'What is your greatest fear?'  The cloaked figure asked in a willowy voice.

'I have no fear,' I lied.  'I am a future soul hunter, I can't afford to have fears.'

'I know you are lying.  Your fears can make you as strong as any amount of training.  What is it you fear Koemi?'

'I do not have a fear,' I insisted.

'I cannot let you pass onto the next stage of the challenge until you can tell me what it is you fear.'

'My mother,' I admitted.  'She expects so much from me and I suppose I'm scared I won't be able to live up to her expectations.  I'm scared of failing her.'

'You may pass,' the figure said simply, stepping aside to allow me past.  I tried to walk confidently towards the mountain but the truth was the soul reader's comments had shaken me.  I had never admitted what I truly feared, the disappointment of my mother because of my failure.  I didn't allow myself to have feelings of any kind.  A soul hunter cannot afford to have feelings.

'Koemi?'  I stopped dead when I heard my name being spoken by an all too familiar voice.  'Why won't you look at me Koemi?  Is it because you're too ashamed of yourself?'

'I am not ashamed of myself,' I said firmly, not wanting to turn and look at whatever was behind me.

'You really should be.  All those mistakes you're making.  You're training is getting sloppy and you should have harnessed your power properly by now.  You're not worthy of becoming a soul hunter.'

'You're lying to me,' I shouted, spinning round to come face to face with my mother.  'How can you say that to your daughter?'

'I say it because it's the truth,' she hissed.  'You need to know the truth or you will never grow stronger, you won't be able to develop and become the best you can be.'

'I don't need the truth for that, I need your support.'

'Then you are weak.  A soul hunter should be able to work alone without help from anyone.  If you need me to help you get through this how are you going to cope if my some miracle you pass your hunter exams?'

'Because I'm strong, I know I am.'

'You're not strong.'

'I am!  And I can prove it to you.'  I drew my sword, the blade humming as I pointed it at my mother.  'Fight me.'

'I wouldn't bring myself to that level,' my mother said, looking down her nose at me.

'I said fight me!  I can prove to you I am not a worthless pathetic nobody.  I can be great, I know it.'

'That will be my decision I think.'  My mother said, backing away from me.

'Don't go,' I shouted.  'Don't you dare walk away from me!  Please!  I have to prove myself, I know I can do this.'

But my shouting was to no avail, my mother disappeared as quickly as she had arrived and I was left standing like an idiot with my sword drawn, my chest heaving up and down.

The End

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