When Tatsumi was around 10 years of age, he discovered his ability to manipulate blood. The first discovery of it was when he found a small dead danger-beast corpse while wandering the forest close to his village.
He didn’t truly know what had killed it, all he knew was that by the look of how the corpse was torn apart by some sort of bite, it must have been killed by a bigger danger-beast.
The corpse was frash, so the danger-beast had not died for a long time. Though, the corpse wasn’t what drew him to that danger-beast, it was the blood that seemed to flow out of it.
He felt a certain close connection with it — like the connection between a family member would have.
Soon after, he was lost in a trance when looking at the blood, and not paying attention to his surroundings, the danger-beast that had killed this small one came back and discovered him.
A fight obviously broke between the two.
Although Tatsumi was strong for his age, taking on such a terrifying danger-beast with a young body was still too much for him. He was constantly on the losing end of the battle, and would have almost died if it wasn’t because of his ability over blood.
With this ability, he eventually won the battle with only a few broken bones. After that event, the young Tatsumi grew dependent on his ability and only focused on better using it for fighting, neglecting to train his own body too.
He regretted it when he was almost — almost killed by a danger-beast when his body failed him because it was weak. Even if he was strong with his ability, having a weak body meant a single mistake could cost him a lot.
Luckily his uncle saved him in time, but the event did leave a slight trauma on him.
Realizing his body was weak, the young Tatsumi started training it once more with his uncle. And just like how he neglects his body over his ability, he did the same for his ability as well, not using it for a long period of time.
So when he suddenly used it against the fiendish beast, the reason he felt so tired and straining after was because his body had become unfamiliar with the sudden use of that power.
‘‘Sometimes, I wonder if I’m that dumb when I was young...’’ the young man sighs softly. Remembering the first time he discovered his unique ability and the events that follow it, he couldn’t help criticizing himself a little.
He scratched his cheek softly, ‘‘If I had trained it I wouldn’t be feeling like an obese person that was trying to exercise for the first time in ever, when using it.’’ Another sigh escaped from his mouth.
Though he said that, in truth. Besides the slight trauma there was also another factor that caused him to neglect his ability. It was because where he had grown up, the location didn’t really have a danger-beast that was really super strong.
As he became stronger and stronger through his training with his uncle, he never had to contemplate or was forced to use his ability. So although he had never forgotten about it, until his battle with this fiendish beast today, it almost never comes into his mind when fighting others.
‘‘Controlling just this amount doesn't seem to put any strain on me at all… then maybe I was just using too much power when my body hasn't become adapted to it after not using it for few years.’’
Tatsumi looked down at his palm as a small amount of blue-blood seeped out from the beast corpse and went towards it, and created a small twister in his hand.
Gazed at it for a few more moments, he moved his hand and the twister disperse. But the blood didn’t fall back to the ground as it levitated upward above his head, and flowed around the bonfire.
‘‘I don’t feel like I’m about to blank out so it really was because I use too much power, huh.’’ letting the blood slowly descend back down, he said when not feeling the exhaustion like last time.
When the blood reaches the ground, he lets out a breath of air. ‘‘At least now I know I have not completely gone rusty at using this. But to efficiently use it in combat for now, I have to make sure I control only the amount of blood my body can handle.’’ He mumbled after putting some thought into it.
‘‘I thought after the forest it would lead me to some place that is inhabited by humans, but it is just more forest after a rocky terrain.’’ Forward up ahead, the only thing the young man could see was endless trees stretching out, boulders, plants lifeform, and a stream of river flowed forward with seemingly no end in sight.
Four days have passed since his battle with the fiendish beast — when the sun arose he set up on his Journey right away — taking only a day and a half to pass the forest, after that was walking through rocky terrain; and now a forest again.
‘‘The fog in this place seems to get denser the further I go into it. Rain in this place must happen often since the place is so wet.’’ Tatsumi said as he lay his fingers on a big tree in front of him.
‘‘Hum, someone seem to carve something into the tree.’’ As he lay his fingers on the tree bark; tilted his head up, Tatsumi saw a carved.
The carved was in the shape of a claw mark, and it looked to be man made as the carved was too neat looking to be formed naturally.
‘‘By the judge of this, maybe there are people who live in these woods,’’ turned his gaze away from the carved, he went toward another tree a few feets away.
‘‘But why would they inscribe so many of these marks?’’ Looking up, the tree also has the same carved as the last one.
‘‘Is it for fun, or for people to see it?’’ Tatsumi gives the carved one last glacé and continues to move on his way. Along the way, he saw many more the same carved on different trees.
After seeing so much of it, he came to a conclusion that the people that had carved those things definitely want others to see tham. But after mulling over as to why that is for a while, he decided to put it in the back of his mind for now.
‘‘Seriously, the fog here is getting ridiculously denser. I can barely see what head of me at this point.’’ He frowned while saying. The fog around him has become so dense that he has started to become a little worried that he might end up being lost in it.
Maybe getting up to a higher ground would make my current situation better… Going even deeper, everything in his view started to become clouded by the fog, unable to see anything but the white mist.
Trying to go about in this fog, he thought of a solution while looking up.
Leaping up, Tatsumi steps his foot down on one of the tree tops and looks down at the forest.
Although the fog up here isn’t nearly as dense, it is still slightly hard to see further away… He thought as he let his eyes roam around.
‘‘There seems to be a huge mountain a lot further away from here, if I get to it I should be able to get some grasp of where I am,’’ his eyes stop at a mountain as he mutters softly. ‘‘... since the direction of that mountain is straight ahead, I should be fine walking through the fog as long as I remember to head straight.’’
He said, and jumped off from the tree immediately after.
Proceeding to move straight on ahead, Tatsumi would always try to make sure to check his footstep so it does not deter away and go the wrong path. If he didn’t alway check, since the fog is really dense and thick, he might end up going left and not know about it.
After what felt like another 30 minutes of walking, Tatsumi suddenly stopped when he heard a noise through the fog. Turning toward where he had heard the noise, he didn’t head to it as he stayed cautious and just observed.
Of course, he couldn’t see through the fog, so it was just him trying to listen to any noise that came off from there.
As he stayed silent while observing, the noise became louder, like it was moving closer to him. He directly put his hand to his weapon hilt and narrowed his eyes in wait.
When the noise was just a mere distance away, Tatsumi relaxed himself when seeing a somewhat big rodent appear and running past him.
‘‘So it was just a rat danger—’’ before he could finish his sentence, the young man sensed something dangerous coming speeded towards his head. He instantly lowered himself and pulled his sword off from the scabbard.
Not bothered to give the thing flying past him any attention, he swung his sword up in diagonal as it emitted a ‘clink' sound after hitting another metal.
Tatsumi nerrow his brow while kicking out his foot at the unknown person's abdomen.
The unknown person was able to perceive the incoming kick, but was too slow to react as the kick landed straight to his abdomen, sending him flying and disappearing through the fog.
Though the fog may have blocked his view of his attacker, he was still able to pinpoint the attacker location from the sound of him landing after being sent flying.
The young man didn’t go after the person, instead, he shouted through the fog.
‘‘Why did you attack me!?’’ Despite him asking, the unknown person didn’t reply back, as a silent resume in the forest again.
Mere moments later, Tatsumi could sense objects coming flying toward his right at a really fast speed. This time being completely prepared, he easily dodge the many flying objects that look like darts, by moving a few steps backward.
Feeling annoyed at the lack of answers of his attacker despite him asking the person why he had attacked him. Tatsumi repeated his question in a slightly quieter voice, ‘‘why did you attack me?’’
Still, no voice answer back. All he got was small knives hacking through the mist of fog and aimed at his back, sides, and front. He leaped a few meters up to avoid them, but the person who had thrown those must have known he would do that, as knives and darts hurled up at him.
Seeing the incoming knives and darts, Tatsumi responded by hacking forward his sword many times in a split second, cutting apart the darts and effortlessly changing the trajectory of the knives.
The person that is attacking me doesn't seem to want to talk it out, and is hellbent on killing me… Letting his body fall back down, he went into a deep thought for a brief second.
‘‘... by the look of how those things were coming at me from basically all directions, there may be more than just one person that is attacking me right now.’’
The young man moved his head around as he carefully looked at all sides of his surroundings; he then let out a sigh when sawing nothing but fog.
‘‘The mist completely blocked my view, and those that attacked me seemed to be really adept at fighting in this fog.’’His expression frowned as he continued to mumble. ‘‘The worst part is that, they're so quiet I can’t hear a single thing from tham.’’
Moving unbelievably fast, the attacker that was hidden in the fog launched himself and stabbed his short blade toward the back of Tatsumi's neck, wanting to end him right away.
Feeling an alarmed sense of danger from his back, the young man didn’t hesitate to twist himself around and deflected the blade with his sword. The force from his sword causes the attacker's blade to be sent flying off his hand and into the air.
Having his sneak attack being deflected, the attacker brought out a knife underneath the black cloak that he wore, and used to stab forward at the young man's neck again.
Glacéd at the knife his attacker pulled out and thrusted at his neck, Tatsumi swung down his sword immediately at him. Being the faster one, his sword reached the attacker and cut him in two.
Blood instantly spilled fourth from the corpse that had been cut in half, dyed the wet ground with red.
He didn’t relax a single bit after killing his attacker as four more people rushed toward him. Three carry blades, and the other one a red dagger. All were wearing a dark cloak that covered their body, and wore a terrifying blue mask.
Despite having four people teaming off in sync while zigzagging to kill him with their cold steel weapon, the young man didn’t back away as he moved forward instead.
The first to swing a blade at him was the one near the end of his right; the cold steel slash through the wind and the fog and closing on just a few inches of him.
Tatsumi parries the blade and dash forward with force that cracks the ground slightly underneath him, he then thrust out his sword, the tip of the weapon tore through the wind and stabbed easily right through the attacker in the heart.
Grabbing the neck of the person he had just stabbed through, he threw the body at the other three. The two with a blade sidestep and avoid their comrade, and rush toward him. The one with a dagger, who was in the middle, disappeared in the white fog before the body reached him.
Leaving the body flying through the fog and disappearing without sight.
The two with blades hacked diagonally downward at him, create a cross slash. Tatsumi took a step back to avoid the blades, and counter-attack by swinging upward at the person on the right.
His swing cut through flash, muscle, bones, and drawing blood. He didn’t stop there as he stepped closer to the attacker on the left, and brandished his sword down at him.
The attacker tried to quickly raise his blade to block the slash, but was too slow as the sword hacked down on flash, bones, and intestines.
Instantly killing him.
‘‘You damn intruder! What is this!?’’ Tatsumi turned around, as the attacker with a dagger that had disappeared through the misty fog showed up in front of him. But his heart was pierced through by a long and big spike made from blood.
When the attacker had disappeared, while fighting the other two. Tatsumi had put a portion of his attention on his surroundings — looking carefully for any ambush that he believed would definitely come.
So the moment he felt even the slightest movement from anywhere within five meters around him, he used his blood manipulation to control blood from the corpse and ground to form a sharp spike to attack instantly.
When the young man heard the word ‘intruder’ come from the dagger wielding attacker, he said and looked at him with confusion.
A single second tick by. Tatsumi was about to ask the attacker to clarify but found his body already stopped moving… he let out a slight sigh as he knew that now, he could only mull over what his attacker had said by himself.
He first dispersed the blood spike that stabbed through the dagger-wielding attacker and let the body fall to the ground. Only after doing that did he let himself mull over what the attacker had said.
‘‘Intruder? Huh. When he said I was an intruder, he sounded like he fully believed in what he was saying, so it probably isn't some random stuff he spouted out.’’ Feeling confusion, Tatsumi rubs his temple gently in thought. ‘‘… but, why would I be an intruder when I am just going through a forest?’’
After wrecking his brain and still was unable to come up with any answer that could alleviate his confusion, he looked down at the corpse and spotted something on the neck.
He crouched down and moved his hand to the neck of the corpse, and looked carefully at it.
‘‘Hum, it's a tattoo,’’ looking at the corpse's neck he saw a blue tattoo on it. ‘‘The tattoo is drawn in the form of a ‘claw’... the symbol looks really familiar too.’’
Finding the ‘claw’ tattoo on the corpse's neck looking familiar to him, like he had seen it before. Tatsumi went into deep thought before his eyes started glittery after a while, as a realization of where he had seen that familiar looking ‘claw’ down on him.
‘‘Doesn't the ‘claw’ symbol look exactly the same as those that were carved onto those trees?’’ He mumbled, and gave the tattoo another glacé, ‘‘no. I’m completely certain the symbols look exactly the same as those on the trees.’’
‘‘If that is the case, then when this person meant by me intruding, I have really intruded on their Territory ground.’’ His expression turns a little serious as he continues to mumble, ‘‘because those carved on the trees are meant to show that going further is trespassing on their forest.’’
‘‘But, aren’t these people a little extreme? Just because I accidentally trespassed on their ground, did they really have to be such a savage that they wouldn’t even talk it out and went straight to trying to kill me!’’ He said while feeling extremely unhappy.
Looking down unhappily at the corpse on the ground, he looked at it intently before his gaze wandered to the mask that the attacker was wearing. ‘‘Huh… Savage.’’