave the signal. Her second in command, a master named Norgin Balt, led the troops into the human village. Until then they had stood on the outskirts of the village making sure no humans escaped. He didn't ask why she ordered them to do it or even why they were attacking in the first place. Even if she tried to explain it to him he probably wouldn't understand. Intellect and strategy wasn't his strong suit and he didn't try to deny it, but he could follow an order through without question even if it meant his life. That made him a good second for her.

She knew she could trust him. There was very little chance of him coming up with a plan to betray her. Also she'd make sure to give him a list of orders to follow out in the worst case scenario, including her death. As a result, if by some chance she fell in battle he'd be able to take over just like she'd still been there to give the orders herself. It was a system that worked well for them both. During his time serving under her command he'd received much glory and honor, as well as tangible rewards for loyal service.

The humans were being cut down mercilessly by the One Hundred as they swept through the village. None of them really stood a chance; this was going to be total extermination. Arit did her part as well cutting down the humans infesting the lands her clan was trying to expand with. However there was no joy in it for her anymore. As she swiftly broke another human her gaze caught a young human boy standing guard in front of a building. His eyes were fiercely determined, as if somehow he'd be able to hold off any that came his way. This boy she saw could have been no more than twelve years of age. For him to have such a look he must've been protecting something important and she was curious what that might be.

She made her way across the battlefield. It wasn't long at all before she was standing in front of the small boy. The boy looked at her. Behind her the One Hundred were running down all the humans and letting their dark desires of causing pain and suffering run wild. Death was not going to come quickly to these people. But the boy couldn't concern himself with that fact, he had bigger problems. Naturally fear was a major emotion running through him. However he used his anger to override it. The anger now burning inside him and the strong desire to protect gave him courage stronger than an entire village.

He was only armed with a flimsy stick, but he attacked with all of his heart. Arit effortlessly grabbed the branch with one hand stopping the attack. With the back of her hand she slapped him across the face. His neck broke instantly from the force. Showing no signs of remorse she stepped over he broken body of the young lad and into the building. Inside she saw an older looking gentleman sitting and drinking tea. This man was probably only about forty years old, half her age. However he still looked older. Humans can be such frail creatures like that.

The man sat there calmly as if nothing was wrong. After he took another sip he placed the cup on the table in front of him. He looked into her eyes and said, "You killed him, didn't you? I told him not to go out there. But he was young and impetuous. He would not listen to me. More than anything he wanted to protect his father and home with his own two hands."

Arit asked, "And what of you? You're not like these others. You're not trying to fight, and you're not running trying to save your miserable life."

In a calm serene manner the man replied, "You have come to kill us, did you not? I can simply look out a window to see that is true. And you are quite powerful, are you not? Yes I would believe you are. I am no warrior and would stand no chance in a fight with you let alone your army. I am an old man and cannot run very well. What good would running or fighting do me? It would simply serve to work into your hands while depriving myself of what joy I can still find. And what of you? You are not like the others either. Instead of lusting after meaningless deaths, you stand here talking to an old man like me. When I look at you I see a beautiful woman struggling against her own heart."

She shouted back, "What?! You think I'm beautiful?!" There was such anger in her voice. All her life she had been called that; she was sick of the insult. Lashing out, she slammed the table against the wall. With the path between them cleared she grabbed him by the throat and started to strangle him. For one born and raised as an oni, beautiful had only one meaning, a term of ridicule. Within her kind she had come to accept the fact that there was no escaping the term, but to hear it from a lowly human was going too far. She wanted to make sure he'd suffer for such brazen disrespect.

As the life drained from his body he struggled to speak. He managed to whisper out, "Go ahead. Maybe my death will help you to make sense of whatever is troubling you."

When his gaze met hers, her eyes went wide with shock. She dropped him and scurried away. Her mind raced, 'Those eyes. His eyes! They're just like ... when Ziru looked at me. There is that same strange look in them ... Compassion! I can't look. I can't!'

Arit was reduced to near hysteria. The thought of someone looking at her like that was hard to handle. Someone having compassion for her! It made no sense. If anyone needed compassion it is anyone who dares to oppose her. She had killed this man's son only moments ago and he could still look at her like that, as if she was the one who needed pity. None of it made any sense; including the fact that she found herself wanting to cry again.

This feeling was as if a lifetime of emotion wanted to release, just that she wasn't capable of comprehending why yet. However, she intended to find out and this old man could help her figure it out, even if she needed to torture it out of him. She grabbed him by the neck again, but this time didn't apply the same pressure to choke him. With a firm grip she dragged him along the ground and out of the building. It seemed there would be one human survivor after all, at least until she could get some answers.

 

*****

 

Shas observed as Arit returned. He had been hoping that she wouldn't. Though the chances were unlikely, there was always a chance the human rabble would get lucky and rid him of her sight once and for all. Like a good third lieutenant, he welcomed back the second with open arms. She wasn't impressed and moved right by him.  Damn he hated her!  Like the self-righteous brat she always was, thinking she's so superior, she acted like he wasn't there! It was like she didn't even have the time to waste on him. If anything she should be bowing down to him! That face of hers demanded it. There is no reason anyone with a face like that had any right to look down at him. His eyes took note of her prize, the human male. He asked, "Brought back a snack for the war chief?" 

She turned and faced him now. Her eyes showed a ruthless disposition. "It was my mission and the human is mine to torment as I please. Now stay out of my business unless you wish to make something of it."

Her expression, the body language in general, showed she wasn't scared. Arit simply stood there and waited for him to make a move. She didn't even take a defensive position. By all rights he should be able to win a confrontation. He was stronger, faster, and his abilities were better developed. Yet, she challenged him every chance she had and was confident enough to not even take a fighting posture just to be safe. This was the woman who defeated Ziru. It would have been foolish to underestimate her. Quickly Shas put an end to the topic, "I have my own orders to carry out. I don't have time to waste on the likes of you."

Arit watched as Shas left. The two of them had been rivals since they were young. Ever since they were kids he'd comment on her human looks. Though she was weaker in ability alone, she made sure to push her mental capabilities so that she could still compete on a level playing field. Her efforts were noted by the lion-headed demon war chief, Nargs. It was this hard work and display of intellect and strategy that allowed someone like her to make it so high within the ranks of her clan. Shas didn't approve. To that point she had always got him to back down through intimidation.

In large she was simply bluffing. Shas was a skilled opponent and she didn't try to lie to herself about that fact. He may not be the quality of Ziru, but she hasn't forgotten the truth of that matter was she lost that fight. If the same situation arose, Shas wouldn't have been so merciful. Even more troubling was he was becoming bolder. Soon she'd have to deal with him. For the moment though she pushed all of that out of her mind. Her human captive was still there and she desperately wanted to try and make sense of some things, like why she didn't kill him already.