As Gale was nearing the halfway point of her path home, she heard a distant voice, slowly getting louder.
"Gale! Gale! Wait up!"
Gale turned to see a familiar face hidden beneath the hood of a green student robe. He pulled his hood back as he approached her, revealing warm, sapphire eyes as deep as oceans and soft brown hair in short, teased spikes.
"Mizu!" Gale yelped happily. She threw back her hood and squeezed him in her embrace.
Gale was a beautiful girl. Her silky brown hair was tied up in a bun by a deep red bow at the back of her head, with a short length of hair hanging down at the front of her head, on her left temple.
Her hug was, perhaps, a little too hard, as Mizu was fidgeting for room to breathe. But he was far to shy and polite to say so. Thankfully for him, her hug only lasted a few seconds. Then she let go, and smiled sweetly at him - the face she always used when expecting news.
"Well?" Gale asked, still smiling, "What is it?"
"Well, Sensei Ryu called me to the schoolhouse today, to give me his decision on whether I was fit to start Hunting School. And..." Mizu said, leaving the sentence unfinished to make room for a guess.
"What? What did he say?" Gale probed intently, her eyes dilating with excitement.
"Well, he gave me this," Mizu finished. With that, he pulled a black, cylindrical object out of a pocket in his robe. Gale looked at it, speechless. Mizu saw her expression sensing what she felt like saying; "Is that it? A sword hilt? Really?" But it was much more than that. He chuckled and held the hilt directly upward, his arm stretched out in front of him. Suddenly, a silver blade as tall as they were shot up from the top of the hilt. Long and thin, and a slight curve in the blade at the tip.
"A Masamune," Mizu declared proudly. "A Long Sword. My first. I'm a novice Hunter!"
"Ah! I'm so proud of you!" Gale squealed, launching forth to hug him again. Then there was a moment of silence. They gazed at each other and the world stood still. They were utterly transfixed on each other. Then, in a moment of impulse she took a step closer and reached for Mizu's face.
But as they leaned in, an ear-splitting roar ripped them apart. It was a roar of such strength, such force, that it reverberated from the skies above and shook the very earth beneath their feet. The sunset that was quickly approaching was covered in an instant by clouds of pitch-black nightshade, as if the roar had scared off the sun itself. Thunder bellowed and lightning flashed in the sky, as a huge beast descended from the sky.
It was a deadly, icy white with a wintery hint of blue, it's neck covered in a mane of snow white hair. It's wings, forearms, spine and tail also had a lining of white hair, and upon its breast was a blood red ovular ruby, surrounded by a thin white hue. The entire beast itself was encompassed in an icy blue aura. It was so large, it's shadow covered the whole of Hyoku. Gale and Mizu started to hear the panicked screams of the villagers. She was so frightened. But she knew they had to go and help, go and do something.
They would find Sensei Arashi.
"Let's go, quickly!" Mizu yelled, deafened from the beast's roar. Gale merely nodded, and followed him back up the path, away from the farm and toward Hyoku.
As they approached the village, they saw Arashi standing away from the calamity, staring numbly at the snowy beast while it ravaged houses and attacked marauding Hunters with steely rage, killing or severely wounding several at a time.
"Sensei Arashi! Sensei Arashi!" Gale yelled. He was old. There was no chance he might hear her cry on a normal day, never mind with a roaring dragon overhead.
"SENSEI!" Mizu bellowed.
Sensei Arashi turned and saw the pair, and sprang to life.
"Mizu, Gale! Thank goodness, I thought the beast had killed you!" He yelled with concern.
"What is this thing, Sensei!?" Gale shouted.
Sensei Arashi lost his vigor, and turned back to face the carnage. His words were quiet, Mizu and Gale still heard the dread in his tone.
"This beast, this dragon... The White Star.... Yaketsukuyōna."
To Be Continued in: The White Star Chronicles III: Maelstrom of Terror