The Story of Hana

by Timo Wikström

Chapter 4

I woke up at dawn, still feeling all that pain from yesterday. I did not want to get up just to start training again. I did not understand what my master hoped me to be. The last hope for my tribe? A warrior? A fighter? Whatever the reason was, I did not like it. The training had changed me so much I barely knew myself anymore. I thought that even if I did succeed in saving my tribe, my family, they would not welcome me anymore. They would not recognize me anymore. The young girl from that village was no more. I was just a savage beast whom everyone feared and hunted… and killed. This new I made me afraid of myself.

My master came in. He must have seen that I was shedding tears, because he asked: "Is something wrong, my dear Hana?"

"I am afraid of myself, master. Even if I would manage to revive my tribe, I can never go back there again."

"Why do you think that?"

"I'm too different now… and a traitor."

"… Because of my teachings?"

"You turned me into this beast I never wanted to be."

My master just laughed at that.

"Beast? You are no beast, Hana. You are still you. The same girl you always were and always will be no matter what I teach you or how I teach you."

"Then why do I feel like I am…?"

"Do not worry about it." He said. "My teachings will not change you. You only learn things, that can help on your long road. Now, how about we start learning some magic?"

I looked at my master for a while before standing up slowly. "Very well, master."

I followed my master to a large room with practically nothing in it but just four big candles.

"First, before you can even start using magic, you must be able to stand with only two legs just like I am." He said.

"I have been meaning to ask you about that, master. How can you do that? Cats can only stand on four legs… normally."

He then wrapped up one of his sleeves and showed me a strange red mark on his paw.

"I have this mark on me." He said. "With it I can change myself from a four-legged cat to a two-legged cat. Of course I can change back too. I just like it been a two-legged one."

"So how can I get that mark?"

He knelt down and gently touched my forehead. A bright light shone for a second… and during that one second, I felt something in me. It was like my heart was beating so loud… and something else. My master lifted his hand and on my forehead, there was a yellow mark. However, that was not the only thing that had changed. When I looked down, I noticed I was standing on two legs… and my fur had changed from dark blue into light blue and yellow.

"What happened?" I wondered. "My fur is different."

For a moment my master did not say anything. Then…

"Interesting." He said. "This is the first time this kind has happened in my life."

"What do you mean?"

"That mark on your forehead should not be yellow. It should be red just like mine."

"What did you do to me?"

"… Nothing I did not mean to. Perhaps since your mark is different, it made your fur change colour too. Mine never did that."

As angry as I was at that time, I was also just as curious about this change on me. Been a two-legged cat took some getting used to. It was nothing like I had ever experienced. Two of my legs were now my hands. I felt like a little kitten who was just about to learn how to walk. Strangely enough, I did not fall or trip at all even after I began running around.

My master just smiled when he saw me do all that. "How does it feel to stand on two feet instead of four?"

"It feels… strange and yet I feel like I am more free than ever before." I said as I stopped in front of my master.

"Hmhmm… I know the feeling. I felt it myself after I tried it the first time. But I am afraid we have to move on and start your training."

My curiosity got exchanged with nervousness.

"… Very well." I said.

"Magic requires concentration. You have to have will to do what you want to do." He then pointed at the four big candles. "See these candles?"

Right then, my master just quickly moved his hand and ended up pointing at one of the candles. To my amazement, water appeared out of nowhere in front of his hand and, like a lightning, moved and extinguished the candle in a flash. He turned to face another candle and opened his hand. The candle went out just like that without me seeing anything. Then my master turned to face the third candle and opened his hand like he was asking to receive something. The fire in the candle suddenly began to stretch towards my master and eventually just floated from the candle to my masters hand. The fire just disappeared then.

I was looking at my master with my amazed eyes. "What just happened, master?"

"That, my dear Hana, was magic." my master said. "What I just used were three out of four elements: water, wind and fire."

"What's the fourth element?"

"Earth, my dear Hana, but that's a bit too dangerous to use here since there is a rock solid floor here."

"May I try?"

"Be my guest, Hana."

I walked near the fourth candle and tried to remember what my master had just showed me. Having will to do something like this was unimaginable. Which probably explains why I could not do any of my masters magic at first.

My master laughed. "Nice tries, Hana, but you are not going to succeed like that."

"What else is there, master?"

"Imagination, my dear Hana. You have to imagine things you want to do besides the will. How else do you think I managed to create water and wind out of nowhere?"

Imagination. Something I had not done a lot during my life. Then again, I was pretty young. Still am. I tried again, this time with more concentration and closing my eyes. Then, in my mind, I pictured water on the tip of my paw. Pure, cold water flying from the tip of my paw to the fire on the candle. Something was still missing. I could feel it. Then I got it: a push. I remembered my masters move. I imagined the move in my mind and felt a wet drop on my paw. I imagined I was sending all that water towards the candle.

… I made the move.

I opened my eyes, only to see that the candle was still lit. Instead I saw a floor tile right next to me a bit wet. My master smiled.

"That was actually pretty good, my dear Hana." My master said. "I have never seen any other Great Cat who managed to create water and send it away this soon."

I did not know whether I was supposed to be happy or terrified that I was learning such skills. The skills my master had used made me remember the stranger yet again.

"Master?" I said. "I think I know the answer, but does that stranger know how to do magic too?"

"Hmm…" my master pondered. "You're wondering about that green light you saw. I do notknow if that stranger is a magician of sorts or not, but I did sense something strange from him."

"What was it, my master?"

"It was like that stranger had someone else with him and yet he was alone."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"What I mean is that that stranger may not be your true enemy."