The Story of Hana

by Timo Wikström

Chapter 3

The wise one became my master. In the first days my master made me run with my injured paw. Something about "getting used to the pain." He thought me many things I could do as a four-legged cat. I became faster. I was able to evade many things without slowing down one bit. My stamina rose. Every day my master trained me hard. I injured myself a lot of times when trying to fight against him. He had many advantages, the biggest one been the fact that he was standing on two legs while I was standing on four. During nights, my master healed my wounds and thought me what I had done wrong. I hated the way I was changing. I couldn't believe I was learning how to fight, how to defend myself, learning moves I had never done before. But most of all, I hated myself because I felt like I was betraying my tribe.

Six days after my master had taken me in; I was running around the temple, as my master called it, as fast as I could. My master was watching me from the entrance. I don't know if he was glad that I had improved a lot in such a short time. After 4 laps, I stopped at the entrance. I was so out of breath. I looked at my paw that had been injured before. It still hurt.

"Very good, my dear Hana." My master said.  "But I see you are still sensing pain from your paw."

It always amazed me how he was able to tell that kind of thing.

"Will it ever go away?" I asked.

"I don't know. Perhaps your inner pain is much worse than the one in your paw."

"Master, I don't like this new me. I feel so dirty and violent after learning all those moves from you."

Right then, he hit me with his staff so hard I flew a short distance away from him and landed on a soft grass. The pain was overwhelming and I felt like I was bleeding all over. My master walked right next to me.

"Would you prefer to be the helpless little cat, who could not defend herself, her family, her tribe, her village?" He asked, while pointing his staff towards me.

My eyes were fixed on him. "What can one little cat do against anyone anyway?"

He then hit me right on the stomach full force and threw me towards the temple at such strength that I ended up landing on the staircases. I almost went unconscious because of that and I was spitting out blood. It didn't take long for my master to reach me.

"You would be surprised, my dear Hana." He said. "True, we are fragile and can die from just a few hard hits even from unarmed ones. That's why we can run fast and our reflexes are incredible. You've known that almost your entire life." He pointed his staff at me again. "Are you saying you will always be weak no matter how I train you?"

As much as I wanted to lift my body, I couldn't. I was that weak. All the bruises and wounds on my body weighed me down. I wanted the whole pain to end right there.

"Yes." I said.

My master was about to hit me again when I suddenly bit the staff with my teeth and took it out of my master's hands. I did not attack him, however. I had that much respect for him. Instead I dropped the staff on the ground and breathed heavily. The movement had caused me an incredible amount of pain.

"You said that and yet you still managed to block my attack while you were seriously wounded." He said.

I hated myself more than ever at that time. I had turned partly savage. I felt like a beast who was going to go on a rampage, killing anyone in the way.

"Such good eyes you have right now." He said. "I think you are ready to learn magic."

"Magic?" I wondered. The word struck me as a strange one. "What is magic?"

My master smiled, looking like he was radiating something incredible.

"Magic is one of the most powerful things in the whole universe." He said. "Do you remember how I removed that bullet from you?"

I remembered it and then I realized it.

"That was magic?" I asked.

"Indeed it was. Magic can help you heal wounds, protect you and others around you."

"But… how do you use it?"

He knelt down and touched one of my bruised spots that hurt a lot. A green light shone from his hand and in a moment that bruised spot was gone and so was the pain… mostly. It hurt all that time.

"I will tell you about that later." He said. "You have to know, though, that magic is a two-sided thing. When I used my healing magic, you felt pain during all that. It is because of sudden changes inside you."

That reminded me of the time my master took the bullet out of me. The pain had been enormous, because the bullet was moving inside me and out of my paw.

"Also…" He continued. "Magic is like any other weapon. Its user defines how to use it. For good or for evil. Many cannot use it, however."

"Then what makes you so certain I will?" I asked.

"Simple, my dear Hana. Because I am your teacher." He then looked behind him. The night had arrived. "It seems it is time to get some rest." He looked back at me. "Come! I will heal your wounds. You need to have a lot of sleep tonight. Tomorrow will be a rough day."

As he walked inside the temple, I tried to stand up. The rest of the wounds and bruises still hurt me quite a lot. I still hated myself for turning into such a savage beast and this was my punishment. Eternal pain inside me. Whatever my master was planning for me, I knew it was going to create more pain for me.