Disclaimer: I don't own Mai Hime or Mai Otome.
There are two main pairings (Shiznat and MidorixYouko) with other side pairings. There will be some OCs, but that's just because a plot of this level needs more characters than the Mai-Series franchise can offer. This story will not always be happy (some of it will be, but not all of it); it's actually split between two very different settings, each setting with its own conflicts and problems they have to go through. (There's always at least two sides to every war, yes?) Serious topics such as discrimination, war and poverty will be present in this fanfiction, and this story will eventually be rated M.
Lastly, elves are popular, non-copyrighted fantasy creatures, correct? Then that means I'm free to take liberties with their body-types, magic, culture, etc. =P
All of that said, please enjoy Tree of Salvation! ^^
"Mm," a cold water droplet fell onto Natsuki's cheek and her face scrunched up in protest. Turning onto her side, she sighed happily, once more feeling herself fall backwards into the welcoming arms of deep sleep. A content smile spread across her face as she drifted in and out of consciousness, basking in the comforting sounds of the forest.
This is where she belonged.
Being a police woman, she lived and worked in the heart of the city, but she always found time to slip away and drive off to the nearby Fuuka forest. She moved to the city when she left her mother's home, moved away from the log cabin she spent all of her childhood years in, but in the end she just couldn't keep away. The trees, they silently beckoned her, and only when she was surrounded by them did she find herself at peace once more.
Finally she was sound asleep, lulled by the gentle trickling of water from a nearby cascade.
Forgive me, Natsuki.
Natsuki Kruger grumbled in annoyance as water once again dropped onto her face, except this time it was in a small, steady stream. Her face furrowed into a scowled as she opened her tired, green eyes and leaned her body up. She turned to glare accusingly at the water as it fell off of a nearby rock, I don't remember laying this close to the cascade.
Oh well, she stood up and started to brush off her pants, I suppose that's nature telling me it's time to go back home. If she didn't return to the city soon, she'd miss a couple of her favorite television programs. Tonight they were talking about Ducati motorcycles- Natsuki wouldn't miss that showing for the world. The cop turned to leave but immediately froze, "Wait… where am I?"
Puzzled, Natsuki glanced around, I don't recognize this place at all. Kruger knew Fuuka forest like the back of her hand; she'd spent many of her days just hiking the landscape and taking it all in- there was no way she'd ever be lost.
But apparently she was.
"Alright, back up. Just look for a landmark and work from there." The forest wasn't so big that she would have to call for a search-and-rescue. In fact, if she just walked in a straight line for long enough, she knew she could reach the forest's edge by sunrise. With this in mind she started to walk, taking her mother's advice from way-back-when and following the stream's flow, glancing this way and that to see if she could spot anything familiar. Twenty minutes passed, however, and she was still as clueless about her location as before. In addition to that, Natsuki could swear that the thundering noise from a way's down sounded a lot like a waterfall of all things! There aren't any large waterfalls in Fuuka forest!
Okay now she was starting to panic. Looking upwards through the trees to the sun's placement, she groaned, "It's already been a half an hour." It must've been nearing noon. A hand ran down her face and she sighed, "I don't have time for this." It wasn't her programs that she was thinking about, it was the potluck she was supposed to have with coworkers later today. At this rate, she wasn't going to make it home in time to shower and change her clothes. Call her eccentric but she didn't particularly like walking through the city in a white, grass-stained shirt.
No, think about this rationally, Kruger: You took a nap by the cascade in Fuuka forest. Then you woke up next to said cascade and... got your stupid ass lost. Natsuki grumbled, "Seriously, it should not be this hard to get out of a forest of this size. Hell, I should have at least passed a hiking trail by now!" The stream was leading her further and further into the forest with no sign of civilization anywhere. She was hesitant to continue down its path, but she had no other way of knowing which way to go.
'Natsuki, next time you've lost your way, try listening to the trees. If you ask them with sincerity, they will guide you to where you need to be.'
Natsuki smiled almost indulgently at her mother's memory from all those years ago, That's right, mom taught me that one trick. Walking over to a nearby tree, she placed her palm onto its thick trunk and closed her eyes.
It was a weird, but pleasant feeling. All of her anxiety slowly washed away and she entered an almost Zen-like state. She was completely still aside from her breathing, which had slowed considerably. Nothing in the world existed, nothing in the world mattered and all Natsuki could do was feel. She felt the hardy bark press against her hand, she felt the blades of grass tickle the backs her calves, she felt the gentle breeze encircle her body, stirring her long, black hair into motion before continuing along its path.
And then suddenly she knew.
She opened her eyes, feeling more relaxed and content than she remembered being in years. A tranquil smile was on her face as she patted the tree's trunk, "Thanks, bud." It wasn't as if the tree told her where to go, as trees were just trees and could not communicate. No, it was more akin to the feeling one has when they suddenly recall something long forgotten, the feeling of triggered memories pulled up from the farthest reaches of one's mind.
She turned and walked off in a northeasterly direction, the sound of the waterfall becoming louder with every step.
I thought that tree thing was always suppose to work, mom. Natsuki scowled as she gazed at the large, raging waterfall she was previously convinced didn't exist in Fuuka forest. Shows how much I know. She sighed, If I wanted a tour of the local scenery, I would've hired a guide. Natsuki glanced upward to take in the beautiful sight before her; hey, as much as she wanted to be home, she had to admit the waterfall looked breath-taking. If she was going to be stuck in this forest, she figured she might as well make the most of her 'adventure' while it lasted.
The waterfall must've been about forty feet high, and from the amount of water that was pouring down, Natsuki guessed it fed from a sizeable river. Along the sides, trees reached out their branches, taking root between the perpetually wet rocks covered in moss. Natsuki slowly moved her eyes downward, trailing the stream's path before it collided into the pool below, creating a thin haze at the bottom. Within that haze, Natsuki watched as a naked woman bathed herself-
The woman had her back to Natsuki, standing on a large, flat rock at the bottom of the waterfall. She stood tall, and even from a distance Natsuki could tell she was in shape. Nicely toned muscles flexed as the woman's hands ran through darkened brunette locks before finally landing on leans shoulders. The hands continued their slow path downward after she crossed her arms, her palms traveling down her sides before passing over her shapely rump. Natsuki's mouth went dry when the brunette spread her legs nearly bent in half, giving the cop a good view of her rear as she ran her palms up and down her calf, cleaning her leg.
It was at this point that Natsuki realized she was ogling.
What the hell are you doing, pervert! Natsuki berated herself, tearing her gaze away from the tantalizing view. She was very aware of how warm her cheeks were. Why not take a picture while you're at it! Jesus… (Somewhere deep in her mind, she thought that wasn't such a bad idea.) Scowling at herself more than anything, she turned around and started to walk, ready to put this little detour behind her and continue on her way.
Fate had other ideas.
Poor footing caused Natsuki to slip on the wet grass and fall, her elbow connecting with a nearby rock. She whimpered in pain, cradling the injured elbow to her torso, "Fuck shit fuck…" she seethed out between clenched teeth. It wasn't a serious injury, but at that moment it really really hurt.
Natsuki waited a few seconds for the searing pain to pass and fade into an aching throb. Muttering out a few more curses, the cop slowly leaned up, still holding her elbow to her abdomen. She sighed, Today's just not my day, is it? She gathered herself and was about to stand up when a spear flew into the trunk of the tree next to her head.
Following its trajectory, Natsuki's wide eyes traveled back to the waterfall. The woman was standing there, glaring at her with the strength of a thousand suns. She gave a forced, nervous smile, "Um, hey there?"
Upon Natsuki's greeting, the woman looked bemused, but that was quickly replaced it with the anger present before, "Who are you and why do you speak my language?" Her voice wasn't raised in the slightest, but it somehow still carried through with the same force as if she had. The tone wasn't harsh either, there was even a pleasant lilt, but it still had a dangerous, underlining edge. She stood there, watching Natsuki with alert, predatory eyes, just waiting for the cop to make one wrong move.
Natsuki blinked, brows furrowing in her confusion, 'Why do I speak her language'? What kind of question is that? "Um, Natsuki Kruger and because I was taught this language while growing up?"
"Lies!" the woman hissed as she approached, glowering at Natsuki as if she was the very scum of the Earth. She stared down at Natsuki with disdain, "You are one of those filthy creatures! A spy dressed up in a disguise and sent to try and gather information!" Scarlet eyes quivered, her red eyes ablaze in unadulterated fury, "Your kind even have the audacity to try and mimic our ears!" Before Natsuki could react, the other woman quickly walked over and bent down, harshly grabbing the cop's ear and yanking.
Natsuki cried out in anguish, her vision flashing and the pain almost causing her to pass out. She pulled away from the woman, whimpering as she cupped her right ear in her hands; she felt tears forming at the corners of her eyes and she tried to blink them away. Natsuki couldn't help but recall the younger years of her life, when she was teased by all the other kids for having pointed, overly-sensitive ears. She remembered running home to her mother and crying in her arms, asking why she had to have pointed ears and others didn't.
Steeling herself, Natsuki turned to the other woman and glared, one hand still cupping her ear. She was about to shout something when she noticed the brunette's own ears. Her eyes widened, They're pointed like mine! Never before had she met someone else with pointed ears. Not only that, but the woman's ears were elongated where Natsuki's weren't, stretching back a good few inches.
The woman was staring down at her, looking both confused and troubled. Many emotions passed through her eyes before finally they hardened, darkening into the color of blood. Reaching for the spear imbedded in the tree, the brunette easily yanked it out, turned the weapon around and slammed the stick end against the side of Natsuki's skull.
As Natsuki fell unconscious, she thought she saw a woman off in the distance...
And that's the end of the first chapter. I know Shizuru seems out of character, but she has a very good reason for being as infuriated as she was (and not just because Natsuki was being a perv. XD) All will be explained, just sit tight; Shizuru will be back to her normal self soon. ^^ We'll also catch a glimpse of the human's side of things next chapter.
Oh yeah! My friends and I are creating a new "multiple yuri/shoujo-ai titles" forum, where you can request any titles you'd like to talk and make discussions about, so be sure to check that out! It's not up and running yet, we're still doing last-minute tweaks here and there, but I'll post a link to it on my profile when it's finally open (which shouldn't be much longer now), so check back every now and then if you're interested. (One of the things we're still trying to decide on is the title of the forum, so if you have any suggestions, go ahead and send me a PM and I'll pass it on. ;3)
Please review and tell me what you think of it so far, that way I know people are interested and want to see this continued. =)
If you're an anon and would like to send me a question, please do so on my Formspring, as I can't answer your reviews on FFNet. The link can be found here (take out the spaces): formspring . me / TheLittleDemon