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3 Meaningless Sacrifice

Two pairs of small feet ran swiftly through the heavy snow, as the dark blue cloak around Rin fluttered fiercely through the wind.

A sudden screech ran through the air caused Rin's ears to perk up. Recognizing the sound of the falcon's cries, Rin shifts her gaze up to identify the bird flying above her.

A rush of sadness shines in the girl's eyes at the appearance of the familiar bird. Harshly biting onto her pink little lips she runs faster until the petite girl halts near the edge of a cliff.

Detecting the presence of others, Rin turns her small body around to see two tall men in black clothing. Narrowing her eyes dangerously low she backs away slowly from them as they zone in on her.

The men in black snicker at the girl's small helpless figure as they unsheath their long metal swords, aiming towards the little girl.

Grabbing a small pebble from the stony ground, she grips onto it tightly. One of the men in black snickers at the girl's so-called "weapon."

"Now, now, princess what are you going to do with that little pebble?" He sneered.

Following the man's words, with the speed of light, the small pebble flings from the girl's small hand harshly hitting the knee of the mocking man.

Suddenly, experiencing a bone-crushing pain in his leg, the man in black wails painfully as he glares at the little girl.

"You...little bitch!" He shouts gripping tightly onto his sword. "You're going to pay for that!"

Glaring at the approaching men in black, Rin slowly backs away from them until her little foot touches the edge of the cliff.

Looking behind her to see the endless pit of darkness of the cliff, she blankly stares before slowly shifting her gaze back at the men.

The feathered creature, Ju flying above the young girl charges at the men who instantly swat their swords hoping to slice through the pesky bird.

Watching as Ju distracted the men, Rin reaches for another sharp pebble.

However, a strong gust of the wind blows forward causing Rin to lose her balance.

"Ah——" The young girl's faint voice is cut off as her small body plummets down the cliff.

Hearing the girls fading voice, through the corner of its keen eyes the falcon Ju watches as the small round figure disappears down the black abyss.

Releasing a startled cry, it quickly flies down the cliff disappearing from sight.

The men in black stare at the cliff slowly walking near the edge detecting nothing but an endless void. They surely guessed at the end of the stony cliff was either a frozen river or jagged rocks at the bottom.

Either way, there was no way a petite little girl could survive.

Grinning, they quickly disappear from sight to report to their General.

....

"She fell?" The man in red armor stares at the kneeling men in black.

"Affirmative, General. Although we weren't capable to retrieve her body it's most likely she didn't survive." The man in black reports.

Grunting in agreement, the man in the red armor sneers as he stares at the rigid red body in the snow.

Lying motionlessly in the snow was none other than little Rin's mother, Ai.

With her eyes closed, her golden long hair spread elegantly through the cold snow as her white robes were dyed red by crimson blood.

"In the end, your sacrifices were meaningless,"

Latching onto his horse the man rides away abandoning the woman's lifeless figure in the frosty ground.

After the men departed out of sight, silence engulfed the area. In the quiet winter night, a pair of small little footsteps walked in the red covered snow slowly approaching the deceased young woman.

"Mommy..."

After Rin had fallen down the cliff, she had immediately taken into action the angle of her fall. As she tumbled down, the young girl reached for a root in the muddy cliff and climbed to safety with Ju watching over.

Climbing to the top, Rin's small dainty face was covered with scars and bruises as where her cloak was now dirtied with dirt.

Crouching down into the cold snow without a care for the sudden numbness in her knees, Rin stares at the motionless beauty in the snow. Ju rests on Rin's shoulder letting out a faint screech.

Rin gently pets the little birds head, as she then reaches into her dress pocket taking out a red piece of cloth. In her soft little hands were a gold and red silk cloth.

With a golden frame around it, sown in the center was a bright a flaming red and yellow phoenix embroidery. It eyes pierced to life through the neat needlework.

Clutching tightly onto the embroidered piece of cloth, Rin's small little lips lean down to peck the birthmark under her mother's pale cheek.

Carefully, Rin places the sharp metal sword on top of her mother's chest resting her slender pale fingers onto it.

Gathering a hidden white chrysanthemum in the snow, she places it on top of her mother's sword. Kneeling down, the little girl closes her eyes silently praying for the beauty before her.

....

Under the steep snow, the young girl's noiseless footsteps leave a trail beneath the frosty ground. Rin took it upon herself to return to the wrecked village she once stayed in, in search of sufficient supplies for her long journey ahead.

Slowing walking towards the ashed village, the young girl's emerald eyes blankly gaze at the ruthless destruction before her.

The once sturdy wooden houses were now charred black barely able to stand upright. The thick scent of blood drifted through the air, as countless corpses lay motionless on the ground.

In spite of the heart-wrenching scene in front of her, the little girl merely walked directly through the village's path.

"Ju, look around for anything useful," Rin gently commanded the bird.

Flapping its luxurious wings, it flies through the grave air to search. Rin silently walks about the burned village crunching on the shattered pieces of wood beneath her small feet.

Her dull eyes slowly inspect the area around her when she catches sight of a glistening object in the pile of wood.

Crouching down she collects it from the ashed ground to identify the full object in her hand. In her hand obtain an iron double-edge dagger, the blade was thick and sharp appearing to be more than twenty centimeters.

Finding the weapon to be quite useful for hunting Rin places it in her medium pouch.

For the past forty-minutes Rin searched throughout the village for anything that'd help in her travels.

Upon searching, with the help of Ju, she found a dagger, an iron pot, a leather water pouch, and a few torn blankets.

Although she could have found more within the time period, with the harsh wind and snow covering the village she was unable to search for long.

Hence, she exited the village and went in search of shelter.

....

"Cough--! Cough--!"

Trembling from the intense cold, Rin covers her small little head with her dark blue cloak. Ju, resting on Rin's shoulder screeches as it begins to fly above the air in search of shelter.

Soon enough, after what felt like hours, the bird makes its way back to the little girl as it screeches. Lifting her numb little face she follows Ju, where soon the structure of a stone cave could be seen.

Resting herself in the stone cave, Rin huddles into a corner away from the windy entrance. Ju flies near the girl to land in her arms as it snuggles in the girl's warm embrace.

Before long, Rin slowly drifts into a state of darkness - recalling the last words her mother whispered to her before running away.

"Grow strong...my little Rin..."
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