‘What’s the big idea, Your Majesty?’ Amber asked dryly as she and the sabre tooth tiger began to circle one another guardedly ‘I thought I would be able to find you straight away after finishing your stupid riddles.’  A light laugh echoed in the candlelit room as her response.  Amber growled at it.  She was starting to hate that laugh so much.

‘Well, I do like pushing my potential opponents to see if they’re worth fighting against or not,’ the Queen explained smugly ‘Why do you think I’ve gone to the extreme lengths of keeping trolls, Titanoboas, minotaurs and the like in my tower?  I always love an interesting opponent and battle.’  Amber gritted her teeth irritably and snarled softly, preventing herself from swearing, enticing another light girly giggle from the Queen.  ‘Now you two have fun, I’ll be waiting for you after you cross the floor above you.  Don’t hurt each other too much, I love you both.’

 ‘Hey, now just wait a minute!’  Amber quickly glanced at the staircase behind her but saw that it was gone.  She saw the doors behind the sabre tooth tiger to see them obstructed by black prison bars.  Swallowing nervously, Amber hunched her shoulders and growled at the great prehistoric cat in front of her, baring her yellow teeth.  It snarled back at her angrily and lunged towards her with a roar.  Amber paled visibly, immediately regretting the decision to intimidate the large cat, and jumped aside then began running around the dimly lit large circular room.  The tiger began chasing her immediately, hot on her heels.  Amber began to tire even more than before, her vision was starting to blacken and her muscles were screaming for rest.  She eventually was pounced on again from behind and landed on her back.  She gazed up at the sabre tooth tiger tiredly and grimaced when it growled menacingly at her, sniffing her warily.  Amber yawned deeply and slowly closed her eyes, hoping to fall asleep before she could feel any pain of getting ripped apart and eaten.  If there was any kind of death that Amber wanted, it was a peaceful and painless one.

 Suddenly, she felt light, like a delicate feather.  Amber felt as if she was floating comfortably in still air.  She sighed dreamily as she bobbed up and down in the air, feeling nothing but relaxed and calm feelings.  She felt wisps of cool air coil around her naked body just when she thought that she had died and she was going up to Heaven.  She couldn’t open her eyes to see what was happening but she could imagine white balls of light circling her, pulling at her small body and hair.  With a soft smile, Amber relaxed fully as if she didn’t want this peaceful dream to ever end.  Her hands gripped firmly onto two handles and Amber suddenly woke up with a gasp, as if she’d been drowning and she had just surfaced from the water.  The sabre tooth tiger was a few feet away from her, pawing at its eyes while its short tail flicked from one side to the other in agitation.  Amber felt renewed and reenergised as she easily stood up and looked down at her body.  Her eyes widened in excitement as she saw that she was clad in just a chain mail shirt, which exposed her belly, a chain mail skirt and silver plated mini boots.  Her vision was obstructed by glass but when Amber narrowed her eyes, she saw that it improved her enhanced vision.  She also saw that she now held a silver rapier and a large round white shield.  She saw on the reflection of her shield that the glass obstructing her vision was a visor and her blue hair highlights had turned white against her silver hair.

‘Yes!’ she cheered happily after a few minutes of taking in her altered appearance ‘I’ve finally got my limit!  I’ve finally got my limit!’  She grinned then gripped her rapier while glancing at the sabre tooth tiger with a confident grin.  The sabre tooth tiger recovered from its temporary blindness and snarled at her.

 Every creature on Ethylias has a power to use as a last resort to survive.  It activates itself spontaneously when the creature is drained from its energy and may send the creature into a coma after saving it.  As scientific studies have proven countless of times, the creature isn’t always saved from danger.  The interesting thing is that everyone, even Abnormal creatures, has an individual power.  Even identical twins differ from one another from this power.  The power allows a physical change to the body such as difference in height and weight, hair or eye colour or even, rarely, a gender change.  It was so interesting to Amber that she often wondered what someone’s limit was whenever she met someone new.

 The power gives a continuous rush of adrenaline through the body so any actions would respond quicker and the body would feel less pain if it got injured at all.  The power can link into the brain to provide inspiration and quicker thinking for logical problems if there were any during the battle.  It is also possible for the power to change the creature’s personality.  Elemental powers, if the creature had any, would be enhanced for the creature significantly too.  If the creature didn’t have any elemental powers, there is a chance that the power would provide some temporary ones.  The body attains armour for extra strong protection and the power provides a massive improvement to any weapons that the creature may have on them when the power is activated.  Or, in Amber’s case, the power can create new weapons for the creature to use for their final defence in the battle.  Amber had tried tiring herself out numerous times before nightfall when she was younger, much to her mother’s worry and distress, just to see what her limit form looked like.  Different creatures with different powers have different times to when the power is activated.  Every individual limit power also differed in strength and duration which sometimes helps different people sort out which kind of job they want when they’re at adolescent stage and thinking about their future career and life.  Amber had once seen a person cut themselves while reading by accident and that alone activated their limit power.  But it didn’t last that long and it wasn’t anything too interesting really.

 Amber lunged forward with a snarl and slashed her rapier at the sabre tooth tiger.  The tiger roared as the blade pierced its skin and threw its paw at her, hitting her directly in the face.  Amber recoiled almost immediately with a surprised yelp, withdrawing her blade and stumbled back shakily, holding her cheek.  She felt blood on her cheek and hissed while glaring the sabre tooth tiger down.  It had been a good long while since someone had drawn blood on her, if you discounted the Queen’s guards that visited her village constantly.  It growled viciously at her, getting ready to pounce on her again.  Amber growled back challengingly and they both lunged for each other in a violent manner.  Amber roughly shoved her shield into the tiger’s face and quickly thrust her blade towards the tiger’s eye in an attempt to either temporarily blind it or permanently, Amber didn’t really mind too much as long as it couldn’t see.  It quickly lifted up a large paw in defence and roared in anger and pain as the rapier pierced through its leg and came out the other side.  Amber pulled the bloodied blade back and jumped away to shake off the blood.

 The tiger gently licked its small wound before snarling at Amber and they began circling one another.  Amber snarled back and readied her grip on her rapier before lunging forward and roughly shoving her shield into the tiger’s side.  They rolled over and Amber lost her grip on her rapier in the brawl, sending it flying across the room.  With a brief alarmed look, Amber began to tussle with the tiger, avoiding getting her eyes clawed out when large paws with sharp claws tried to rip her young face off.  She kicked, thrashed and even took on her animalistic side to bite down harshly on the tiger’s neck.  It roared loudly in anger more than pain, as if her attempt at mimicking its moves was offensive, and swiftly swung a heavy paw into her hip, sending her flying across the room.  Amber grunted painfully as she landed heavily on her other hip, her back crashing into the wall.  Looking up, she saw her rapier on the other side of the sabre tooth tiger, groaning when she realised that the tiger was still up for more fighting.

 The sabre tooth tiger shook its massive body out, showing off its sleek healthy fur coat off and growled warningly at Amber when she sloppily staggered onto her feet.  Leaning against the wall resignedly and breathing raggedly, Amber began to worry to how long her limit would be able to last.  There were no clear signs of her about to lose her limit at the moment, but limits were very unpredictable and spontaneous, particularly when it’s the first time that it’s been activated for the creature.  There have been many scientific stories that Amber had heard about of even newborns being able to activate their limit power just a few hours after birth and people not being able to activate their limit power until they were well into their elderly years.  Speaking of which, Amber glanced at the tiger warily, this sabre tooth tiger might unleash its limit sometime soon and then things would go seriously messy if it does, especially if its limit power was stronger than hers.

 Amber gasped in surprise as the tiger abruptly lunged for her and she began running around the room, bending down to grab her rapier when she passed it.  With a relieved sigh, she spun on her heel abruptly to face the tiger, stumbling slightly in her boots.  They had a slight heel attached to them and Amber was never good at adjusting to wearing heeled boots.  She always fought barefoot because it was more comfortable, despite the times when she ever stubbed her toe or got something sharp stuck in the sole of her foot.  Once she got her balance right, she swung her rapier to cut at the tiger’s face.  It roared in surprise and jumped back immediately startled, shaking its head quickly to shake off the brief confusion she had inflicted on it.  Amber lunged forward again and struck its chest, drawing blood.  The tiger snarled ferociously and backed off warily with an angry growl.  Amber twirled her rapier skilfully and eyed it, waiting for its next move.

 The tiger tenderly licked its new wound before roaring and shoving Amber into a wall violently, sinking one of its large sharp sabre teeth deep into her shoulder as it did so.  Amber bit her lip hard to prevent a cry in pain when it came out from the other side and stared at her shoulder worriedly.  Blood crept out from underneath the tooth and Amber began taking deep breaths as the adrenaline worked rapidly through her body to block the pain.  Tears leaked through her eyes as she whimpered when some pain came through.  With a determined shout, she swung her left arm, the one with the shield, into the tiger’s head.  The tiger yelped at the sudden assault, its head moving away sharply.  Amber cried out as the tooth dug deeper into her shoulder before being ripped out abruptly.  She clasped the wound tightly and steadied her blade arm to point towards the tiger warily.  It snarled at her warily, its injured paw up in the air.  Amber stared into its blue eyes long and hard before sighing.

‘It’s the most dangerous creatures like you that I love the most,’ she confessed with a guilty looking shrug and a nervous smile ‘I don’t want to kill you but if I have to do that to get to the Queen…’  She gripped her rapier tightly and shook her head.  ‘The sad thing is, I’ve never killed anything before,’ she muttered darkly ‘I’m supposed to be an assassin but I’ve never had the chance to kill anything before.  It’s pretty pathetic.’  The tiger growled warily and Amber gave it a sharp glare.  ‘To be fair, you’re trying to kill me too so the damage I’ve inflicted on you so far is considered self-defence.’  Another cautious growl made her scoff assertively and turn towards the exit.  ‘It’s alright, I can just somehow find my way through the exit.  I have my limit power activated and I might as well use it while I still can.’

She purposely strode towards the bars that blocked her from the exit and gingerly placed her shield hand on the bars in case they were booby trapped.  Nothing happened to her so she gently shook each and every bar to see if any of them were loose enough to dislodge so she could get through.  When nothing happened again and she didn’t find any loose bars, she sighed and resumed to holding her shoulder wound, staring at the exit with narrowed amber eyes, as if she was asking them to gain heat vision so she could melt her way through and kill the Queen.  The tiger growled questioningly and limped over to her side, staring at her curiously.  Amber gave it a glance, not feeling the intimidation of it being the same height as her, and sighed, shrugging her good shoulder while sitting down in front of the exit cross-legged.  The tiger got up on its hind legs and reached his good paw up to a panel above it.  It scanned its paw print and bleeped loudly when it was finished.  Amber stepped back warily as the bars rose up and the doors swung open.  Glancing at the tiger as it got back down to all fours, she smiled.

‘Thank you very much,’ she nodded to it as she stood up wearily and took a shaky step forward to go through the doors ‘I…really appreciate it.’  Fatigue and immense pain suddenly hit her hard and Amber knew her limit time was up when the chain mail disappeared off her body and she felt the cloth of Sarah’s borrowed tank top and shorts.  She fell forward with a defeated sigh and landed on a large warm furry body.  She clenched the fur instinctively and nuzzled into the warmth with a sigh.  Looking up, she saw the tiger as it steadily adjusted her onto its body and growled softly at her in a friendly manner.  Gripping onto its fur with her good hand, Amber carefully linked her legs securely around its abdomen and let it take her up the stairs that awaited them.  She gently nuzzled it encouragingly, remembering that it had a limp now.  It purred quietly as it carried her silently to the next room.

The End

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