The next day was hard for everyone: Hard for Jade to accept her defeat and to come along with her aching body and her muscles, and also hard for the villager to realize, that in two days everything in their life could change drastically. In the evening, when Jade lost the battle, she was lying at the ground for hours without moving and the only life-sign was the fact that she was still breathing. The villagers tried everything to wake her up, to help her, to recover as fast as possible and when the giantess opened her eyes, they were all glad.
But beside this, some of them began to worry and thought about the words of Manar; he would return and then he would finish his job and some inhabitants of the small settlement began to think about, how big Jade's chance were in the end.
But the most important task was, to be clear that Jade would be okay and so the villagers went out in the same night to hunt some food and gathered herbs for the eldest of the village, who was a well trained healer and even if Jade was many times bigger than him; she was still built like a human and she he was able to help her, even if the amount of the herbs were much bigger than for a normal sized human. The fact that the villagers helped her so much and her own willpower and knowledge about injuries and how to manage them helped Jade to recover most of the wounds and contusions within the next day where she was sitting most of the time. But she wasn't lazy, all the time she was just sitting and recovering, she thought about what went wrong during this fight. Manar was a very skilled fighter, much more powerful than any other predator she ever fought against, but he was also something special, not only in the way like he was fighting.
A predator who would have defeated her, would have wiped out the village and killed or eaten most of the inhabitants but Manar didn't do so. He wanted to do, but it was like it seemed to be too easy for him. He was a warrior, he wanted to have a real challenge and the next meeting would be this challenge, no matter if Jade would become a better enemy or not.
After this battle one of both would be defeated and if Jade would fall, she would be dead, there was no illusion that Manar would let her survive and so she had to prepare for the next fight. She also thought about asking for help; Jora and Milly could maybe help her but she refused this thought; Manar was a warrior with honor and she wouldn't fight with dirty tricks, even if this would mean that she wouldn't survive.
During the day the eldest came to look after Jade, he was sitting down beside the giantess and stared into the sky, a long time there was silence between both of them before the eldest began to speak.
"How do you feel Jade?" he asked without looking up to her.
"I'm feeling better, the hits weren't too strong and he didn't broke me anything, even my nose seems to be still unbroken." she explained and looked down now to him. He was the one who knew Jade better than anybody else, he was the one she saved once and created the idea of founding this settlement. He was one of her best friends and it hurt to say the next words but she had to.
"You and the other, you have to leave this place. I cannot promise that I will survive the next fight and I don't want that you and the other are in danger just because of my weakness. You could head to Negav, within one or two day you can reach the city and you would be safe
and well, if I will win, I'll come to bring you back." her voice was calm while she was speaking, it was a little bizarre that she was speaking about her eventual death so easily but in this moment her biggest worry were the inhabitants.
"Yeah that would be the best choice we could make. To be honest Jade, I already talked with the inhabitants about this step and we already decided how we will go on in the next days."
The short haired giantess closed her eyes and nodded. "When will you leave?" she asked and stared into the sky too now.
"Never. Most of them voted against a escape to Negav. They all, me included, know what the consequences could be, and we have plans for the biggest emergency
but we won't leave you alone here. All the time since you've decided to protect the settlers in this small village, you were risking your life for us, you were fighting for us and sometimes you were suffering for us
so what kind of friends would we be if we would leave you in this dark hour?" Jade couldn't see his face down there but she knew the old man was smiling but Jade didn't smile.
"This is stupid, you know that. You won't help me if you all are going to die just because you want to stay with me. It is dangerous
you have to leave with them." she said insistent.
"Oh don't tell this to me Jade. They all have decided, and well, me too. And for me
well it would be an honor to die in my age while I was helping a friend who saved my life many times before." he replied and stood up and began to walk away, but before he went, he turned his head a last time. "I know that you want to be a strong and powerful woman with a hard core, Jade. But even the hardest among the hardest need friends and a source of their power. And whatever you say
this source are we all and not some huts you are defending."
He left Jade alone, the giantess was sitting there, her eyes closed and she had to fight back the tears that tried to coming up. The eldest was right, and that was the shame, Jade knew that her source could be destroyed within the next days. She didn't care about her own life; everybody had to die someday and Jade had nothing that was worth to live, beside her own principles.
She had no real family, Nina was on her own and they were too different to come along for a longer time, she had friends, yes, but they didn't need her ...she was just a strong creature in a land of predators and the end of Safe Harbor, would be the end of her willpower. And so she had to prepare for this last fight; she had to assure that she wouldn't be defeated again, and she would win this time!
The next two days Jade was away very often. Many of the inhabitants were nervous and so Isham was. He just arrived at Safe Harbor and every rational person would have left this place but he didn't and he couldn't really tell the other why. Maybe it was because of the reason that the next safe city was far away and he would have no chances on his own? Maybe because he still hoped that Milly would appear and help Jade and in the end they would be friends again? Or maybe he was just desperate and had too much trust in Jade, who knew? He decided to stay and so he did his best to prepare everything for the emergency plan, who wasn't the best but it could help in the end.
The villagers decided that, if Jade would really be defeated, they would split the inhabitants in two groups; group one would include women, children and the older villagers. The second group would be the rest and if this giant would start to come closer, the second group would do everything to distract him as long as necessary before they would start to escape too.
Everybody, Isham included, knew that many people would die during this, but also a lot would survive and so he wouldn't get everybody. The survivors would try to escape in direction of Negav; nobody spoke out loud what they thought about this route, that many predators would attack them, but it was better than just waiting to be devoured by this giant. Now they started to prepare the supplies and the other stuff and Isham sighed deeply; he was definitely at the wrong time in Safe Harbor.
The time was running, Jade trained hard, she brought her body at his borders and she trained as much as possible, but it seemed like there was not enough time for her. The days began to run and finally it was the evening of the third day. Jade was standing at exactly the same place; the border to the jungle and waited, waited for Manar, waited for this one last fight, waited for her destiny.
It took just one hour of waiting before some shapes appeared out of the jungle and the giant appeared; his chest was still free and a thin smile was lying on his lips when he looked forward into Jade's face.
"You are still here, so I was right about you. First I feared that you could have escaped but you are like me; you are a warrior
you wouldn't run like a coward."
"I'm not like you. You are still a predator, warrior or not. You want to kill these innocent behind me and so don't dare to compare both of us!" Jade said with a cold tone.
funny property you have. They are food, our kind hunt and eat them because they are created for this. It's like a food chain and if they could; they would do the same to us. But nevertheless I respect your strange way of living as long as it makes you stronger.
But after I'm finish with you, I will enjoy them all
ready to fight?" he asked calmly and Jade began to take her position and without any more words both began to fight.
This time Jade was faster than Manar. Her fist shot forward and smashed inside Manar's face. The giant grunted painful and stumbled backward, he was surprised but instead of being shocked he smiled wide. Jade didn't want to give him any chance to prepare a counter attack and so she jumped forward to swing her left fist right against his chin, but this time Manar was stronger and blocked her punch with his elbow.
It was a very fast fight, Jade was better prepared this time and Manar didn't have the same chances and possibilities he had days before. He had to walk backward while Jade was starting to attack him more and more but for Jade's surprise he didn't seem to be tired, the most time the giant was just blocking and walking backward, sometimes Jade hit him but he still seemed to be fresh. Unfortunately Jade felt how her moving became more slowly, her feet began to hurt and too late she began to realize what Manar did all the time: he just wanted her to be exhausted so that he could attack. One of the oldest tricks and she felt into it, and now it was the turn of the giant.
With one powerful strike he hit Jade's chest so strong that she had problems to breath, just a cough came over her lips and for a moment it seemed like some small light bolts began to jump around in front of her face. Now Jade had to block his attacks but he was too fast and too strong, every second punch reached her and Manar knew where he had to hit her so that her whole body began to hurt after minutes. Jade stumbled backward, losing the control over her body, before Manar gave her one last, cold smile and kicked her legs away, so that she felt to the ground, her head hit the earth and just moments later the leg was kicking inside her stomach.
From one moment to the other Jade knew she was defeated and everything was over, there was now chance for a victory anymore, her whole body was trembling, she felt weak and incapable to arise; she was defeated again and now Manar would end up her life.
The giant was standing above her and looked down. He was breathing hard and some blood was dropping from his lips. "You've fought well, Jade
but it wasn't well enough. You've lost
and it's time for you to leave this planet. But
before I'll finish you up up I'll show you what you never seemed to realize
that WE are predators and not some protectors. And so you will watch how I gather my price ..." and he began to walk toward the city.
Jade wanted to stand up, but she couldn't. She had to watch how Manar was walking toward Safe Harbor, in direction of the people she swore to protect. She knew that they would be still there, and she also knew that they had no chance. He would kill them all, in front of her eyes, and while this thought was running through her brain, an old, familiar feeling that she always tried ti ignore and forced down, was climbing up her mind. But this time, she began to welcome it.
Isham and the other men were looking at the giant who was coming closer. All the women, children and old people were standing at the other border of the village, waiting for their signal to run.
As he was looking to the giant, he had to gulp, this whole plan was suicide and he could see in the expressions of the other, they thought the same way. Tonight he would die, maybe as a hero
maybe also as one of the greatest idiots on this world. The leader of the group said something, they all prepared to run forward in direction of the giant so that the other could escape
when suddenly something appeared behind the giant with a loud scream
it was Jade.
The giantess began to grab the head of the giant and pushed him down to the ground so that he felt. Suddenly all the men began to cheer, Jade was alright and the surprising moment was on her side, but as fast they began to cheer as fast they stopped and Isham could see why. They all could see the strange expression in Jade's face, they saw how brutal and without mercy she began to hit Manar and they could also realize that something had changed
something had changed extremely.
Manar was lying at the ground, but Jade was still hitting his face. From one moment to the other it was like she faded away, but instead that everything turned black, everything became red. There was rage inside her, absolutely, brutal rage and she had to use this rage against the giant.
She raised both fist and slammed them into his face, he hit her too, but she didn't feel any strike. Then, she pulled his hair, forced him to prop up and began to push him into the direction of the jungle. Something far away inside her mind knew that she had to bring him back from the village into the jungle, not because of Manar
because of her self. With a brutal power she lifted her knee, slammed it inside his stomach and then she grabbed his head again and hit him against a tree, one, two, three, four, five times, she could feel how something wet was touching her cheek, but she ignored it.
Manar felt to the ground and Jade began to jump at him, hitting his face again and again and even after she didn't feel any resistance anymore, she didn't stop. She was filled up with some animalistic, something dark
something she felt the last time when she had destroyed this human settlement and wiped out every living soul there. No feelings of mercy, no feelings of pain, of fear or moral, there was just anger and hate and so she didn't realize that Manar was already dead, that his face wasn't anything more than a crushed mass and that his blood was covering her whole face.
She continued hitting him as long as she could, before she gave one last loud scream and felt to the ground beside him, and everything faded black now
a welcome unconsciousness.
When Jade opened her eyes, she didn't know anything. She thought she was dead, killed by Manar, but her face became pale when she looked beside and saw the deformed corpse of the dead giant. Her breath began to run, panic seemed to overrun her mind and she stood up, stumbled away from him and ran in front of safe Harbor, expecting the worst.
But the village was intact, no hut was bruning and the people were still alive. They all came to the border when they saw her and she could see two kind of expressions in everybody's face: Relief that the village was safe and the danger was gone
but also confusion and shock because of the blood that was covering her face and some parts of her chest. They were all silent and stared at her, until the eldest stepped forward and was looking up to her. Nobody said a word until he looked up.
"No matter what happened with you yesterday night Jade. We owe you our life
thank you." and then he turned around and walked inside the village, the other were still staring at her, some began to smile a little insecure, other nodded to Jade, other where just silent and walked away.
The next days the life in safe Harbor went back to normal, but Jade was missing very often. The inhabitants knew that she was close to the village but she avoided the villagers. She was sitting at the border of Safe Harbor and stared at her hands. The inhabitants were still trusting her, everybody assured her this but they had seen what was sleeping inside her
what was sleeping inside every giant or giantess.
They didn't fear that it would come back
but Jade did. The emotion that she always tried to prevent saved her life, saved the lives of the villagers
but for what price? It was like the day when she woke up in a small lake of blood, years ago
when she realized that she had done something, that she would never do. And like at this day, she suddenly felt alone and helpless.