1 A New Beginning

"Congratulations to the young miss, it's a beautiful baby girl!"

The young woman, with a dazzling smile on her face reached out her arms for her child.

She gazed at the small round face and adorable pink lips, her finger gently brushing her cheek.

"Markus, look at your daughter!" she beamed, gazing up at him.

The father of the child did not share her sentiment, his gaze was dark and harrowing."

"You promised me a son." was all he said before he turned and left the room, his deep red cloak billowing in his wake.

Her smile fell slightly, but when she gazed back down at her newborn her heart was filled with love.

"Even if he never accepts you, Mama will always be there for you." she promised her. and kissed her gently on the lips.

7 years later a little girl in crisp brown slacks and white tunic stood in the family courtyard, one arm was braced firmly against the small of her back, and in her left hand she held a beautiful white rapier.

Her hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail, resembling a golden ray of sunlight as it hung past her waist.

Her eyes were sharp, calculating.

She faced the swordsmaster with a steely resolve.

Suddenly she lunged, the swordsmaster reaction was swift, easily batting it aside, he countered with the flat of his longsword, spanking her on the behind and causing her to fall to the ground.

She adapted the fall into a neat roll, returning to her feet, she pivoted and executed multiple stabs.

Countless clangs of metal striking metal resounded in the air as each stab was met with a block.

The swordsmaster parried the final stab, she riposted, and like mirror images both leaped away from eachother, widening the distance between them.

"Well done, Katania, lets end our session here today." He said with a smile which revealed no small amount of pride at his small pupil.

Katania gave a curt nod, sliding her rapier into her belt; She offered a slight bow before leaving the courtyard.

The swordsmaster deflated slightly, never had he felt so much pressure in a training duel with a child before.

Katania made her way through the Castle halls, her footsteps swiftly bringing her to the door of her fathers office.

She rapped twice on the door.

A voice came from within.

"Enter."

Without hesitation she pushed the doors open, the doors had no locks or knobs, intricate carvings covered every inch, depicting a battle of cosmic proportions.

"Father," Katania addressed the stern looking man behind the desk, his figure bent low over his desk as he studied some aged document.

He did not glance up.

This did not deter her, she continued, "I have completed my training regimen today."

She stood rigidly, both arms behind her back awaiting his response.

"What is your level?" his tone was flat.

"Father, your daughter is untalented, she is only a grade 3 spiritual realm cultivator."

He snorted, "A mere grade 3 spirit realm dares show herself before me? remove yourself from my sight!"

"But father!" she protested

"Leave!" he shouted, and the doors behind her flew open, he stared menacingly at her, hatred filling his eyes.

Tears slid down her face as she turned amd fled from the office.

She burst into her mother's room and threw herself, sobbing, in her arms.

"Wipe your tears," her mother consoled her as she rocked her back and forth.

Katania breathed in the scent of her mother and and nestled herself into the softness of her dress, she closed her eyes in an effort to stem the flow of tears."

"Why doesn't he love me mama?" She asked with pain filling her voice.

"Shhhh." her mother didn't answer her.

Katania pressed her hand to her mothers swollen belly and whispered softly.

"I pray he shows you all the love he's denied me." she said, willing her fervent wish to become reality.

Katania was waiting in the courtyard, over the years her rapier had been lengthened to suit her rapidly growing height.

She now stood over 6 feet tall, her rapiers tip was embedded in the ground on her left side, she stood in the blazing afternoon sun with her arms behind her back.

She resembled a Goddess of battle as her long golden ponytail fluttered slightly in the wind.

Her father was staring at her angrily.

"Why aren't you training your brother!" he shouted vehemently at her.

"Apologies Father, But if he doesn't show up to be trained there is nothing I can do." she replied curtly.

His gaze narrowed at her, he raised his arm to strike her.

Katania's gaze suddenly grew cold.

"Father, your daughter is now a grade 1 Soul realm cultivator.

You, a mere grade 9 Mortale realm cultivator wish to strike me?"

Fear flashed in his eyes as he lowered his hand, just then a small 7 year old boy rushed into the courtyard, a bit of bread held firmly between his teeth, his sword under his armpit, as he struggled to pull on a boot.

Seeing him, their fathers face instantly lit up, pride written all over his face.

"My boy!" he beamed, grabbing the boy into his arms and swinging him around once.

"Papa!" the boy was all smiles, "Did you come to watch me train?" he asked curiously.

"Mn, I shall see for myself the quality of my boys training!"

He shot Katania another glare.

"Okay Papa!" the boy was extremely excited to have his father oversee his training.

He finished buckling on his sword, which was slung across his back.

The hilt protruded over his right shoulder.

He reached up to draw his sword and held it awkwardly.

Katania sighed, and approaching him, began to adjust his feet, stance, posture and grip on the weapon.

Satisfied she returned to her position besides her rapier, and pulled it out with one smooth motion.

The boys eyes shined.

"Sister really is the best!" He praised happily.

"hmph, worthless tricks and fancy swordplay, you'll surpass her in no time my son."

"This worthless father of ours," thought Katania.

"Erik, 6 forms, 9 dragons assault." she issued her orders for the practice routine.

Their father gaped in astonishment, "Bullying! you're bullying my son! have you no shame?" his jaw was slack with rage.

She turned her cold gaze on him.

"I mastered it when I was 6," she said simply.

"He is almost 8, if he can't accomplish this much then you can train him yourself!" she spat.

Father began to stutter but she no longer paid any attention to him.

"6 forms, 9 dragons assault." she repeated.

Her rapier was held perpendicular to the ground as she prepared for Eriks attack.

He nodded before launching into the first form, swinging his sword, midway through the slash he tossed the blade from his right hand to his left, he spun, twirling the sword behind his back.

Their fathers eyes were shining with pride.

-clang

-clang

-clang

the sword clattered on the stone as Erik dropped the weapon.

Katania's dissapointment filled the air like a dense fog.

"Enough, you can return." she slid her rapier into her belt and turned away.

"Stop!"

She paused.

"I did not give you permission to leave, you will teach him until he can successfully execute the maneuvers!" Their father spoke with a crazed expression.

Shame and sadness surrounded Erik as he fell into despair.

he was collapsed on his knees next to his sword hunched forward with his face in his hands.

"My brother is untalented, already 7 years old and still a mere grade 1 spiritual realm."

Their father's face was bright red seeming as if it was about to pop.

"Leave my sight." She said, "And do not return before you reach grade 2 spiritual realm."

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