After obtaining extra supplies in Nihon, Aria, Zoraan, and Scathe headed towards Mount Kaija, a lovely mountain filled with pristine natural beauty. The people of Nihon believed in tranquility, and did not take more than they could give back to nature. As a result, the view was incredibly beautiful. However, this also meant the trail was not very wide and was partially overrun with flora.

Still, this did not deter them. They needed to get the warrior monks on their side in order to even get the rebellion off the ground. While a peace loving people, the monks of Mount Kaija trained every day with weapons, in an effort to transcend violence. This would make making allies of them a hard task, bu they did not enjoy Prince Shadis's policies.

Suddenly, Aria stopped and looked off the trail. Zoraan stared at her. "Aria, what is it? Why did you stop?"

Aria blinked and she saw something off... a vine? Just hanging off the tree rather than clinging to it? She jumped off the trail to investigate, leaving Zoraan and Scathe behind. Scathe shook his head. "Reckless as always..."

"Still, she has a lot of heart..." Zoraan commented.

Aria stopped and saw that the vine in question was really a rope... tied to a net which had someone hanging over a pit of wooden spikes... a method often used by guards to keep prisoners from getting away by making the only escape route hazardous. Inside the net was a young woman, about Aria's age, with hair the color of the grass (probably because of grass stain). She was dressed in a torn haori vest and hakama, with a sarashi wrap around her breasts. Her fingernails and toenails were incredibly sharp, and looked almost like talons. But the thing that stood out most was a brand mark on her left forearm... the kanji for 'demon'.

"So... this is Mikiko." Aria spoke quietly to herself.

"Someone call my name?" The woman inside the net answered. She looked over at Aria and groaned. "Great... just another human scumbag."

"Hey... be nice. I'm going to get you out of there." Aria jumped onto the net and and moved back and forth, letting inertia do its job. When the net was just over the edge of the pit, Aria cut the rope and launched both Mikiko and herself to safety. Mikiko clawed her way out and smiled.

"Thanks for that. I guess I owe you one." With that, she left.

"Wait!" Aria shouted back, but Mikiko didn't listen. Aria stood there, a little dumbfounded.

"I save your life and you just leave without listening to what I have to say?" She asked, to no one in particular.

The End

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