It was possible to theorise that Elegancus’ abandonment of Hime at age ten, leaving her to tread the world alone and swim to mainland, led to the growing development of her senseless regard for cruelty; a sadistic side soon began to blossom (and with it, a fear of water). Recently, Hime had been assigned to a mission to kill the well-known baker of a small village. The kind of infiltration and deceptive methods she had used hadn’t been necessary, but she went through the process regardless. But all things must come to an end, and now it was time to get the job done.
"You’re ridiculous! Did you actually think I was your daughter?" Hime snorted, her black hair fading to its normal peachy auburn, her eyes darkening to that regular red.
Y-you’re insane, the man gritted out, clenching his teeth. He struggled to tear his shirt above where fire was creeping slowly. The flames were much too slow, in fact, to be real fire on a perfectly dry cotton shirt; such would have eaten up the thing like crazy. No, Hime’s flames possessed a magical prowess. They’d move elegantly to her every whim and command, dancing with each whip of her tongue like a lion would respond to the circus master's call. After hitting the baker with one fireball, she’d had a medium to work with directly touching his body.
The idea of flames, their destructive energy, enchanting glare and alluring glow. That’s how an average man would see the powerful bolts of rippling red. Hime, on the other hand, looked upon them with a new light. She saw flames beyond their appearance; she idealized them as the flames of truth, the destroyers of lies and the concealers of crimes. Any shadows they’d cast and the light it’d control were tools of her trade to disguise herself when necessary, and even if not.
Her relationship with fire gave her great freedom when considering how to approach an opponent. If she was to fight as a result of an order, Hime might be inclined to dissipate more of her smoke and mirrors to go for the speediest route. This battle though was a perfectly enjoyable one for her. When the man was busy dealing with the fire on him, she sprinted closer with tendrils of conflagration curling up in her wake. Finally she snapped her arm out parallel to her racing body-- flames blanketed her arm, a flickering veil of destructive energy.
All of a sudden she jolted to a halt right beside the man, kneeing him in the side of his ribs sharply while he was busy half putting out the fire on his shirt and half trying to follow her with his eyes. Expressionless, she swiveled and with a backhanded motion struck her blazing appendage across his chest, sending the man hurtling to the ground.
A quick glance to the man on the ground showed that though his chest was seared underneath the fabric of his white T-shirt, he was still breathing. Struggling to do so, but his lungs were certainly heaving and grasping for oxygen. There seemed to be no time to finish him off, because other merchants and storekeepers were approaching. Their knees brushed against tongues of flame and came away pristine; the wide circle of flames that Hime had set around the battle earlier were nothing but an illusion.
You’re a little late to the party, she was tempted to say, but as soon as the first word was out one of the on-comers, a burly butcher, hurtled a cleaver towards her face.
With a twist of her head the girl watched it careen by, and she let out a low wolf whistle. After Hime had turned back to face the now empty handed man, she smiled. She had learned that whistle courtesy of a member of her new guild, but as much as she longed to inform all these strangers of that, it was unnecessary. This fight was delaying her departure and eating up prospective shopping time in the center on the route home.
One of her boots abruptly stomped down on the arm of the injured baker, pinning him in place. The fool had been trying to slide away seamlessly through the grass.
"Fire Dragon’s Serpent!" she screamed suddenly, the sound echoing barely against the natural insulators of the long grass and nearby woody trunks and branches of trees. It was loud enough for those approaching to take a pause to wince. A few of them stopped for even longer to stare at the pointed fangs visible poking out from Hime's gums.
But even just a single open second was long enough for a snake to twist into life from flames, coils billowing out from her fingertips like she was weaving them into being. The viper snarled at Hime, and she flattened her lips before abruptly hitting it across the face. The stupid thing was part of her own magic, but it still managed to act rebellious.
"Fire Dragon’s Serpent Strike," she hissed, the edge of her mouth perking up into a smirk as the snake reared its head and then dove for the baker’s neck, eyes glowing, skin smoldering, and fangs trailing furious flames.