Art Shadow

"Art is everything. Everything is art. Especially in the quiet village hidden on the border of the Land of Fire." ***Thanking C.H. Cover Store!***

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1. Prologue

A/N: Whoops, accidentally deleted this one... forgot that this was in a list... hehe~

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She looked up at her husband with pleading eyes. She was fading fast. She held up her hand to him and he clasped it. He saw that the light in her eyes were slowly dying, and her raven hair was plastered to her sweaty face. She screamed. Her nails dug into her hand so hard it broke his skin, and his blood trickled down his hand. Then she went limp. "Sachiko," he said, his voice nothing more than a strangled whisper.

"You..." came her voice, drawn in ragged breaths. He started crying. Only a baby's wailing brought him to his senses. "You..."

The nurse brought his child over. "Atokage-sama, your child is a girl. She is healthy," she reported.

He grasped his wife's hand. "It's a girl, Sachiko." He cried, both with happiness and sadness.

"You..." she said for the third time, "you must... look after her... our Ayano..." she said, struggling for breath.

He nodded urgently. "I will. I promise." She strained to smile. "Thank... you... Toshiro..." she took one final, ragged breath before going limp, the last bit of life draining from her purple eyes.

"I promise," he whispered to his dead wife. He let go of her hand and turned to the nurses who had his daughter. "Give me my child," he demanded. "I need to see her."

They hesitated. "Atokage-sama,” one of them began, "there's... a problem."

"What?!" he roared. "How dare you say that there's a problem with my child?"

"Atokage-sama, please," another nurse insisted. "Because Sachiko-sama wasn't strong when she gave birth, the..." she trailed off. Toshiro's eyes flared. The paint on the nearest wall began to slowly drip, melting like ice in the sun. The nurse's eyes grew wide with fear and she hurried on. "Ayano-sama does not have the genes to use the Art Technique," she blurted out.

Toshiro sagged and all the paint on the wall splashed down onto the floor. "Give me my daughter," he said weakly. The nurse holding her hesitated, before carefully holding out his daughter to him. He took her, and looked in her eyes. They were wide, and curious. She had stopped wailing. Her left eye was a beautiful aqua, and her right was a bright turquoise. Like him and his ancestors before him, she had the two differently-coloured eyes; one of his was bright green, the other brown. She reached out to touch his cheek, and he held her tiny hand in his own. "She must never know," he managed to say. "We will put off telling her for a long as possible. I do not want her feeling like a failure. She must not know!" He raised his voice. "This stays strictly with the people in this room, am I understood?" The nurses nodded weakly. He nodded and looked down at his daughter, not knowing that she dis not possess the one thing that made her who she was. He would protect her, his little Ayano.

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