This story is by J Brooke L and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The attic to my ancestor’s old home was filled with clutter and useless objects. All of this is useless. I didn’t even want to be here in the first place. Until a few days ago, Reina and her grandfather tried their hardest to convince me to research my own family tree and Reina would always add that it could help find my biological parents. They’re a stubborn bunch, especially when it comes to their obsession with genealogy, so I gave in eventually. I’m always happy to hear them talk about their discoveries, but their constant insistence of finding my own leaves a hollow feeling inside. I don’t want to learn about a family who didn’t want me, but the family I felt had adopted me into theirs.
Reina was searching another part of the attic when I stumbled onto a strange looking wardrobe.
“Reina!” I called, “I think I found something.”
I listened as what sounded like a symphony of moving objects being kicked around when Reina jumped right next to me with one of her looks that her grandfather coined, “the adventurer’s glow.”
“What is it?” She slurred with an outrageous glee.
Looking at the wardrobe, I realized that containers and hooks were added with materials for target practice. What really struck me was the strange designs upon the wardrobe. I looked closer. The designs on them hurt my head at first until I felt a strange click with understanding of what it said. It’s a language? I never saw this in my life!
“Um…Reina, can you understand what’s being said on the wardrobe?” I murmured in an uncertain tone.
“Oh my god, Maya,” She gazed at me like I’m a prize she won, “This must be something good! I’m gonna open it.”
“Reina!” I hissed.
Reina had already thrown the wardrobe door open as a pile of weapons fell out, making us yelp and jump back.
I glared at her but turned away when Reina hadn’t noticed it.
Reina nearly squealed with overwhelming glee. “What did the wardrobe say?” She had a demanding tone with how excited she was.
Oh, so now she asks? I snort. “Death comes to those who aren’t from the sacred blood,” I muttered. It had given me a thousand red flags when I read it and gave me more reason not to find out more about my family tree. Of course, Reina is too excited about a family that after a few generations had dumped me in an orphanage.
Reina’s expression was that of a child’s when she picked up one of the weapons that fell out of the wardrobe. “This is a Kasari-gama!” she gasped.
A small handled Skythe was chained to what looked to be one part of a nunchuck.
“Here, take it!” Reina pushed the weapon in my hand. “This is the only weapon with a scripture on it! You can read it, right?”
I looked down at it to see the same scripture as the wardrobe and squinted at it. It was difficult to read with how old the weapon is. “The One who touches others is the one who has the power…?” What type of cheesy stuff is this?
As soon as I said the words, the weapon grew hot, so hot that it would leave burns on my hands. I yelled in pain, but my hands wouldn’t let go of it. Reina looked at me in horror and stood there, not knowing what to do.
A wisp of smoke came out of the weapon and formed into the shape of a humanoid. It continued developing until it looked more like a male. He wore a smile with his arms crossed.
“Hello, ladies.” He greeted and gave us a bow. He straightened up, assuming his previous position. “I understand that you ladies are surprised but hear me out.”
Our eyes were wide as saucers, so he wasn’t wrong.
“My name is Ornrik, a sentient weapon.” He nodded his head at me. “I have been passed down from generation to generation in your family, Maya.”
“You…know…You know my name?!” I exclaimed.
Ornrik laughed. “Indeed, darling! Right when you grabbed my weapon, I knew who you were. Only you could read the scripture. You are the descendant of the grand St. Matthew after all.”
Reina turned to me in awe and mouthed my apparent ancestor’s name.
I looked away. “What does all that mean anyway? Am I seriously the only one here who could do it?”
“Oh…yes. That is correct.” I felt his eyes studying me. “I was created by St. Matthew under the purpose of protecting those you touch. It’s your turn to be my master.”
I couldn’t take this anymore, I thought, as I curled my hands into fists “No.” I said.
“What?” Ornrik and Reina said at the same time.
“I don’t want something that important in my hands. I didn’t want to come here, and you’re saying I have to…to what? “Protect those I touch”? What does that even mean?” I threw my hands up in the air and paced the room. Everything was coming at me at once, the frustration with Reina and this nonsense.
“Maya! This is awesome! Your family had a legacy, something that sounds-”
“Don’t!” I twirled on Reina. “I grew up never knowing my family! I was under the impression they didn’t want me, and now I have to bear their responsibility?” I demanded. “Why-I never wanted to come here, Reina! If anything, I felt like I was your family, but you never seemed to think of me that way!”
Reina looked at me, dumbfounded. Then, her eyes flickered with understanding, and she shook her head rapidly. “Maya, you know me, I get overexcited sometimes, but I never expected you would think I never thought of you like family!”
I stared down and crossed my arms tightly against my chest. I was near to tears. I hadn’t meant to blurt that out. I did know Reina, but I couldn’t stop my emotions. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to say sorry. I do know you too, you know.” She gave me a crooked smile.
I smiled back at her.
Ornrik cleared his throat to get our attention and gave me an apologetic expression. “Maya, I would never force you. I’m not-. Sorry if I startled- no, um, sorry if I hurt you in any way? You becoming my master isn’t meant to be a burden. It’s meant to help you. I-well, the whole touch thing came from my first master, St. Matthew. We managed to protect thousands of people from many dangers. We even had gotten a blessing from the gods themselves.” He pushed out his chest with pride as he said this, “It would be an amazing honor to help others. It healed some of the wounds of my masters by helping people.”
“Woah, woah, woah.” I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts, “Blessings from the gods?” I asked.
Ornrik nodded with a grin. “Yes! Blessings from the gods. One of my masters down the line actually fought side by side with them.” His eyes glittered at the memory.
Reina and I continued our questionnaire until I found more and more things that didn’t sound too bad. Ornrik said that Reina could be my partner if she wished, and he could train her in any weapons she chooses (only because I considered her family, of course). Reina got over excited again, but this time I was getting excited with her. The stories he’s been telling us were stuff that Reina and I read as kids. It was difficult to turn him away now. Even if it was from my family.
“What is that saying? Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?” Reina said to me.
Ornrik looked at her and gave her a pleased smile. “Indeed. Of course, you two are still children. I wouldn’t want to start anything till I trained you two well enough. I’m sure you both would do wonderfully.” He nodded his head. “No doubt about it.”
“Maya, it’s up to you, but I don’t want to push you,” Reina said sincerely, looking directly in my eyes. “Do you want this? To be people who protect “those that we touch?””
I knew that choosing to become Ornrik’s master would drastically change the course of my life, but considering all the things he said, it doesn’t sound that bad. I knew that Reina would be there for me.
“I think…” I trailed off, unsure. I guess that just worrying over the fact that this is a family tradition or whatever, throws me off.
Reina and Ornrik waited patiently for my decision, and looking at the two of them, it became more apparent. It didn’t matter if it related to my ancestors.
“…I will.” I finished.
Ornrik nodded with a satisfied look, and Reina squealed.
“We’re going to be protectors of justice!” She fist bumped and danced around.