Authors: Odette C. Bell
Tags: #heroine, #ya adventure, #cute romance, #fantasy scifi crossover
All characters in this
publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons,
living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Yin and Yang
Copyright © 2014 Odette C.
Cover art stock photos:
Chinese ancient culture grunge background © panxunbin, Brunette
with short hair holding a katana sword © vitaliy_sokol, and
Dramatic sky over old lonely tree. © nejron. Licensed from
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YIN AND YANG
A FOOL’S BEGINNING
They took the baby
the day it was born. Right from its mother’s arms. As tears
streaked down the woman’s cheeks, sobs echoing around the
dirty room, they stole her only
A child of legend.
Castor says as I sigh deeply.
I watch him from across the room. Despite the
distance, I see how furrowed his brow is. Large, bushy, silver
eyebrows descend over eyes the color of alluvial mud, making his
Despite how aged and grey and old Castor has become,
his gaze always flashes with the fire of youth. And, when I'm
“Yin, focus,” he says
once more, making his lips press hard around each word, his voice
little more than a terse breath of air.
He’s always this way when I train. Ever since I can
remember, Castor has pushed me on and on. It's not because he
thinks I'm lazy, nor does he believe I need encouragement.
It's because of what awaits me.
I'm the Savior.
A sorcerer, I can command magic and summon spirits.
On the final day of the age, I will summon Gaea, mother of all
spirits. I will fight alongside her to hold back the Night.
So, yeah, there’s a lot of pressure on me.
Crossing my arms, I lean backwards until my shoulders
press against the wall behind me. The wood is cool, and it's nice
to rest my body after such a hard workout.
“Yin,” Castor's voice
becomes even deeper, and seems to rumble through the floor
Letting out a long sigh, I push myself forward, close
my eyes briefly, and reply with a shrug.
Then I surge forward and attack.
Around my left wrist is a simple bangle. Silver blue
with lines of light pulsing through it, it’s far beyond anything
our age can produce. It’s a remnant of those that came before. An
ancient race who inhabited the land long ago.
The bangle enables me to cast spells. All sorcerers
have such devices clamped around their wrists from birth. By early
childhood, they can no longer be removed, as the body and device
grow as one.
As I race forward, bare feet leaving sweaty
footprints on the mat, I command the bangle.
Power surges through it. All it takes is a
With a great cry, I thrust forward. As I do, energy
erupts from my fingertips.
Real, burning, crackling, power. It shoots out,
spinning around itself like a hurricane.
Castor, eyes wide, jumps back. The sound of his
simple leather shoes squeaking across the mat fills the room. He
doesn't scream. He doesn't shout. He doesn't even grunt.
He's the epitome of the competent warrior: silent,
deadly, and ever watchful.
Despite the power of my move, Castor dodges. And
despite his age, he somehow flips, planting his hands into the mat
and tumbling forward like a cat in play. With speed impossible for
an ordinary man, let alone a geriatric, he closes the distance
I skip backwards, my
bare feet leaving two sweaty footprints
imprinted into the worn blue mat.
He sweeps towards me with a fast kick. It flashes a
mere centimeter from my nose, sending a sharp blast of air into my
loose black hair.
Again I send the power arcing through my hand. I
close one fist as I punch forward with the bangle, an arc of energy
spewing forth from the center of my palm.
Castor twists to the side, and my blast races past
his left shoulder, doing nothing more than ruffling his long, grey
“Crap,” I curse as I
try again. Once more I command the bangle, black bursts of energy
crackling high over my skin.
flustered,” Castor warns me as he expertly rolls to the side, the
soft thump of his body hitting the mat the only sound he
Gritting my teeth, I try to catch Castor again with
another blast, and then another.
They just eat into the mat, bursting through the
stuffing and cracking the wood underneath, or they sink deep into
the far wall, leaving nothing but a softly smoking crater
No matter how hard I try, I just can't hit him.
If I can't hit Castor, then I have absolutely no hope
against the Night.
While Castor is training me—and knows when to
stop—the Night will not hold back. It will come for my blood, my
bones, and my destiny.
It will steal the soul that resides within, and it
will end the ages of light.
The Night is a
vestige from the days of old. It
from the same ancient time of my bangle.
Just as I spring up, and in desperation punch a wall
of crackling blue energy straight at Castor's chest, he springs
He is wearing special silver armor over his chest,
legs, and arms. Snow-white symbols are emblazoned across it, and
whenever the light strikes them, they dance like ice-cold
They aren't just there for decoration: they absorb my
blasts, making sure any errant burst of energy doesn't fry Castor's
beard and take his chin with it.
Still, a well-placed blast should knock him off his
Should being the operative word.
But this one doesn't.
With nothing more
than a slight grunt, Castor pivots on his foot, and leaps up,
meeting my volley right in the chest. It slams against his
breastplate, rattling it in place. Shots of blue and black,
flame-like energy disburse over the metal, making those snow-white
symbols suddenly glow with an eerie brilliance. Then Castor flashes
forward, lands but a few centimeters in front of me, spins, and
knocks me across the jaw with a powerful punch
. “You need to keep on your toes. You might be a sorcerer,
but you must rely on more than your power.”
Even though I'm expecting it, I double back, surprise
shaking through me. I try to keep my balance.
With an almighty crack that rings through our empty
training hall, I fall.
I don’t stay on the ground though; I get up, pushing
to my feet before Castor can pin me.
I double back, keeping light on my toes. As I do, I
try to command the bangle. I can’t win this fight without it.
I must find the balance to keep dodging Castor while
also calling upon the mental control to command the bangle and
access its incredible power. So I clench my left fist as tight as I
can, concentrating with all my might on the smooth metal band
that’s half embedded in my wrist.
As I fight Castor, I flip and pounce and jump.
Technically I don’t have to—I could just stay stationary and call
upon enough power to slam him against the far wall. I’m not that
stupid, however—Castor would cripple me before I even have the
chance to raise my hand. As he said before—I have to stay on my
feet. If I remain still in battle, I'll be a fine target for an
arrow or gun. Plus, it takes time and will-power to command the
bangle, and even the most proficient of warriors can’t send out a
constant barrage of power. They must bide their time, calculate
their shots, and most importantly, stay out of range of their foe's
As I take a step back and thumb my sweat-caked nose,
nostrils flaring as I stare at Castor, I calculate my next
We train for the next hour. I never beat him. Despite
the force I can call on, and the incredible power of my ancient
bangle, Castor is too quick, too trained, and too smart.
But that's the point. He is there to teach me what he
can. If I don't learn, everyone loses.
When I'm not training in secret with Castor, I live a
very boring and simple life. Our village is high in the mountains,
a good trek from the main city of the Kingdom. Though on a quiet
and still and bright night you can see the lights of the city
flickering far away in the valley, most of the time it's out of
sight and out of mind.
Which, if you ask me, is a good thing. On the few
occasions I've met people from the capital, I've always come away
thinking they're arrogant, flashy, and out of touch with reality.
And, no doubt, they go away thinking I'm simple, ignorant, plain,
and boring. But I can live with that.
I prefer a quiet life. I train in the mornings,
early, well before dawn, then I help Castor out by collecting
ingredients for his medicines. Then, after dusk, I train some more,
before going to bed.
That's my life.
Or at least it will be for a few more precious
Because soon, soon
the end will come. The final year of the ag
e. It is during
that year that I will have to fight. I will have to hold back the
Night. If I can’t, there will be no more age for our kingdom, for
there will be no day in which to live.
Though I understand that, I don't know as much about
my destiny as I would like; what I know I've learnt from old,
tattered scrolls encrusted with the blood and tears of former
Still, whatever the exact details, the conclusion
will be the same. Either I fight and win, or lose and die, taking
everyone else with me.
Despite the burden
that rests upon my shoulders, I like to think I don't have a
particularly morose personality. You don't see me walking around,
filled with tears, my lips never
curling into a smile. Nor do I sit tucked up on my bed, the
blankets pulled high over my head as I shudder and shake at the
destiny that awaits me.
No. For the most part, I try not to think about it.
While Castor thinks that's a sign of weakness, I'm not so sure it
I want to live while I can. I want to smile and laugh
while time allows it.
Who knows what will happen in the year that ends the
age. So I have to live now.
It's with that philosophy that I smile as I bathe
after my training session, dressing in a simple tunic with black,
light pants. Strapping some well-worn sandals onto my feet, I don't
even bother to run a brush through my thick black hair. It usually
sits about my shoulders like a wild, matted lion's mane. It's more
of a hat or a cape, and less like hair. But I like it that way.
Plus, who do I have to impress? The trees? The woodland creatures?
The snow-covered crags? While there are people in my village, as it
would be a pretty lonely village if it was just me, they tend to
avoid me. I'm just the girl who collects Castor's herbs. The
strange creature that lives with him in his lonely mountain
They all think I'm his apprentice in herbal medicine.
In a way, I am. But my apprenticeship runs much further than just
learning the medicinal healing qualities of the mountain herbs.
Castor instructs me in the art of combat, strategy, and
Still, despite the fact I'm somewhat of a village
pariah, I’m never lonely.