Yay! Let's get this started, shall we?

I found myself waking up against something rough, and very uncomfortable, which probably meant I was alive, and yesterday was not a dream.

I really had been taken captive by a bunch of barbaric men, hit, threatened, dirtied, given mush to eat, and forced out of a bath.

How awful this is. And I've done nothing to deserve it. How can they do this to an innocent princess like me?

I opened my eyes, and cast my gaze around.

All of them were asleep around the dying fire.

Amazing. They'd left me with yet another opening. And, this time, I was sure to get away!

My gaze settled upon the man who'd taken me in the first place.

He'd been the one to hit me, and threaten me. He had his men throw me into the mud, and feed me that filthy mush, not that I ate it.

He'd also told me that I would not have a bath if he could not watch me.

This filthy creature had been nothing short of cruel to me for the past day and a half.

It was about time he got his 'just desserts'.

I slowly stood up, and tip-toed over to the fire.

The wood was still hot. This would be the perfect revenge.

I picked up one of the smoldering sticks, and crept over toward him.

Once I was standing over him, I turned the burning end down toward him, and brought it down on him.

Bankotsu's POV:

I heard it.

Thinking quickly, I reached back, and grabbed hold of what felt like a wrist as I turned over.

Opening my eyes, I can't say I was surprised to see her.

"You can't just leave well enough alone, can you?" I asked.

She took her burning stick in her other hand and tried to hit me again.

I snatched it out of her hand and threw it aside.

"You could've just run, and maybe gotten away." I said. "But, no. You had to go and push your luck!"

Her face became horrified, as she realized that she would not walk away from this one easily.

I swung her around, and threw her into a tree.

She let out a loud cry that woke everyone up.

All of them became eager to watch just as soon as they saw what was going on.

I got up, and walked over to her.

She made no attempt to get up, as she began to cry again.

I picked her up by her hair, and grabbed Banryuu.

The brat began blubbering for her life, staring at Banryuu in horror, and struggling to free herself from my grasp.

"Yeah, you regret it now, don't you?" I asked. "You're sorry for making an attempt on my life, and you want me to show mercy?"

She nodded, still blubbering.

I raised Banryuu. "Too late for that!" I said.

Mori-hime's POV:

He swung the blade. I shrieked in absolute terror.

I heard a slicing sound, and felt my face hit the ground.

However, I felt no pain, but for the fall I'd taken.

Slowly, I cast my eyes up, and saw the man holding a bundle of long, brown hair... my long brown hair.

I sat up, and began touching my hair.

It was short. Too short to do anything with it.

I looked up at that man, absolutely furious.

"There are things worse than death." He said.

He looked back at the others. "We all know that, don't we guys?" The man asked.

They all nodded, turning to glare at me.

Worse than death? What could possibly be worse than death? What is he saying?

I slowly stood up.

"Baka. There's nothing worse than death." I said.

The man looked back at me. "You sayin' you'd rather die?" He asked.

My back stiffened, and I cast my eyes around.

There were openings. I could run now, easily.

I turned to the right, and took off into the still very dark trees.

Bankotsu's POV:

She disappeared into the forest.

I sighed, and swung Banryuu over my shoulder, as I started after her.

There was no doubt, she'd wake every youkai in this forest.

Stupid brat. I didn't have the patience to deal with her... alive, anyway.

I was gonna have to kill her, now. She was not gonna be quiet about that hair cut, and she was on the road to killing herself anyway.

I heard her shriek.

Wow. I actually thought she'd take her time.

I ran ahead, and found her wrapped up in a snake youkai's coils.

No way was I letting him kill her before I got the chance.

I spun Banryuu around, and cleaved the head off of that sucker faster than he could blink.

Blood spilled everywhere, some even hitting the brat.

Great. She was gonna scream some more.

I went around to her, as she crawled out of the snake's coils.

She looked at the blood on her hands, curiosity in her eyes.

I became curious myself, and waited on her to speak.

The brat looked back and forth between her hands, and then over at the severed head of the youkai.

"So... that's what death looks like?" She asked. "And this fluid... what is it?"

Really? She was so scared of death, and she didn't even understand it? On top of that, she'd never seen blood before. Maybe she'd never been injured, but, living with a war lord and his army, surely, she'd have seen it.

"It's called blood, stupid." I said. "It spills out when you're wounded."

She looked at her hands, still looking very curious.

After a moment, she cast her eyes up at me, and frowned.

Mori-hime's POV:

I cast him a glance. He was staring at me, as I tried to understand what this fluid was.

No. I cannot bother with this for now. I can't let him know that there are things I don't know. He'll use them against me somehow.

I frowned up at him. "What are you staring at?" I asked.

He scoffed, and looked at the path ahead.

"I'm waiting on you to run." He said.

What? Why on earth would he be waiting on me to run? He's been trying to keep me from running this whole time!

"Why would I run now? You've caught me." I said.

The man pointed his blade at me.

I shied away.

"You've been waiting for a chance to run." He said. "I'm giving you one. So, run."

He's giving me a chance? He must know he'll catch me...

I looked over at the path.

I could try to run... But, knowing there are monsters out here... and that other thing...

I scoffed, and stood up.

"Even if I could run any further, I wouldn't make it home." I said. "You bounced me around so much, I can't remember the way back."

He looked at me.

"You fought all that time, and you didn't even know the way back?" The man asked.

I winced at his words. But, remembering how I got the nasty bruise on my face, I decided not to retort.

"Baka no onna!" The man said.

I glared at him.

Before I could speak, a loud growl rang from my belly.

The man burst out laughing.

I only stood there, with my hung in complete humility.

I had never been so thoroughly embarrassed. Ever.

All of a sudden, his hand slammed into my back, knocking me to the ground.

My bruised face hit the dirt. The pain was unbearable.

Tears formed in my eyes, and sobs escaped my throat.

I heard him jump off the snake, landing beside me.

As though pushing me wasn't enough, he grabbed me up by my hair, and set me on my feet.

I slapped his hand away.

"Stop pushing me around!" I snapped. "I'll move for myself!"

"So move back toward the others!" The man said.

He pushed me again, sending me stumbling in my first few steps toward his brothers.

Bankotsu's POV:

To my surprise, she came calmly, and quietly, but for her pathetic sobs of pain and humiliation.

Back with the group, she sat far away from us, holding onto her face, while we prepared a quick meal before leaving.

This time, however reluctant she was, she ate her portion.

Her behavior was better today. She only complained about the heat of the day, and the aches in her body. Every so often, insisting we stop for a rest.

That night, she went to the river, thinking she was alone, and took the bath she'd refused the night before.

She cursed the wilderness, me, and pain as she bathed.

But, aside from that, she was quiet.

She came back, and went to sleep without another word.

Good. She's learning her place. It's about time...

Baka - Stupid.

Baka no onna - Stupid woman.

Youkai - Monster (roughly).

Man, this took longer than I thought it would. Perhaps it's a smidge un-detailed at the end there, but, you have to understand, I had some difficulty writing this. Please review!