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Katherina

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A rustling noise came from the bushes. What was that? Was it the Nameless One? Did he finally catch up to her?
Okay, Kathy, calm down, I told myself. You have got to stop freaking out, or you'll never find a safe place to hide!

Golden light shone down on a figure standing by a giant tree in the middle of the clearing. How did he find it? I tiptoed out from behind a smaller tree near the edge of the clearing to see who it was.

A little girl was staring at the top of the massive oak tree. She appeared to be about five years old and unnaturally beautiful. Was she real? Did she work for the Nameless One?
Come on, Kathy, how could a harmless little girl work for a man of great evil?
You've got a point there, me, I thought, and swiftly crossed the clearing to stand beside her.

"Hello," I said to her. The girl's golden ringlets bounced in the playful breeze.
She showed no sign of being startled at all, even though I came over here silently. That was certainly odd...
The little girl looked up at me now. I was surprised by the brilliant blue her eyes were. She stared me down with them and asked me, "Will you help me get my kite down?" She pointed to the top of the tree at a little patch of bright red, bobbing in the wind.
I thought about it for a moment. Was it a trap? No, it couldn't be...

"Sure," I said, and darted up the tree.

I reached the top within a matter of seconds. I could see the kite, and I swung from branch to branch to get to it.
When I came close to the kite, I grabbed onto the string and followed it to see where it was tangled. I found it wound around an oddly shaped knot in the tree.
I tugged on the string, but the knot didn't budge. I yanked it, much harder this time, but the knot didn't come loose and the string didn't break. That was weird... Why wouldn't a flimsy kite string break when I pulled on it that hard?

I looked closer at the knot. Maybe I could break the string where the tangle was the worst?
There was something strange about the bulge on the tree. It didn't seem like it was supposed to be there.
Wait.
That wasn't part of the tree at all.

Before I knew what I was doing, I was sailing through the air after pushing myself away from the tree, my silver, black, and white streaked hair whipping around wildly. That wasn't even a plastic thing people stick on trees to make them look older.
That odd bulge was a bomb.

Then came the explosion.

The huge tree splintered into a million little pieces. The vibrations ran through me and traveled up my spine, like the way things rattle around inside you when a bass drum plays in a parade. It sent electric currents through me and made my hair stand on end. My amber cat eyes widened in shock. I was right all along to worry! That girl had been sent from the Nameless One, and why she didn't show any surprise... I hadn't figured out that one yet. Maybe she was a robot, I dunno.

I landed on a treetop. I could see the smoke from the explosion rising through the air, and the ashes from it still stung my eyes. I could taste it in the air, the freshly-burnt wood and embers drifting around.

Then, steel-cold arms gripped me like a vice from behind. I didn't even have to look to see who it was - I knew even before he cackled manically it was the Nameless One. In my corybantic escape, I'd forgotten to stay silent, and my loud landing must've alerted him.

"Well, well, well. Katherina." He smiled wickedly, showing his perfect teeth. D*mn those perfectly white, shiny teeth and his impeccable brown hair. Why is it that the evil guys always have to be the somewhat-handsome ones? Definitely better-looking than the scum that my sister, Ocoira, married.

I glared up at his face, almost completely shadowed by the black hood he wore.
"Nameless One. Why do you call yourself that when you really do have a name? Your name is Nameless One. It doesn't make any sense." I tried to be friendly. Maybe he'd find me interesting, invite me for tea-time and then I'd assassinate him.
Yeah, sure, dream on. Especially tea-time.
He chuckled. "Oh, you know how I love riddles." His glowing red eyes narrowed to slits. "Another riddle for me to figure out is... How did you escape the guards?"
He pondered that.

"I'll answer for you, you vermin," I spat. He looked down at me in surprise, and I bit him with my plain, human teeth and growled.
"Is that all you've got?" The Nameless One taunted me.
No, I thought, and pictured the forest all around me. The birds, the trees, the grass, everything, was a part of my energy... The world was me, and I was the world...

As I grew stronger, I bit down harder and tugged at his arm. I could feel myself getting a little more catlike, my teeth turning into fangs, my fingernails growing into claws...

I bit down again, much, much harder, and my fangs hit a vein. The Nameless One let go of me and howled in fury and pain. He snarled at me and lunged, but I dodged and clawed his shoulder, sinking my claws in deep. I hoped I had any venom left in them, then I would paralyze and finally capture him. Nameless One hopped around, shrieking curse words at me in Portuguese.

Of course, I had accidentally drained all of the venom in my claws out while climbing that stupid tree, so no capture. Not yet.
Instead, I sprinted quickly away, practically flying over the treetops as the Nameless One ran after me, and the chase began all over again.





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