It was midnight. I heard the pounding footsteps on the crunching leaves behind me. My silhouette casted a ghastly shadow against the bright white full moon that night; that wasn't good. It meant they could see me. The object in my hand, that much resembled a stone, glowed a crimson purple. Heat transmitted from it; not a searing heat, but more like a comforting warmth. It relaxed my tense muscles as they continued to pursue me, the shouts of pure bitterness toward me advancing quickly.
Pocketing the stone, I skidded to a halt, taking a beeline for the concealed pathway I almost passed up in my rush. Not hesitating another second, I scrambled down the dirt path until I was out of sight and earshot of them. I could hear the confused footsteps, pounding each and every way, scouring the area, trying to discover my hiding spot.
"I think she headed over here, Sir Takeo!" a distant shout sounded. I scowled at the name: Takeo. Yosuke Takeo, to be exact. He was the man. The ruler of it all. The mass murderer of everyone I knew. Now, he was out for the precious jewel that I dubiously had with me. I was the least trustworthy person to handle this special artifact that's been handed down in my clan from generation to generation. It was our most prized possession, and a band of grubby looters came to take it. And the leader of the grubby looters was none other than Yosuke Takeo, the man I resented the most. He murdered both my parents, along with my older brother, right in front of me, right after I was given the stone. My father, the chosen Stone Keeper, gave me the jewel to guard with my life. I never knew about its mystical properties, but apparently it was more important than mortal life.
Now I was the Stone Keeper, against my own will. But I would still protect it at any cost; it was the last memoir I had of my clan. Their wills of fire lived on within its penetrable glass walls, in the flickering purple gleam it gave every few seconds. The stone was barely palm-sized, but beautiful all the same. When it didn't glow, it was a captivating violet color. It would refuse to smudge in my sweaty palms that clamped it so tight, in fear of being found.
As the footsteps receded, I turned back toward the path and continued downward. I came across a shallow river, nearly sparkling clean. Barely a speck of dirt was visible floating through it. As I knelt down in front of the slow-moving water, my hands cupped, I saw my reflection from the moonlight. I was shaking from fear; my face had a small scratch on the left cheek, which caused a tiny bit of blood to exit the wound and drip down my face.
After drinking a handful of water, I splashed some on my face so the blood and grime would go away. I fished through my bag and retrieved the stone, its crimson beauty warming up my heart in the cold, dark nightfall. I dipped it in the water to give it a soak. I don't think getting the stone wet is going to harm it, right? I mean, it's pretty much just your average rock: rough, bumpy, hard. The only difference was the color and whatever jutsu was poured into it to make it glow like that. Nothing bad could happen, right?
As I cleansed all the troubles out of the stone, I realised how beautiful it was underwater, as well. It ignited the whole river in a purplish aura, turning it to a deep jade color. I dried the rock on my shirt, and stuffed it into my pocket so it'd be more secure. Crawling over to a bundle of bushes, I found refuge on top a pile of soft green leaves. It wasn't as comfortable as a bed, but it was close enough. It was also a very safe location to sleep at; the leaves of the bushes were enough to hide my body completely from the naked eye.
Before settling down, I grabbed my bag full of all my necessities and climbed up a tree with it, stuffing it in an unoccupied bird's nest that was concealed by the overgrown branches and leaves. It was a long hop down, but I had gotten good at landing without inflicting damage to my body. I climbed trees often; not with chakra, no, but with my own arm and leg strength. I made it a habit to get physically stronger every day. The time will come when I will learn how to control my chakra. Maybe wherever the world takes me tomorrow will be my new home. Or my temporary home. Depends on if this gang of grubby looters decide on if they're going to give up on the stone or not. They can find something even more powerful and valuable somewhere else. Why bother with a rock?
As I drifted off to sleep in my makeshift bed, I thought about my parents. I thought about my brother. I thought about my clan. I would never see them again. They were all dead; every single one of them.
I somehow managed to stay dry-eyed up to this point. Even while I watched mom, dad, and big brother get cut down, I was too shocked to shed a single tear. It made me feel heartless and guilty.
My eyes closed for the night, a solemn tear sliding down my cheek as I did so.