Amber woke up as soon as she heard the early merchants set up their market stalls outside of her house. She smelt the smells of bread and other pastries being freshly baked and taken out of the ovens in the house opposite hers, ready to sell. She lay still in the quiet house, staring up at the ceiling blankly with her left eye. It took a few minutes until her bionic right eye whirred to life and she opened it so she could stare at the ceiling with both eyes.
Kicking the covers off, Amber got up and walked over to her chest of drawers. After getting dressed, Amber stood in front of the mirror and brushed her hair that she had grown out to her waist. She stared at her reflection thoughtfully. Her body showed no more signs of her as a child, she was now an adult. After tying her hair into a ponytail, Amber pulled down the collar of her shirt, grimacing at the sight of the massive scar embedded into her shoulder. Well, some things hadn’t changed within the past five years. Amber turned around and lifted her hair to look at the black phoenix inked into the back of her neck. On her eighteenth birthday, Amber insisted that she’d get a tattoo so she’d have a signature mark as an assassin. Plus it looked cool and to show off her final limit powers, she asked for it to be a phoenix. All she needed now was to come up with a title but her father dismissed the idea, saying that it was too amateurish for an apprentice of his. She giggled to herself and walked downstairs.
As she made pancakes, she could hear Jasper’s breathing and smiled to herself. He was still growing up and he was more mature than her. But why couldn’t he at least step out and say hello to the neighbours at least? Amber shrugged to herself and hummed lightly, flipping the pancakes on the stove. Her eyes drifted to the window and she sighed when she saw empty wine bottles stacked neatly in a line. She walked over and picked them up, chucking them in the recycling bin. At least her father’s habits hadn’t changed.
Speaking of which, Amber’s ears picked up her parents’ breathing next to Jasper’s room and wrinkled her nose when she smelt the sweat and alcohol coming from their bedroom.
‘Seriously, an air freshener is all I ask of them,’ she grumbled under her breath as she dished the pancakes out onto four plates.
Amber left three plates of pancakes on the small circular dining table and quickly rolled hers into a roll which she could wolf down easier. She wiped her mouth and left her plate in the sink. She grabbed her utility belt and clicked it around her waist as she walked out.
‘Good morning, Amber!’
‘How are you today, Amber?’
Amber jumped at the multiple greetings she received once she stepped out of the house. Everyone who was out early in the morning stared at her with warm smiles which she awkwardly returned back.
‘Morning,’ she replied and everyone returned to their own business. She sighed quietly and made her way down the street. Every day she forgot how much of a celebrity she had become in her village. Her phone began ringing and Amber fished it out of its holder, taking a moment to determine which button to press to answer it then held it up to her ear.
‘Argh! Amber, you’re so slow!’ Saphira’s voice came out and Amber giggled.
‘Sorry, I’m still getting used to having a phone on me…’ she mumbled and Saphira giggled as she walked down the street.
‘Hey, you going to go to Vienna’s birthday party?’ Saphira asked and Amber nodded.
‘Yeah but I’m not sure what to give her,’ she sighed and stopped by a flower stall ‘Saphira, you’re a werewolf. What do I give to a werewolf who’s going to turn eighteen?’
‘You do know she’s half vampire so it wouldn’t really matter that much,’ Saphira reminded her.
‘I don’t know,’ Amber sighed as she picked out two bouquets from the flower stall ‘What does Vienna like doing?’
‘Well she’s been into video games for a while now…’
‘Hn, looks like I’ll have to go to Renita City to buy her a present then,’ Amber clicked her tongue as she gave the lady the money for the bouquets, ignoring the discount the lady had offered her, took the bouquets and began walking further down the street ‘My village is just barely keeping up with this new technology.’
‘Hey, it’s harder for my village! We basically live in an area that electricity can’t survive in.’
‘Yes,’ Amber smiled ‘I suppose that’s true.’
‘Oh did you hear the good news?’ Saphira asked and Amber heard plates clattering, concluding that Saphira was washing up.
‘Um…Xeann is pregnant again?’ Amber hazarded a guess. Saphira laughed loudly and Amber laughed with her. ‘Really? Damn, that woman just can’t take a break can she?’
‘She says that she considers the Nightmare Blanket incident a break,’ Saphira giggled ‘She’s thinking it might be triplets this time.’
‘Good lord,’ Amber whistled as she went outside the village.
‘Hey, Sheela managed to get a job over in Magia Town,’ Saphira said as Amber heard the splashing of melted snow being used as water ‘She’s working as a part time teacher in the school.’
‘Oh, good for her,’ Amber grinned as she stood outside the graveyard.
‘And, listen to this, Sarah suspects that she has a boyfriend!’ Amber gasped loudly and froze.
‘Seriously?’ she asked with wide eyes and Saphira giggled ‘Really?! Who?!’
‘Sheela won’t say apparently,’ Saphira sighed ‘But Sarah’s been saying that she’s been acting less stressed lately and she’s been getting presents.’
‘Aw, it sounds like she’s so much in love,’ Amber giggled and Saphira giggled with her ‘Oh, speaking of which, how is Sarah doing?’
‘She’s ‘OK’,’ Amber smirked as she imagined Saphira doing quotation marks ‘Did you know she’s set up a small air travel service?’
‘Oh dear,’ Amber said and Saphira laughed.
‘It’s doing fine actually! Sarah is much more careful now! She might expand to owning two planes and hiring another pilot.’
‘Wow, it seems like so long ago since we were all in that plane to go to the floating islands,’ Amber sighed and Saphira groaned.
‘I still get airsick just by thinking about that,’ she muttered moodily and Amber heard the background noises of her sisters ‘Sorry, Amber. Teresa wants the phone to call her boyfriend.’
‘Alright, call again soon,’ Amber smiled and pulled the phone away from her ear. She hesitated, looking at all the numbers on the keypad before pressing the one that would disconnect her from Saphira’s phone.
She placed the phone back into its holder and walked into the graveyard. She came to two gravestones and placed the bouquets beside them.
‘Hey, you two, it’s me again,’ she smiled and sat down in front of them ‘It’s been five years since I killed Florence. It feels weird, I feel like it was just yesterday.’ She giggled and brought her knees up to her chest. ‘I can barely feel my bionic eye,’ she continued talking ‘I feel like I should feel like a robot but I don’t. It’s so strange.’ Her bionic eye glanced at the open grave that was still empty and Amber grimaced. ‘You’d think they’d fill it in after I came back,’ she sighed to herself ‘Still, it doesn’t have my name on it anymore.’ She stood up, paid her last respects and walked out of the graveyard with a glum look.
Her legs took her to the oasis where she climbed up one of the palm trees. She smiled warmly as she placed a hand on the coconuts and pulled two off the tree.
‘Excuse me!’ a young voice shouted out from below her ‘Can I have a coconut please?’ Amber looked down and smiled when she saw a girl of five years old standing beneath her.
‘Of course,’ she said and picked a third coconut off. She jumped off the palm tree and landed in the oasis with a loud splash. The young girl watched as she surfaced and swam over to the bank with the coconuts, handing her one. The girl grinned widely at her and Amber couldn’t shake off the shiver that shot down her spine.
‘Thank you!’ she said happily and Amber took a look at her bright magenta eyes and dark blue hair.
‘Forget-Me-Not!’ a familiar voice struck Amber like lightning. Amber slowly looked up slowly as the girl ran off towards a hooded figure.
‘I got a coconut!’ she said as she waved it over her head ‘I want my coconut milk now!’
‘Yes, yes,’ the woman chuckled as she took the coconut away from the girl ‘Let’s go home and crack it open, shall we?’
‘Yay!’ The hooded woman looked up at Amber and Amber froze when she saw bright magenta eyes gleam from underneath the hood. She smiled and waved at Amber then walked with the little girl down the streets, disappearing into the forming crowds around the market area.
‘No way…’ Amber rasped as she stood still, staring ahead in shock. She didn’t hear the greetings other people called to her as they walked past her. Amber didn’t take any notice of the sorcerers, the hybrids or the vampires that walked past her. She just stared ahead silently, as if she’d been trapped in a nightmare.