Chapter one

"Ai Ming! You must hurry, your sister is waiting."

"Yes, mother. I'm almost ready."

Wong Ai Ming was a young novice descending from a long line of Payonese Merchants and Blacksmiths. Like most parents who wanted to keep their bloodline "pure," her mother was extremely strict. She wished for her two daughters to become merchants like herself, so that they could carry on the family business. Even as a novice, Ai Ming was trained very well, and could easily pass as a semi experienced merch. Needless to say, she was rarely allowed to go out and never allowed to converse with anyone without her mother's approval.

Tonight however, was different. For tonight was the beginning of the new years celebrations.

"Come sister, we must leave now. We don't want to miss the fireworks do we?"

The two young girls quietly and daintily exited the house in a calm and composed manner as their mother glowed with pride. Never in all of Payon were there ever such fine and feminine young ladies as the Wong sisters. They walked with delicate steps towards the center of town.

Glad that they had safely reached the town plaza without a chaperone, they changed 180. They were now in a place were they could escape the watchful eyes of their mother, eyes which seemed to follow them like they falcon of a hunter. Finally they could shed the facade which made them seem like perfect porcelain dolls. This was their night to become teenagers.

The town square of Payon was bustling with life. People from all walks of life were united by the joys of the celebration.

"Big sister, what are we going to do first?"

No answer. Ai Ming looked around, but could spot no trace of the azure Kimono which belonged to her sister Weili. Shrugging her shoulders, she blended in, becoming just a drop in the sea of people, completely and utterly unaware of the dangers which lurked in the shadows.

"Shiro, you know what you must do. Here is a picture of your target...good luck"

The young thief was perched upon the branch of a tree. In his hand was a photograph of a beautiful, petite oriental girl with ebony hair and eyes like translucent jade.

"Wow, she aint too bad lookin...she's actually kinda cute for a Payonese girl."

Remaining hidden, he scanned the premises like a hawk in search of its next meal. From the corner of his eye he spotted a flash of scarlet and black in the midst of the swarm of people and instantly knew it to be his next victim. After uncloaking himself and readying his favorite stiletto, he stalked his prey like a panther in the jungle, silent and deadly.

Ai Ming had the nagging feeling that she was being followed. Her eyes darted around nervously in search of any familiar face, even that of her domineering mother. Having never been in such a situation before, she instinctively quickened her pace, trying in vain to shake off the feeling of dread. Not looking where she was going, she felt herself collide with another moving entity.

Clumsy girl. Shiro smirked as the girl was knocked back by the force of the collision. pft, you sure are one to talk…were you watching were you were walking Shiro-boy?

Dagger in hand, he studied the klutz more closely and recognized her as his would be target. He expected her to run away, scream, maybe even fight back, but nothing could have prepared him for what the novice girl did next.