This takes place after Rinee is captured by Kino, forced into his army (for about a week) then Battle for Senshuron - which wound up being a smack-fest between the King and Kino.
Rinee woke up completely sore from the shoulder-blades down. Her back felt like it was on fire. The only saving grace was that she was laying on her stomach on some plush material. Soft moans escaped her lips as she relished the long forgotten comfort of what seemed like a pillow. Perhaps if the pain could just go away she could simply melt back to sleep and wake up in her own bed, in her own world.
The muted throb in her back spoke otherwise. It protested its own existence. The world around her seemed to congeal as her senses awakened from their slumber. The air was cool against her exposed lower back, while the rest of her was covered in coarse wool blankets. She began to realize that she hadn't died from blood loss at all - and here she thought she'd been in heaven because of the plush pillow underneath her.
Slowly she turned her head to get some fresh cool air through her nostrils and the movement set fire to her back again, but at least she could have nice air flow now. Opening her eyes, she looked blearily to the side she was facing and saw a figure sleeping beside her, it was small. Definitely not Tharean, or that jerk, Kino. After a few blinks and a tearful yawn she made it out to be a young child, probably no older than five. Carefully she reached up and brushed the hair from her own face so she could see him a little better and tucked it behind her ear.
A small gasp hitched in her throat when she realized that it was the young boy she had dove in to save from the battle between Kino and the king - when they both turned into monsters to fight each other. The boy was sleeping peacefully in the corner - he looked to be unscathed for the most part. She bit her lip, poor thing was probably traumatized.
A snort escaped her, as if she weren't traumatized by this whole thing.
Either way, she needed to get up and check on the others. Rinee knew that there were many who were hurt in the battle and they needed medical attention, maybe her high tech smarts could help those who needed it. Probably not, but it wouldn't hurt.
With the grace of a baby horse's first walk, she painfully rose up until she was in a kneeling position on the bed. Various but numerous parts of her body were protesting the movement, especially her bladder. Then she remembered that this world seldom had indoor plumbing, as her eyes settled on the chamber pot to the side.
Again... she hated this world. Between giant beasts, everything wanting to kill her, to lack of basic conveniences... Oh, she looked down, and waking up completely naked... again. This world could go rot in hell.
Carefully she got up and made her way to the chamberpot. At least, Rinee rescinded, it was inside, and she didn't have to go in the bushes.... again.
Kino pulled another beam from the rubble that remain of the front of the castle. If he had any choice in the matter, he would say fuck them all and depart. But this was his homeland. The Kingdom he was meant to rule, not his brother, but him. The townsfolk had carted off Arcus' body the day before and were now helping to clean up the mess made while fighting.
His father's amber crest beat absently against his bare chest while he pulled more brick and debris from the massive pile. He tossed the beam in his arms to the side while one of his men caught it and then handed it off to one of the townsfolk. He pulled another and repeated the process lost in thought. Bearing that crest meant he was their leader, their king. For so many years he strove for this shining glory, to fulfill his birthright as promised by his father, even before he was the warrior of fire.
Being the king also meant tedious and monotonous duties that he had to fulfill. In all his life, he'd never planned on actually succeeding in taking the castle. Memories of the other night crept back into his mind. The look on his brother's dying face. The look of hatred and betrayal.
After learning of his sister's murder, Kino snapped. Completely.
Any shred of hope he'd had for reuniting with his family had been dashed. His parents were killed, his sister was murdered and he just killed his only living relative, his brother. It made him feel a profound emptiness inside. At least when he'd aspired to being King, he had hopes of reuniting with his siblings and appealing to their father. But they were all dead. Emptiness ebbed at his senses and he was numb. Save for barking orders to his troops in the effort of cleaning up, he could not feel anything but pain coming from inside.
They were almost done sifting through the rubble for the day, and the following day they would begin to rebuild. Everything would be restored, from the castle to all the homes. There were still graves to be made, ceremonies to be held to help the dead move on, there were coronation ceremonies and so many other things to get done to restore the kingdom to its former glory. Not to mention integrating his twenty-five hundred soldiers into the kingdom. Finding homes for them, making decisions and so forth.
All of this work to get done and it meant absolutely nothing to him right now. He couldn't feel anything but pain and emptiness.
"Kino!" Hilde's voice rang out from behind him as he tossed a brick to the receiving soldier. Kino watched his master run up in approach and cross her arm over her chest and bowed slightly in respect, she spoke in his native language, "Rinee-xiaojie has awakened."
"Good." That warmed him ever so slightly, as it had seemed he'd taken to actually tolerating the human girl lately - especially given that she saved one of his younger subjects, "Keep her at rest until her wound has healed, then have her report to me."
"Yes, Xiǎowáng." Hilde winked at him, causing him to stare at her slightly surprised, he was so used to her saying 'Yes Xiao General' in her snarky tone that hearing her call him 'Little King' sounded almost alien to him. The older Puma beast had a tendency to catch him off guard every time. Which made it a little uneasy when a little of the pain left him. He watched her dash back off towards the small house they'd left Rinee in, during the last leg of the battle.
The kind townsfolk had taken good care of her, especially since she was on the brink of bleeding to death. That also ebbed away a tiny bit of the pain.
This also made Kino irritated. As fucking hell.
As a man his heart should be cold, callous, and ready for the next tragedy with open arms. Maybe having his family involved had made him soft. Having people close to him made him soft.
He should be more manly, damnit!
Kino grabbed at the next brick and tossed if viciously to the side, almost decking the soldier, when he picked up another one a second later and started getting more and more pissed off. If the only way to deal with the pain of losing his family was to get pissed off, then fine... he was going to be the best damn pissed off man there was - the most productive one, at least.
It was evening time and the rays of dwindling daylight shown on the opposing wall of the bed. Rinee sat on the edge, while the healer beside her dressed her wounds. A hiss left her lips when the healer stroked her back, "Good as new", a smile stretched across the dark haired woman's face at her handiwork.
The redhead subtly nodded, however still reeling from the sting. It was difficult to shift without feeling an ache as the sword wound stretched from her left shoulder blade down to her right mid-back.
Long strips of gauze wrapped around her shoulders and torso to cover the tender raw threads of flesh that congealed along the thick jagged line down her back. There was enough gauze on her body to be its own less-than-fashionable top that, in no-way, matched the royal blue fluffy ankle length she was wearing. It had been a gift from the boy's mother as a thank you for saving him - especially since her jeans were soaked in blood. The three quarter sleeve teal top she usually wore, and ivory bra were hanging on the bed post, both bearing a slash mark. The back part of her bra had been sliced clean through. Great. The ONE piece of clothing she desperately needed in this foreign world - her precious bra was rendered useless. She would need to repair it later. So far there were no bras to be found, and going on without was simply out of the question.
The woman laughed nervously at her patient, and moved off of the bed at Rinees light hiss. "My apologies," the woman spoke slow and carefully, so Rinee could understand. The healer stepped close to the small fire stove close to the bed and procured a small mug. Spinning on her heel, she offered it to Rinee, "please, drink this."
Steam rose in puffs and filled her nose with the minty aroma. The flavor was pungent with haughty mint after taste that made her cringe at the fierce bite. The healer chuckled at her reaction and motioned for her to drink the whole thing. Sticking out her tongue, Rinee finished and offered the empty mug to the healer. Why was the horrible tasting medicine good for you - she pondered over in her head.
A small subtle jar in her senses told Rinee that someone had entered the house. She glanced at the healer for an answer but the healer, seemed to not notice as she took the mug to the wash stand to rinse it out. The fact that the woman hadn't noticed was enough to make her pause - she found it strange. Faint muffled voices of a conversation pricked her ears, that seemed to start climbing the steps. Still, the woman had not taken notice.
"Someone is coming." Rinee spoke, in surprisingly fluent Okahlian. It was so fluent, it threw her off even more than the approaching voices. At that, she managed a very confused look on her face.
"Huh?" The woman turned around to look at her, in midst of using a towel to dry a mug. "What is it Xiaoxia?" (Little glow of sunrise) Before Rinee could answer, the conversation reached the top of the steps, causing the woman to notice, "Oh!" she nodded and smiled, "Someone is here." The tall woman grabbed a blanket and waved it open. Gently, with a mother's touch, she covered Rinee's front and gently clasped her good shoulder. "Are you feeling up to some late visitors?"
Rinee's facial expression softened, even though she was still confused to the sudden clarity in speech she was hearing, "Visitors are okay, but I am tired." It was the truth. She had been up all day with injuries, and did not rest as much as she should have and her energy levels were dwindling down.
At this point, the two were right outside. The healer grinned, "If they give you trouble, you can call me, and I will shoo them out."
"Would you please stay?" Rinee replied with a small smile. It was then she recognized the voices Tharean and Kino were right outside of the door talking ... almost arguing. She wasn't quite sure how she understood, but they were conversing about training and custody, or something along those lines.
"I know you are probably hungry." The healer straightened and backed away a little towards the door, "I will prepare some soup and be right back."
"Okay." Rinee huffed a little, with the tone of the men's voices, they were probably not the best company right now.
It seemed that the men reached a temporary truce and suddenly a sharp knock tapped at the door. With that, the healer smiled at her, "Everything will be just fine."
Rinee groaned, muttering more-so to herself, "Why do I sincerely doubt that?"
The dark haired woman to chuckled at her comment before opening the door. She eyed the two men with great scrutiny, "Keep it brief, she is still healing."
Both men paused, before Kino started, "Is she able to walk?"
"No. she can barely sit up." she paused, then added, "We are lucky that her life (spinal) cord was not cut."
Tharean frowned at that, "How long until she will recover?"
A sigh escaped her lips as the two awaited her response, "A couple days she will hopefully be back on her feet."
The two looked at each other, apparently their argument resurfacing. Tharean inquired, "Is she able to travel on a horse?"
Kino glared at the elf, "The girl stays here."
A tic worked in Tharean's jaw, "It is imperative that she return to Tenkhu -"
"According to our contract, she is enlisted in my army."
As much as he wanted to snarl at the half breed dog, Tharean kept his cool, "According to our contract, you took her illegally."
This struck a nerve with Rinee. 'Uhm, excuse you?' she mentally ranted as they talked about her, only feet away. The back of her jaw clenched, as a subtle anger started to build as they continued. The healer was stuck in the doorway as the two were locked in debate as they had been all the way up the steps.
The woman stared at the two of them drolly, waiting for an opportunity to excuse herself, however the two continued bickering in a relatively calm manner, which made it absolutely terrifying as an agitated aura surrounded both.
The healer frowned and clapped a hand between the two to get their attention. It was quite effective as they whipped their heads - almost in sync to look at her. "She is a human, usually this kind of injury takes twice as long to heal compared to a beast or a halfling." It seems irritation made her ignore the fact that she was chiding the new king, "She will NOT be available for a few days." That promptly hushed them for a second, so she could interject an excuse to run downstairs and get Rinee some food.
The two stared at the woman's fleeing form before looking into the room at a frowning Rinee.
Tharean stepped in first and surveying the room out of habit, "Hello, Rinee." he seemed to say in slow English as Kino watched her silently.
"Hello." she replied in English, through tightly clenched teeth watching him approach slowly. The anger was actually starting to numb the pain.
Tharean knelt before her, making eye contact, "Better do you feel?" There was practically no emotion in his eyes as he asked. Rinee's eye twitched, his English was okay at best.
"Yes." she ground out, again in English.
Tharean glanced at Kino and stared again in Okahlian, "I don't know any more English."
"Is that the shitty language she's been whining in?" Kino inquired gruffly.
Tharean paused, "Yes, it's not a local language."
"Well obviously. I've never heard it before - and I've been to all corners of the world."
They were working on the last possible nerve she had. It almost amused her that she could understand what they were saying. Every single word in perfect clarity.
"If we could have a breakthrough with communication with her," Tharean briefly chewed his lip, "we could settle things more efficiently -"
"It doesn't matter if she can speak the damn language or not," Kino rolled his eyes at the elf, "we determine her fate."
Oh.... that was it.
"Kino?" she spoke softly.
The dog beast eyed her inquisitively. "Yes?" he tried his best at English glancing at Tharean (the English specialist - who nodded) to reassure that he was saying the right thing.
A quiet sigh left her lips as she looked up at him. In seemingly broken Okahlian - trying to appear as if she was struggling just to throw them a little, "What.. is ...most... bad... thing... to show.. someone?" she moved her hands to mean "gesture".
"Offensive?" Kino snorted at the off the wall question, trying to think of an obscene gesture. Then took his stuck his thumb between his curled index finger and his middle finger, and extended his middle, ring and pinky upwards, then and flashed it at her like an American would flash the middle finger.
Tharean quickly looked away in distaste, "You really are vulgar."
Rinee noted the elf's reaction then feigned curiosity before working the gesture into her fingers to practice, "Thank... you." Kino seemed to almost beam at teaching her profanity.
It was then she garnered his attention, She gestured to herself, "This.. mine." She raised a middle finger in his direction - it actually felt satisfying - even though he didn't know what it meant until now.
The half breed laughed, "What the fuck does that mean?"
"Fuck you." Rinee responded cooly in flawless Okahlian.
Both men stared at her taken aback. Once she had their attention, she raised a middle finger in each of their faces, "Fuck you," she glared at Kino, then whipped her head at Tharean, "And fuck you as well."
"What the hell-?" Kino couldn't even finish as Rinee started on them, very cool at first then her voice began to crescendo.
"Both of you can go straight to hell." she ground out, relishing out good it felt to finally say it. "Trying to dictate my life as if I mean nothing." A flush came to her face as she wished she could shove them away, "Both of you are the biggest dicks I have ever met so far on this god-forsaken world!"
Both men were rendered speechless and suffered from Whiplash at her sudden departure from the quiet alien girl to this ball blistering woman that seethed before them. They were damn lucky she was not able to leave her bed, due to her injuries - or at least that's how she felt right then.
For a moment she relented, facing each one respectively, "I suppose I should thank you, Tharean for saving me a couple times - then leaving me out to dry when this asshole," she jerked her thumb at Kino, "came along and - OH!" She turned her attention to Kino, "AND YOU! You who breached the contract terms and kidnapped me!"
Kino stammered, "I - I didn't- "
"I read the damn contract!" (Even though she hadn't understood it at the time, the new language add on that was unexpectedly installed over night was bringing back the words... all of them) her arms gestured wildly as she spoke, "You needed permission directly from the Prince with special cases - and according to Elvish law, section 42, Article V; I AM A SPECIAL FUCKING CASE YOU MORON!!!"
Oh this was the best she had felt in days! All her anger and frustration poured out of her. Her heart humming in her ears at the rush of adrenaline wearing off, she had to catch her breathe.
"I am neither your property, nor your soldier!" Every ounce of her glowered at their completely baffled forms, "And don't think for a second longer that I I will follow you like some helpless dog who can't take care of herself!" She could feel all the energy starting to evaporate as the fatigue from sheer anger was settling in.
"So FUCK BOTH OF YOU!" she shoved her finger in their faces again, this time feeling the pain that the gestures were causing. She visibly winced and maintained it for as long as she could. With all her energy sapped out of her, she was panting.
Moments later the healer poked her head through the door with a bewildered look, "Is - Is everything okay in here?"
The men were still completely stunned at what just happened. Usually Kino would have immediately started arguing back, but he was put in his place on this one, so he remained quiet.
"I'm venting my frustrations to these two idiots." Rinee remarked with a strained expression as she felt the bandages grow warm from blood. She'd gesture too wildly in her tirade. "I think I hurt myself." In all honesty, Rinee couldn't move - it hurt so badly.
The healer gasped, running in and setting down the tray with bowls of soup. Immediately she shoved Kino away in order to examine Rinee, "She's bleeding." It was the woman's turn to glare at the two men, "You upset her, and now it will take her longer to heal!" She pointed at the door, "Please leave."
Wordlessly the two retreated, still a bit in shock. Tharean looked back briefly before closing the door after them.
"Xiaoxia, please calm yourself and breathe deeply."
Rinee started to tremble, mostly because the anger had robbed her of any energy she had, but she could not rest on her back. Part of her wanted to simply collapse but she would start bleeding on the bed if she gave up. Trying to listen to the healer, she took a ragged shallow breathe, and attempted to deepen it at every interval. Soon enough her breathing had slowed, however, she still trembled, even as the healer started using her energy to quick fix her wounds.
A grunt escaped her lips as a fierce burning sensation enveloped her back. "You will be okay, just try to relax, it will hurt for a little while - only because I'm rapidly healing broken skin."
The redhead then started to focus the leftover anger and used it to concentrate on healing - putting it to better use than tiring herself out. This was going to be a long night, thanks to those idiots.
Tharean paused on his way down the steps and looked back at the door. 'Did she really speak that fluently before?' he quietly mused.
Something must have changed, because her demeanor was enraged with confidence and intelligence. Maybe a close call with death must have triggered something within her.
"Tharean," Kino interrupted the elf's thoughts. He looked on inquisitively as the half dog beast continued - looking a bit withdrawn from his usual arrogant demeanor, "I may have breached the contract," he paused then looked away, "however, that does not change the fact that she needs to be ready for an impending war."
"Kino, I understand," Tharean frowned, "However we have to get the paperwork on her going so we can travel around."
Kino's brow furrowed, "Travel? Around?" The words seemed odd to him, he was the nomadic war general, travelling around was what he'd done since he were little. Part of him grew indiginant, "I'm not going anywhere, anytime soon."
The elf hesitated his response when a noise sounded from the kitchen. Warily he lowered his voice to nary a whisper, "You are the guardian of the fire stone... are you not?"
Kino's eyes narrowed, everyone knew about his supernatural powers, but not his powers over fire, "What is it to you?"
"I am gathering the stone guardians." Tharean simply stated.
Kino watched him with great scrutiny, his guardianship was something that he kept under lock and key so to speak. "Why?" the half breed then jerked his chin to the room upstairs, "And, What's so important about her in that case?"
Calmly Tharean reached into his pocket and showed him a marble shaped bloodstone. "I am the guardian of the earth stone... and she, I believe, is the guardian of the light stone."