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A Lesson in a Spirit's Ambition This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The forest was calm today. No one came looking for my floating skull for a head to bring back home. The towering trees stood like giant's feet over a mere seven foot me, freckles of sunlight littering the soft emerald grass.  I'm sorry I should introduce myself. I'm a demon spirit by the name of Kumimeratsu. That means there's a bounty on my head. Humans and spirits don't like each other much. No we're not mortal enemies, we just have inflated egos about whose differences make who better. Mankind have their warriors and we have our human swatters. They're all flies, the lot of them. So I did what any demon spirit would do. Set out to become the most feared of us all. Power was the name of the game and I was at the very top; the face of horror.
Don't mind my incessant and probably boring life story. I'm bored myself which is usually what happens on days like this. Hundreds of warriors have already tried and failed and I'm pretty sure they've begun to stop trying. Of course, there's always those very ambitious few.
So as I continued walking on that very uneventful day, I spotted a figure standing out among the infinite expanse of tree trunks. I squinted, trying to make out what it was and that was when I let out an annoyed sigh. Another human come to claim their place in the grave with the rest of them. Than it turned towards me. At once it began to run over to where I was, waving a very small hand. Wait... This human was much smaller than I thought.
"Mister, do you know where I can find the main road? I want to find my way back home," she said in an annoyingly high pitched voice that made me want to puncture my ear drums if I had some. I adjusted my blood red coat and looked at the girl. Her face looked familiar. Have I met her before?
"In case you haven't noticed, I'm not a Mister," I said, an irritated look riddled all over my face.
"Well you talk like one," she told me. I stood and put on a sinister expression. In a deep echoing voice, I told her, "Girl you should not have come here. Many warriors have fallen to my harrowing hands of death. Do you dare cross me, the great demon Kumimeratsu?"
"Your name is too long," was her response. I blinked. What? I brought my face close to her's. Why was she so familiar? I thrusted the thought to the back of my mind. I don't have time for this.
"I'm going to use you for my next meal, girl," I told her, a harrowing laugh following my threat. My head just kept running the same words over and over again. Leave. Me. Alone. You pest.
"Well, girl has a name and it's Suki. You're not eating me until you learn how to say it right. Also, I'm going to call you Kumi," she said. Suddenly, she spun around and began prancing along dreamily in the opposite direction.
"Wha- Wait!" I called out to her. Suki gave me a teasing look and a giggle. "I'm not done with you!" I followed her through the forest, my large feet creating imprints of smushed grass behind me. When I finally caught up to her she stopped and pointed her tiny finger ahead of her with a look of awe on her face. I turned my head in the same direction and recognized a familiar face. The pacifist spirit, named Suryuu, was drifting by. He never spoke but he had quite a way of communicating with someone just through eye contact. Not a word would be said but you could still feel it; the emotions I mean. No one ever liked him though. They called him the human's favorite because they believed he was a spirit of good luck. The giant catfish-like head he had with whiskers stretching across the air. His long snake-like slithered and glided smoothly in midair. Suki has this dazzle in her eyes as they remained fixed on Suryuu. There definitely was an aura about him; a very calming one.
"Why do you like killing people?" she asked, so out of nowhere, I turned to her and her towards me. Her face; every time I'd look at it a hazy memory would cross my mind and it bothered me that it was at my fingertips.
"Because they want to kill me," I said in response, a sort of dignity held in my tone.
"Who started it?" she asked. I was taken aback. These are such childish questions. I'm not gonna start pointing fingers screaming 'He pushed me first!'. I hesitated though. The answer fell from my mouth before I even thought about it.
"I did."
"What for? They didn't do anything to you."
"I dreamed of becoming notorious, famous, feared," I said, thinking back on the thrill of seeing cowardice creep its way into the eyes the world's mightiest warriors. They all fell to me. I had unimaginable power.
"How did you feel? Once you were, I mean. How did it feel once you were at the top?" and that was when Suki's eyes met mine. At that moment, I saw who she was. The spitting image of humanity's most powerful warrior. He nearly came home with my head the day he came after me, but he lost. Just like the rest of them. And that man, Haku, was Suki's father. So I looked at her in the eyes and finally all those years of bitterness came out. That was when I realized what I really felt.

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