Arturia stopped to catch her breath, she bent over and wheezed. She wasn't cut out for physical activity, she may have been small and nimble but her short legs could only take her so fast. She sometimes wondered if she had halfling blood in her, somewhere centuries up the line. She was only 4'11, and had met some stout dwarves nearly as tall as her before. Luckily her pointy black hat added a few inches to her appearance.

She shook herself out of thought, the thief was getting away with her coin purse. If she lost that money she'd never be able to afford a ride out of this decrepit city. She gave chase through the alleyway in the direction he'd gone. Soon she came to a dead end with a door hanging slightly ajar to a building.

She gulped, he was probably inside already counting the gold he'd stolen. She clenched her fist and took a step inside. It was dark, and had some makeshift stools laying around with scattered playing cards on the floor.

She took a few more steps inside, her eyes adjusting to the dark finally.

A man was standing in the darkness. He had a knife. He was watching her. The door slammed behind her. The man smiled.

She looked behind herself, a second man had trapped her inside. He also had a dagger.

"This ain't your lucky day little lady." He sneered.

The first man lunged at her with the knife, she managed to dodge out of the way but her dark robes suffered a slash. She backed into a corner and cowered in fear. The man approached her, raising the blade, but a sound stopped him.

The door to the building had been kicked open, flying off the hinges across the room and shattering to pieces. The fragments crackled with faint embers and hissed smoke.

In the doorway was Asuna. She stepped forward and cracked her neck before putting her firsts together.

While she was in shock, the first man grabbed Arturia around the neck from behind, and put his knife to her throat.

"Don't move a muscle! Or she gets it!"

Arturia whined, struggling in vain to free herself. It was no use, the man was strong.

Asuna sighed and put down her fists.

"Fine. Please just don't hurt her."

Arturia frantically grabbed the man's wrist. She couldn't let Asuna surrender like this. Her hand briefly glowed, and it was done.

The man felt a tingling, he looked down and recoiled in shock. His skin was bubbling, oozing black liquid and melting to the bone. He let out a scream and threw Arturia away, clutching his quickly decaying hand.

"You bitch! What did you do to me?!"

The other man looked away, and Asuna seized her chance. She did a roundhouse and kicked the man in the jaw, knocking him out, then sprinted at the melting man.

He still held the knife in his off hand, and prepped to defend himself. Asuna leapt into the air, the faint embers from before now erupted into a burning flame around her fist as she slammed it into the man's face and sent him to the ground. Just as quickly as the flames lit, they extinguished.

Arturia managed to get back up, "Thank you, again…"

"Thank me? Thank you! That magic was badass!"

Arturia's face grew sad. "No, you mustn't say that. Look."

She pointed to the man on the floor. He was still conscious, and furthermore rolling in agony clutching his hand.

"It hurts.. it hurts.." he moaned.

His skin continued to blister and melt, his hand was nothing more than bones and it was slowly creeping up his arm.

"Oh…" Asuna was taken aback, "Gods…"

Arturia knelt down to the man's side. "His body is succumbing to the rot worse than I expected, it's deep in his blood already. Even if his arm was severed, he won't live."

Asuna watched quietly as the girl placed a hand at the man's neck, "May your soul find what it seeks."

A dim glow, and the man shut his eyes. A faint whisper of a white cloud emerged from his mouth, Asuna almost didn't see it. It flowed through the air toward Arturia and vanished.

She had to wonder who this girl truly was.

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