In a battlefield where gunshots are everywhere, clashing of swords can be glimpse in every corner, screams of agony are as countless as the corpses that litter the ground, gusts of wind from hovering air crafts tries to drown numerous wails of help; A young man desperately fights and runs away from the battlefield with his right hand tightly clutching a young child in his bosom. Miserable screams can be heard behind the young man. Unfazed, the young man continues to run as fast as he can. Suddenly a stray bullet hits his left shoulder. He stumbles for a moment but quickly regains his balance. He immediately checks on the child on his arms finding the child unharmed he continues to run. The young man seems to be in excellent condition even with a gun shot for his speed is constant and his breathing is stable but with a closer inspection he doesn't seem as compose as it looks. Clear streams of tears run down his cheeks while his lips are tightly pressed and the hand that holds the child is slightly trembling.
It was unknown how long and how far the young man run. Eventually, he slows down and stops running. He surveys his surrounding. Soon he finds a safe place. He gently lets the child down. He kneels down and puts his hands on child's shoulder and looks straight to the child's eyes. In the child's eye, the young man with unrestrained tears running down his face with trembling voice says "I'm so sorry Lyra. I... I was to late to save your parents, I'm so sorry..." is reflected.
Two years has pass. In a deserted ghost town, where past fierce battles have left its scar in the land and the building around it, near a run down house, a child about seven years old with short and wavy hazelnut colored hair and chocolate brown eyes, practices basic combat moves with a Kali knife in her tiny hands.
"Lyra, make sure your grip on the knife is firm and natural. Not so tight that all the force is centered on gripping it." A young man gently advises.
"Yes, Uncle!" Lyra says with a beaming smile. Lyra's uncle, Fum, pats Lyra's head affectionately.
"One more set and we're done for the day."
"Okay!" Lyra quickly shouts.
"Aren't you the eager beaver!" Fum chuckles.
Fum, about to reprimand Lyra, suddenly had a violent coughing fit. Fum immediately covers his mouth with a handkerchief. *Cough, cough* blood stains his handkerchief. Fum immediately subtly wipes his mouth and puts his handkerchief away.
"Would you like some water, Uncle?" Lyra offers with full of concern shown in her face. Fum didn't notice Lyra rushing inside their house to grab a cup of water when he was having his coughing fit. Now that he realizes it, he admires Lyra's quick movements and feels deeply move by her thoughtfulness.
"Yes, please." he takes the cup of water and slowly drinks it. "I feel better now. Thanks Lyra" Fum says while he pats Lyra's head. Fum couldn't help but think what would happen if his illness gets worse.
As another season pass, Fum's illness is getting worse and he couldn't just ignore it anymore. He decided to write a letter to his old combat partner and ask her if she would take Lyra in, if his condition gets worse. His combat partner, Cherry, reluctantly agreed and informing Fum that she already took two disciples in so, if Lyra would stay with her the only thing she could provide are basic necessities and Fum shouldn't expect her to train Lyra on his behalf. Fum let out a sigh when he read her reply since he knows how talented Lyra is when it comes to combat but, he couldn't find anyone more suitable for Lyra to stay with when he's gone, so he agreed to Cherry's demand.
Lyra knows her uncle is getting weaker in each passing day so she tries her best everyday to ease her uncle's work load and do the household chores as best as she could. Lyra always look at her uncle with great concern and a little bit of sadness can be glimpse in her eyes. Fum couldn't ignore his niece concern for him anymore and tells her that he is greatly ill and if he doesn't get any better before winter, he don't have a choice but to send her to his combat partner.
"NO!, I don't want to! Please uncle let me stay with you!" with tears streaming down her cheeks she begs her uncle "Uncle please! let me stay... I don't want to go...I don't want to be alone!" Those last words broke Fum's heart.
"Lyra, oh my Lyra..." Fum hugs Lyra "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I'm not strong enough to fight this sickness off."
"I don't want you to sorry..." *sobs, sobs* " I want you to keep me by your side. Aren't I part of your family?" Lyra asks as she tightly hugs back.
"Of course you are! Your my one and only niece." Fum gently whispers "That's why I want you to be happy."
"But I'm already happy living with Uncle!"
"Lyra, Uncle is sick and I don't want to burden you with my sickness."
"I'm strong! I can take care of Uncle!"
With a weary smile Fum answers "Uncle knows Lyra is strong and wise and pretty and cute and... and..."
"Uncle! stop changing the topic!"
*Pff* "Okay, okay" Fum looks straight at Lyra's eyes and says "Lyra will stay with me until she can't take care of me anymore. Is that better?"
"Yes! You'll see Uncle I'll be able to take care of you!" Lyra confidently answers.
Fum could only smile. Then asks Lyra to practice her combat stances while he prepares dinner. As soon as Lyra leaves, Fum weakly sits down and frowns knowing he trick Lyra. Because how could a seven year old child take care of a sick adult man like him. All he could do is sigh and make preparations for the day when Lyra will eventually leave. He could only hope that she grows stronger and find happiness when she grows older. He deeply regrets that he won't be able to see Lyra grow up. It was just his wishful thinking that maybe just maybe he'll be better before winter.
As days pass by and the beginning of winter is just around the corner, Fum's condition can only be describe as going down hill. Frequent fevers and coughing fit plague him. Lyra, struggling to take care of her uncle and do household chores is still strongly holding on.
A faint voice calls "Lyra"
"Yes, Uncle! Do you need extra blanket or maybe some warm water?" Lyra asks as she rushes to her uncle's room.
Fum could only weakly shake his head, "Lyra remember our deal?"
"What deal..." Lyra tries to avoid her uncle's eyes.
"Lyra" Fum faintly but firmly says.
Lyra bits her lower lip "Uncle, I could still take care of you!"
"Lyra, please I beg of you. I know your strong but seeing you struggling to do chores while taking care of me is really tearing me apart more than this sickness. The thought of you enduring all those exhausting chores while still attentively taking of care me without a single complaint is... is heartbreaking..."
"Uncle, I..., I can't leave you now...." Lyra's shoulder is slightly trembling and she's tightly clenching her small fist.
"Lyra, even if I'm far away from you. You won't be alone. Do remember the combat moves I taught you?"
"Then always practice them. Those moves are the foundation of all combat techniques meaning that as long as you practice them you are surely not alone since its guaranteed someone out in the world is also practicing with you." Fum gently smiles at Lyra.
*Sniff, sniff* "Okay."
"Good girl." Fum pats Lyra's head.
Winter finally comes.
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