Maria, a man or a woman? one thing is for sure once a target has been placed he would never see tommorrow, again. Said to be the strongest assassin of all times, gender has not yet confirmed but said to possess beauty a kin of a goddess. Trully a god of misfortune.
Chapter One: Maria, God of Misfortune
During these turbulent times what do you think is the most effective way to win a war? That is to end it with less bloodshed as possible.
This has become the most important piece to win a war that is full of deceit, betrayals and lies...
(A feast happening inside a camp base)
General Leon it is now a sure win for us! The other group has been reported to have less than 10,000 soldiers compared to our 40,000 strong men.
Hahaha (laughs) what do you expect from that small country of Hellas? I guess we can relax tonight and enjoy the feast before the fight tomorrow.
(Music plays) Sir, please enjoy this little entertainment we have prepared for you.
Two women began dancing in the tune of the music played by a man whose body and face are fully covered in a black cloak. Although everyone seems enjoying the show the general wasn't paying attention to the show and find it a bore so he demanded that they gave him a more entertaining show. The man covered in black cloak, which is playing the instrument, stand up and removes the cloak, to their surprise a beautiful woman dress in red appeared.
(Woman in red dress) General I apologized if you find our show lacking, I humbly ask your permission to present a sword dance if your good officer will let me get the sword that they confiscate, although we already explained that its only for show.
Hmm...swords dance? Alright let her get the swords! And before you begin may I ask for your name young lady?
It is Maria at your service...let me present to you this dance depicting the death of the god of war...
She begins with a poem depicting the life and death of the god of war and then followed by her dancing while swinging the swords, the lustful eyes of every man inside follows her every movement and can't help but be awe in her beauty. Her skin is so white and pure that the falling snow will be envy and her face is so beautiful that nobody notice the precious jewels that she wears.
The steps of her dance are becoming faster that they can barely follow her sword movement and to their surprise as she throws one of the swords up which at the same time scattered Rose petals, she then run towards the general and stab him with the sword. The other two women start stabbing the other high ranking officer inside the pub and then they fled out of the scene immediately.
Because of the incident it cause disarray with the army since all the general and most of the higher rank official was killed by the assassin so the next day they decided to retreat from the battlefield.
News about what happened that night circulated among the other states and they all can't believe that the undefeatable general that caused fear to other states in one night was killed by a woman.
However when they heard that on the scene scattered rose petals where seen, which is the same things found on the scene with other high ranking officials and general that were assassinated as well, all doubts about the news were cleared. They all know that If it's a work done by the assassin who goes by the name Maria, whose methods include leaving behind on the scene scattered Rose petals, killing a general inside an army of 40,000 men is near possible.
Maria's gender were not yet determined since witnesses gave different stories about her but one thing is for sure she possess strength and skill that rivals those of a general and a beauty a kin to a goddess.
(King of Hellas audience room)
(Queen) In behalf of our countrymen I would like to congratulate you for winning this war for us my son Leone! I know that leading only 10,000 men wherein some are not even from the military is already a great feat for you but you manage to do it. Forget about the rumors saying that the enemy retreated because of some woman killing the enemy general it's your gallant presence that made them retreat.
Unlike some uncouth general who became scared just because the enemy has more men with them. (Turn her head and look at general shin who is kneeling down in front of the king)
I understand your anger but asking me to lead 10,000 civilians to their death is something I can't do unless I am out of my right mind... (Crowd gasp)
You... (pretend to faint)how dare you talk back at me, even if you are considered as the strongest general you crossed the line this time! After we let you become a general although you came from unknown family, you don't know shame do you?
Although Hellas was a small city, it becomes popular because of its general who was at this era considered as the strongest. Before neighboring countries surrounding Hellas won't wage war against them because of this.
However ever since the king became ill, internal conflict have been going around for quite some time thus a large country like Arias see this as an opportunity to conquer the city since they are interested on its red land that allows cultivation of any .
General Shin refused the order to lead 10,000 men that were mostly civilians against 40,000 soldiers of Arias and insist that they should just offered them a bilateral agreement in terms of trading that Arias would like to impose since he doesn't see any problem with it.
The queen appealed to have him decapitated but her son Leone intervene and explained that killing the general will just please the enemies since he was still being considered as one of their biggest threat. As a punishment the king ordered the general to go back to his villa and stay there until further notice.
(Inside a room)
You are really something, are you trying to get yourself killed? If I did not intervene what do you think will happen to you?
(Laughs) hahaha... I know that you will not be able to leave your friend alone, you really save me this time leone. But honestly I was surprise when I heard that you personally lead our hopeless army into that war Leone It's good that the god of luck smiled upon you. (smiled)
Don't play dumb with me, I know that you are the one who sent those assassins to kill the enemy general. Why won't you tell the king these in order to clear your name? Aren't you concerned that the people were calling you coward now?
(smirk) Who cares what will people say? What's important is we were able to prevent a meaningless bloodshed. But still the problem doesn't end here, Leone I know that even you don't want to negotiate with the country of Arias but still the king must realized that war is not the solution for everything.
Shin, I can't believe I am hearing these things from you... even if we are a small country why do you think we haven't been conquered yet? It's because our country were born from heroes and holy knights! I was more disappointed that you need to ask some woman to help us!
(A week before the assassination)
It's not usual for a young man and a little girl to be staying on this deserted place
I am sorry Sir, but we are orphans and doesn't have anywhere to go now.
A young man on his twenties and a little girl were camping inside a deserted house located at the heart of the Hellas forest. He wears a black cloak covering his body and has his long red hair tied up all the way to his back, however the general noticed that he was carrying a sword behind and even though he is smiling, his eyes reflects a killing intent.
It's dangerous for children to stay in this area but I guess such worries were no longer necessary for a skilled assassin like you... Maria.
(smiled) So what would a known general like you wants to personally go his way just to see a poor mercenary like me... Great General Shin?
Chapter Two : The hero and Assassin
(rain drops started falling)
I was expecting to see a maiden to take out for the night but who would have thought that it's a young man I'll see, such disappointment. But I guess with a face like yours, You'll do for a night. (smirks)
(Pissed) Let's cut the chase off, are you here to arrest me? I am sorry but I am not planning to surrender quietly. (unsheathed his sword)
Then I'll be straightforward to you, I want you to kill the biggest enemy threatening our country right now.
A man whose form reflects someone with full of confidence and galore appeared right in front of me. There is no one in this city who doesn't know this man who was said as the strongest general on this era of warring states and for him to see me personally I understand the importance of the job he wants me to do.
I am a poor mercenary so I can do any job as long as the pay is good, but why me? You are skilled so why not kill him yourself?
I've heard that he refuses to lead Hella's army who was about to face death in the upcoming battle between Arias and Hellas, the country where I originally came from.
But it's unthinkable for someone like him, will just sit around and watch his men dies. However to take a risk and leave such important job to a mercenary like me, I really don't understand this man actions.
I need someone who is fast and strong enough to kill a general hidden inside an army camp of 40,000 men. I am now under a condition that can't move at ease and if my involvement was known this can worsen the situation so I need somebody to do this. I've heard about you and the reputable works done by an assassin who goes under the name " Maria". I trust that you can do the job effortless. I am willing to pay whatever amount you want so long as you can do the job for me.
I am also a straightforward man; Five hundred gold coins will do for these simple task and risking my life.
Are you sure it's just that much? you are about to enter an enemy's den with 40,000 men and might have to kill more than one person and risk your life.
Don't worry about it I will consider our meeting as a good investment and I also have work ethics so these will do. (smiled)
It is said that man's life has only one path and that is death. Now it's a man's job to choose how he live until his death. Every man wish to choose and live on the right path but in my case for as long I remember I've been living in this path of no return. It was because of this era where nobody cares even if a dead body was found along the street, has taken away my option of choosing how will I leave my life. What do they mean by right path? Is there even a clear definition of what right path is?
Regardless of my ramblings about life I still choose to live, thanks for my mother who on her last remaining strength told me to live on in order for me to be able to see someday a reason that will make me fight and die for, just like what she has found.
(Subs) Mother this was all my fault, If I just listen to you and run away this will not happen!
My son please forgive me, regrettably but I have to leave you all alone in this world, I know this is selfish of me to ask but please carry on and continue to live today in order for you to see the goodness in being born to this world which is just temporarily shrouded in darkness...
No!...please don't die... you are the only one left to love me (cries)
My mother was killed by a soldier from Hellas when she tried to protect me. Out of nowhere they just killed everyone in our village and announced that it was done by an enemy country. I was one of the few survivors of that massacre and vowed to seek revenge to those who caused death to my only left family, my kind mother.
While fleeing the city a dying woman hand over a child and ask me to take care it. She insist that I protect the child with all of my life and at her last breath she whisper an important secret that I should never tell a soul.
I found myself in a middle of nowhere who cannot even think of a way to survive the day and live from now on, until I met a man who take us with him. My life after that was what you can say literally living in a place much worst than hell.
At an early age of seven I was able to experience the harshness of this era which even made me into someone with a kind of thinking that the only way for me to survive was through killing.
Are you sure in taking this job... Reim?
Elle I have to take this opportunity in order to be close to the general and I might be able to find clues and information regarding the massacre 15 years ago.
I understand that but the job this time is very risky I...
Alright (cut her out) hand me now the costumes and makeup we have a job to do and you yourself said that we haven't made good money for a while so what are you waiting for? Let's go! (pick-up his swords) Call the others now, we still have a party we need to attend.
Chapter Three: A Beautiful Lie And Painful Truth
Why do people love life but hate you?
That's because life is a beautiful lie and I'm a painful truth...
I bet this is how Death will respond if asked why we hate him so much. I've already presented painful truth to several people for the sake of others, for them to continue living in this beautiful lie called "Life".
(Washing hands)Tsk... (Click his tongue) No matter how many times I washed these hands the smell of the blood won't come off. I should be used to these things but this still makes me sick.
(Footsteps) I can't believe that a wanted man like you will just nonchalantly go outside and stay in a place like this...
Look who is talking...aren't you supposed to be under house arrest...General Shin
You did a great job, you really live up to your name Maria but I guess nobody would be able to tell that behind that face hides a cold blooded man. Yet I can't still believe it, are you really a man? Said the general in a mocking voice who then stared at Maria's look just after she went and assassinated the enemies general.
He was wearing a tattered red dress and a silhouette that covers his head. The moonlight illuminates more the beauty of Maria's face and his red hair hiding behind the silhouette drenched in blood.
Although that part is lacking (look at his chest) altogether what I'm seeing is a woman, I bet with those thin arms of yours, dressing up and seducing your victim is necessary to get the job done (smirks).
(Pissed) Do you really want to know by seeing the real thing yourself (smile sarcastically)
He unsheathed his dagger and points it to the general, they began sparring and test the strength of each other until Maria found her self in the ground.
While fighting the two seems equal in strength when suddenly the general eyes change into someone with a cold killing intent. Maria felt a sudden chill when he saw these and stopped his movement for a while, the general see this as an opportunity and pin him down on the ground.
Argh... Let me go you brute!
Hahaha...(laughs) I understand now how were you able to kill that general and the other's despite looking so weak, you are really strong and skilled. If I didn't get serious I might be killed by you now. (Let go of him and stand)
If not for these dress I would have been able to defeat you!
I know... you don't have to be so mad; I just want to test your skill. So what's your real name? I don't suppose you want me to always call you Maria each time we met...
Its Kai... you can call me Kai, General Shin.
So it's Kai, Let's work together from now on Kai (smiled)
Just like what his name suggest this man is a beautiful lie that will sure bring the painful truth to all men. These were his thoughts of him.
Chapter Four: Our Life Encounter & Choices
Hey, Elle wake-up! we have been invited by the general to start living in his place from now on, said by Kai whom I regard as a brother, father and sometimes a mother.
Huh?..live?...Where did you say we are going to live from now on? Asked by me who was so confused on what is happening.
You...don't tell me that you are no longer satisfied of being an assassin and now...you are planning to be a man whore of some general...you...I know that we are poor and I'm fine with your current work but this...this is just something I can't accept..and.., he interrupted me by knocking my head down,
Ouch! What is that for! Is what I screamed to him while I am checking if there's a bump in my head because of what he did.
What the hell are you talking about? Stop saying nonsense things, we need to be there before the sun came down, hurry! Said by this man who always treated me like a kid, even though I am already 15 years old. And to think that I am a fine young maiden to boot!
Kai and I have been living together for as long as I remember. He said that I was given to him by my mother who asked to take care of me. Kai was only five years old at that time when our mother and neighborhood were murdered 15 years ago. Ever since then we have lived a frugal life in this era were in at the early age I realized that it's no use struggling to our fate.
But Kai was different. Although he was suffering I can see both kindness and hope still being reflected behind his cold eyes. That's what saves me as well. He would always say that he believes just like what her mother said to him, that by just living we will someday see the beauty of this world and the reason why we were born.
Honestly I don't regret being born in this world that's full of chaos, that's because it's the chaos that made it possible for our fates to intertwine. Our relationship is even thicker than any family bound by blood. Although in order to survive, Kai at his early age had to kill in order for us to survive.
I was only five years old and Kai was ten, when we met this man named Kaede who we thought will save us from our misery. Unknown to me he made Kai steal from houses and people, threatening him that he will kill us if we disobey or escape from him. And it was not just us; there are other children who work for him which were also forced to do things for him.
But when he attempted to sold me out to a foreigner to be a prostitute, Kai, in order to save me killed him using his own hands. I remember Kai's bloody hand trembling while holding a dagger smeared by that man's blood.
(Subs, Crying) Kai, I'm sorry because of me...you
(Hugged her) Don't cry...it's not your fault! Elle from now on you should stop crying from things like this...we still have a long thorn path to take. Save those tears once we reached the end!
We escaped together with the other children who are even younger than me as well and tried our best to do anything in order to live. From lying, stealing and even being hired to kill, we did all this to survive.
But at least this time we are working for ourselves not for anyone, and we are satisfied with that. At this chaotic world, those who would dare to say that the path he chooses is wrong, were just mere hypocrites who never experience the real taste of this beautiful lie called life.
Chapter Five: Echoes of War
General Shin who was reputable as the strongest swordsman won't join the battle but instead chose to stay neutral with the issue. The neighboring kingdoms, not only Arias has seen this as an opportunity to subdue the small country of Hellas which they all have considered as one of the most threatening country due to its solid military foundation.
On the Far North side of Hellas located the kingdom of Cyrene who is planning to enter the battle as well. The kingdom of Cyrene located at the far North side of Hellas is a deserted place and like Hellas men of Cyrene were also used in war and battles although the reason is because of several internal conflicts occuring within their kingdom.
They were often called as barbaric in nature but were very sensitive and loyal when it comes to their king and religion above all other nation.
They have sent their envoy to Arias in order negotiate with them, which surprise the whole kingdom because Arias and Cyrene have been on each other's neck for a long time now. What surprise them more is that the envoy that they sent was General Hawk, who's known as a strong swordsman in par with General Shin.
He was a former manslayer that was able to climb his way all the way to the top because of his intellectual and guerilla military skills. Both of them were not born from the noble that's why they are always being compared with each other.
Although this man was known for being ruthless and overbearing as well. His appearance reflects someone who doesn't care a thing about royalties or being a high ranking official. He doesn't have a shield or an armor protecting his body, just a pair of swords hanging on his back and a white cloak.
The Kingdom Of Cyrene represents by General Hawk is now here to, announced by the messenger who was then interrupted by General Hawk, I was sent here by the king to help your crying baby soldiers beat a small country like Hellas (Smirks), said by him who made the crowd grasp because of his insolent comment.
You imbecile! shouted by the king of Ares who was then pacified by General Rene.
Hahaha...lucky for us! and father please don't take this man's words seriously, he is just shy and overwhelmed with the responsibility given to him, said by General Rene who then gave General Hawk a smile which made General Hawk pissed with him.
Arias on the other hand have General Rene who was also the only son and crown prince of Arias, he was regarded as a meek and feminine yet his intellectual and negotiation skill are known to be outstanding.
He was often describe as a man that was hard to comprehend his way of thinking. This is the first time that he will be leading a battle himself that's why everybody was expecting to see how he fights. The news about Arias and Cyres collaboration and it's plan to subdue the kingdom of hellas spreads immediately to other neighboring countries, including Hellas as well.
And this time an army of 100,000 men were ready to enter the battle, things will be different and not easy for the kingdom of Hellas compared before, that's what the kingdom of Arias announce to all.
How can this be happening! I thought that they were after each other's throat but why did the king of Cyrene decided to join its forces with Arias? Why were you not able to foresee this things immediately, what's the use of those spies we have sent to those two kingdoms! shouted by General Leone who can't believe the news regarding the plan of Arias and Cyres entering war with them.
Sir, we don't have anything to repute your anger but there's nothing we can do now I guess we really need him this time, said by his page who then gave him a desperate look.
Hellas upon hearing the news can't believe what was happening. Without anyone saying they all knew that the upcoming war will surely bring deaths to many people of Hellas and there's only one man they all agree will be able to stop this from happening.
It was the same who since back then was able to made the enemy surrenders and retreat even if their numbers were hundred times more of them or stronger than them in just one order. He won't be named as the strongest general for just no reason. The time has come for him to enter the battle again and prevent several deaths of his men. And this time tricks like sending an assassin is not enough to stop the coming war.
Chapter Six: Naked Blade
General Hawk, are you sure of participating this war between Arias and Hellas? asked by this page of mine who has been one of my subordinates when I'm still a leader of our bandit.
Do you think I'll personally asked the king to let me help our enemy subdue a small but strong nation if I'm not serious Noel? I replied to him,
But Boss, I mean Sir, you are just doing this because of that assassin that goes by the name of Maria, right? he asked then he walks in front of me to stop me from entering my room,
You've been looking for that person ever since the accident that happened 5 years ago, and when you heard about her appearance on the assassination of the general who was leading the campaign for Arias against Hellas you thought that it's your chance to face that assassin personally right? he continues.
What is it now if that's real case? I asked,
Sir, no matter how I see it it's as if you have fallen for that woman! he shouted,
Tsk! (Clicked tongue) Are you mocking me? Do I look like someone who will play like a lovesick man for some woman? Is what I said, while grabbing his neck and then let it go as I enter my room.
Honestly speaking I don't understand it as well, what is it I want to happen once I saw her again. Is it because of my thirst to fight a strong man be it a woman or man?
No, I know it's more than that...It all started when I first saw her again 5 years ago in one of Cyrene's town.
At that time I just started to join the military and was just an ordinary soldier assigned on that town where I saw you again after ten years from the first time I saw you, when you was just a child around 9-10 years old. I immediately recognized you even though you have grown into a person that's wholly different from the time when I first saw you.
We were ordered to assist in arresting an assassin that escaped not too long ago after killing a high ranking officer in that town. By the time we arrive in the area I saw one man standing alone surrounded by 15 or more men that are being taken down one by one by that person.
She was wearing a tattered white robe which is unusual for an assassin, who would prefer to wear black clothing to hide himself. Both of her dress and long red hair were drenched in blood but she doesn't even flinch as her enemies blood splats oh her face everytime she cuts one. It was because of this that people starts calling her as the bloody "Maria".
I noticed that aside from her there are others that she let to escape first, those guys were all wearing black clothings that helps them from escaping immediately. I guess she intended to wear something that will let us focused on her thus letting the others escaped smoothly.
But what made me recognized her as the kid I saw 10 years ago was her eyes that might seems to reflect a cold and murder intent, but there's this hint of strong will to live. It was the same eyes of that kid which I though was a young man if not for today, whom I saw back when I was still a boss of a group of bandits and mercenaries hired for killing.
A kid aged 9-10 years old together with other children who are younger than her, ages 4-8 years old was digging a grave for a man whom I recognized. It was Kaede, one the people we are working in trading human slaves, specially children that we sold to foreign lands.
Judging from the kid's appearance whose hands and clothes were drenched in blood while the others are not, it seems that he was killed by this kid who was digging his grave for him. For a child who killed for her first time, her eyes shows no fear or regret of what she has done. But was surprise me more was the her answer when I ask her why is she digging as well a grave for that man aside from the other children that she already buried.
All men when died were all the same no matter who, it's a way to pay respect for a man who struggle as well for his life, the same life we all hold on to, mister, Is what the kid said and her eyes although it's cold, her eyes reflect as well a strong will to live. It made me silent for a while.
I tried to asked her to come with me but she refused saying that from now on they will strive to live for their own and not for the others.
It was a year or two after that incident that I was personally asked by the king's minister to surrender and join the army, in exchange they will pardon all of our misdeed and will even gave me an opportunity to be a high ranking official if I can prove my worth to them.
I accepted the offer and thus begun struggling and proving myself all the way to the top. But my thirst is not yet satisfied, there's still this unexplainable thirst that won't quenched no matter how many peolpe I killed or high I climb.
And then I heard you showing up again and even killed a great general hiding behind an army of 40,000 men, I know that this thirst will only be quenched once I see you again.