Chapter 17 Tai

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After Master introduced her to Tai the guy hasn't stopped staring at her. If they didn't live together she would consider him a stalker. Then again it is only the three of them left now. Master had been sending the students he had when she first arrived two months ago out on missions but none returned.

She wonders what her father will do now. Will he retaliate against this? The questions she has roaring in her head have been keeping her mind busy when she isn't focused on training.

Master told her when she came to him about this problem that if being here isn't what she wants then she should leave now. But if this is what she want then she must let go of that life and realize that this is her new and only life.

Being here training with the man who trained legends. After that conversation she knew she would dedicate herself to this life and focus on her training.

After much meditation she came to realize that she must shove her old life away. She returned for this place. The palace will be and is her home and she shall protect it.

Lying in bed she stares at the ceiling thinking about her life and where she should go from here. Considering every option and the probable outcomes. She was pulled from her thoughts by a knock on the door and nearly fell out of bed.

"Who is it?" She growls recovering from the fall. Realizing what a stupid questions it is.

"The only person who is up this early." They were always up before the master which irked Serilda greatly the guy wants to do everything together.

"So listen I'm going for a run in about five minutes. Would you like to join me?" He asked through the door. The paper wall muffling his voice.

Wonderful he's flirting and is asking her out. Before she could think about it she answered.

"Sure." Growling at herself she got out of bed and brushed her hair. Looking through her trunk she searched for something appropriate. She mentally slapped herself for wanting to dress up for him. Grabbing her sweats and training top she moved to fill her bag with food and water.

Reaching under her bed she retrieved her weapons. Always be prepared for a fight even in a time of relaxation and peace. One of the first lesson master taught her.

Satisfied with her look she made her way outside to join Tai. He seemed to be in his own world when she came out to join him.

"Wow where did you come from?" He screamed.

"Well you see when two people love each other very much—" He looked like he was going to pass out.

"They both take a splice of their DNA and clone themselves into a tiny human then they put the tiny them into a stasis pod and announce they had a baby." Tai broke out in a huge fit of laughter Serilda thought he was going to pass out.

"Okay enough giggling lets go." She started off in a slow run and watched as Tai kept pace barely.

"Wow you run slow." He teased rolling her eyes she turned around running backwards.

"What you want to test that?" She challenged him Tai smiled.

"Okay, race you to the top of Mt. Anna." With a sudden burst of speed he took off. Laughing she followed and caught up easily.

"Try and keep up." He said not noticing her keeping stride with him. "You waiting for me that's so sweet." She teased and pushed herself to move faster. They took turns teasing as they ran. Turning right they had about a mile before they crossed the creek then there was a hill to climb. Serilda had run this trail many times and knew the path well.

Tai was gasping for air as they continued running she was surprised that he didn't just pass out. Spotting the creek she picked up the pace. Groaning as she pushed past him. He started to run through the creek slowing him down. While she took the easier way crossing by using the rocks. Once on the other side she thought he gave up but soon he was running with her again.

"That was refreshing. You're doing pretty good." He sounded exhausted and she wondered why he kept going.

"Thanks." Turning her attention back to the trail she spotted the hill though it was more of a cliff. Steep and covered in rocks. Once you cross it you're at the top of Mt. Anna. She looked to Tai.

"See you at the top." Bounding forward she reached the hill and began climbing like a mountain goat. When she reached the top she took in the beautiful view and sat down on a flat bed of rocks. Taking a drink of water she realized that Tai wasn't up here yet. Relieving herself of her bag she went over to the hill.

Tai was stuck halfway up the hill Serilda fought the urge to laugh. Climbing down to his side.

"I'll show you." Guiding him in which rocks to grab and where to put his foot they slowly made their way to the top. Serilda took a knee as she recovered while Tai collapsed on his back and started coughing. She handed him a water bottle. Once recovered they sat up and watched the sun rise. Closing her eyes Serilda soaked in the golden rays that lit up the world. She could feel Tai's gaze on her the whole time.

"So how did you know how to get here so quick?" Tai asked.

"I have been here a lot longer. Even before you. I have run this trail hundreds of times I know all the nooks and crannies." She glanced through her closed eye at him briefly.

"Yeah I should probably learn a few things from you." She laughed briefly but it soon died down. Feeling the heat of his gaze she looked at him smiling. He returned the smile when their eyes met.

"What?" She asked him still smiling.

"Nothing, I just love to hear you laugh." She dropped her smile and stood up. Walking to the edge she leaned on a boulder that was quickly gathering heat. Though the sun was warming her there was still a cool breeze that ran over her. She was freezing but didn't care. Lost in her own mind she froze when she felt him behind her. She didn't move to look at him.

"Sorry I shouldn't have said that." He whispered his fingers twitching to touch her. Serilda shook her head.

"Its not that." Her arms folded over her chest.

"Then what is it?" His words danced across her skin the heat of his breath on her neck. The deep timber of his voice had chills running down her spine. Swallowing the lump forming in her throat she spoke.

"It's just, the way you look at me." She said bluntly glad that her voice didn't waver.

"The way I look at you?" He repeated confused.

"Yeah, you look at me like you want to eat me or something. And if we didn't know each other, I would say you are stalking me." She felt the urge to cry and hated it so she replaced it with anger.

"I don't want to eat you and I'm not stalking you." He tried to explain calmly she saw his hand lift to touch her and she let her anger out.

"Okay then why do you stare at me all the time? It's creepy and I don't know why." She whirled around making him take a step back.

"I think you're beautiful. Is that so bad?" She was speechless and didn't know what to say. No one has ever told her she was beautiful. Clamping her mouth shut she pulled her eyes from him.

"Tai I..." She tried to speak but he put his hand up.

"You don't have to say anything. I won't go where I'm not wanted." Sighing he dropped his shoulders in defeat. "Don't worry, I'll leave you alone." Before she could stop him he was gone.

Suddenly hating herself she stood up and screamed. It echoing through the valley. Not wanting these feelings, anger, pain, sadness all from pushing him away. Falling to her knees the shouting turned to tears. She couldn't stop them. Staying up there until the sun was high in the sky.

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