Healing Arrow

By: Narumi Hartandi

Scarlet used to be a famous archer on the healer village. She was the one who broke a stereotype in the continent that a healer’s ability was to only use magic wand or read a sacred book. But everything changed one day.

Scarlet was sitting under a big tree, while enjoying the evening breeze. She always came here to calm herself every time she felt down or about to cry. She almost fell asleep by the passing spring breeze when suddenly a strange scream shocked her. She stood up at once.

“Althea…” She thought.

Scarlet ran while thinking about any bad thoughts what will her see after she arrived at the village. Right before she passed a last tree before entering the village, she decided to hide and watch an unwanted event beyond her eyes

“Who are they?”

A group of weird soldiers wearing red armor could be seen anywhere. They brought torch with threw them it to the houses making the inhabitants came out from the houses. But when they got out, every menwere slayed on the spot and every women were being dragged right away. The stained of the blood on the soldier’s sword made all the girls shout in fear, especially kids.

The fire was dancing along with the strong wind that suddenly blew from the south. It was dancing from one house to another,burning all the village houses at once a few seconds later.

“Let me go! Leave me alone!”

A familiar voice and the one whom Scarlet was looking for finally spotted. A little girl who was wearing a yellow robe was being dragged with three soldiers at once.

“Althea!”

Scarlet shouted and ran to save her sister but a big soldier blocked her way and swung his sword right away to her. She jumped aback in shock avoiding the attack.

“Scarlet! Please save me!”

“Althea!”

She rantrying to avoid the big soldier in front of her and reached the little girl but unfortunately she got another block by another big soldier.

Geez... What should I do?

While Scarlet was thinking really hard, the little girl already thrown to a cage on a carriage with many other women.

“NO! ALTHEA!” Scarlet tried reaching out to her.

“Sister! Run!”

Althea realized that the two big soldiers tried to get her sister too. Scarlet kept trying to reach the cage where Althea and the other women were entrapped.

“Scarlet! Run! You should survive!”

“No, I don’t want to be alone! Don’t leave me alone! Please wait, Althea. I’ll save you!”

“Scarlet! Please survive!”

Althea cried as she saw her sister got farther and farther. Scarlet looked at the moving carriage and suddenly ran to it, but was blocked by the soldiers got surrounded.

“NO!”

The carriage left the village and entered the forest. Scarlet tears started to fall down and her feet had lost their strength to help her stand up. A nearby soldier seized the opportunity to swing his sword to Scarlet. Scarlet didn’t even notice the situation and slowly close her teary eyes without care about what would happen next.

A sound of gun being triggered and a falling soldier made Scarlet open her eyes in shocked. Raining bullets came from nowhere and stroke right through the armor, killing whoever behind it instantly. Scarlet got down on her knees and put her head on the ground, praying for her life.

But one managed to her. Luckily, a boy who appeared from nowhere saved her with his shield. The boy looked at her. He was about to say something to her but he cancelled it and focused on protecting her with his shield first.

She looked familiar somehow… Is she that archer girl…? He thought.

~

The raining bullets stopped, leaving dead bodies lying on the ground. A group of people with cowboy look took off the armor from the corpses and threw it to a carriage, while at the same time stacking the bodies burned them.

Scarlet looked around the broken village with a little hope that there would be other survivors than her. The boy from before followed Scarlet from behind.

”Why are you following me? I don’t even know who you are and what you want.”

Scarlet turned around and looked at that boy eyes. Scarlet’s eyes were both red, her face was pale, and she looked really weak although her gaze was really strong in anger.

“Don’t be mad. I’m here to help you.”

“Huh? Help me?”

Scarlet didn’t trust the boy’s word or maybe she decided to not believe any word from stranger. She leered at the boy carefully, cowboy style boy with a big shield on his left hand looked really weird to Scarlet.

“Hey, Andreas! We found a sacred bow here!”

A cowboy man swung around a bow with an elegant bee color pattern so that boy, Andreas,could see the thing. Scarlet got angry suddenly, ran to him, and took it by force from his hand.

“You shouldn’t swing this bow like a toy. This is a sacred bow, stupid!” She shouted angrily which made the man a little bit mad.

“What did you say? How dare you call me stupid, young girl!”

“Whoa! Easy man!” Andreas stood between them at once and tried to calm the man.

“She was just upset about your action. No hard feelings, okay?”

The man took a deep breath and threw the bow to Scarlet and left them,still angry. Andreas looked at Scarlet who in rush to catch the bow. Scarlet looked at the bow with no expression. While Andreas was walking toward Scarlet, she suddenly threw the bow and run to the forest.

“Hey! Wait up!”

Andreas picked up the bow and followed Scarlet to the forest. Scarlet ran faster than Andreas expected. Her sight vanished from his sight in just a few steps ahead.

“Hey! Where are you?”

Andreas shouted while look around as he took a few step deeper to the forest.

“Anyway, are you Scarlet?”

“How did you know my name?”Scarlet’s voice echoed but Andreas couldn’t find her.

“Don’t you remember me? We went to a same archery and gunner school in my village. 10 years ago.”

“No, I didn’t. And I don’t want to remember anything about archery.”

“But why..?”

Scarlet didn’t answer Andreas’s question and got him impatient. He then took his gun from his pocket and shot randomlyat the branches. A tree branch was falling down with Scarlet who was hiding on that branch.

“How did you know that I was there? You could just kill me if you shot at wrong direction.”

Scarlet complained but Andreas ignored it. He approached Scarlet and put the bow on her lap. Scarlet’s face looked pale suddenly and she threw the bow back to Andreas.

“Why you are angry when someone swings it but you’re scared to hold it yourself?”

Scarlet didn’t give any answer to Andreas. Andreas demanded her answer and asking her again for a few times more. Scarlet suddenly felt angry and stood up immediately.

“Just leave me alone!”

Scarlet turned around and was shocked when she saw a big guy blocking her way. That big guy was smiling somehow creepily which scared Scarlet.

“Take her, Geuman. We should go back now and give her a treatment.”

Andreas gave a command to that big guy. Scarlet didn’t move or made any movement because of the shock, makin it easier for the big guy to drag her away with him. She even didn’t complain when he took her with him.

The big guy walked in front of Andreas to gather with the others. Andreas took the bow with him. He believed that there must be something wrong with Scarlet. He remembered it clearly that Scarlet loved archery back when they were students together.

On his way back to his village, he glanced at Scarlet in opposite carriage through his carriage window. The carriage was made from rattan and designated only for one person who could enter it. From the window, Andreas can see a sad gaze from Scarlet’s eyes and somehow looked stress.

“What happened to you, Scarlet?”

*

They arrived at the village in the evening. It was located south of Scarlet’s village, which had burned down by the fire. Scarlet was given a room at the chief’s house to take a rest while Andreas went to the see the chief on the other house. He requested someone to guard Scarlet’s room and gave him any report should anything happen from the room.

The chief was meditating in a room with several candles surrounding him. Andreas shook his head when he entered the room and took a seat near a candle in front of the chief.

“I’m glad you’re back in one piece, Andreas.”

The chief opened his eyes and looked at Andreas straight to his eyes which shocked Andreas. Andreas cleared his throat and started to reply chief words.

“Any survivor left?”

“Yes, but only one and it is Scarlet.”

“Oh, well how’s she?”

“Well…”

“Is she still scared to use her bow?”

“How did you know that she scared to use her bow?”

The chief stayed silent for a few minutes. He then asked to give Scarlet’s bow to him. Unfortunately, Andreas leave the bow on Scarlet’s room before he came.

“It all happened around three years ago in the forest. Scarlet’s mother went alone to the forest in search for fruits and herbs to make medicine. After knowing that her mother went alone to the forest, Scarlet pursued her mother with her bow on her side because at that time there were many wild and dangerous bears wandered around.”

Andreas started to think random things about any event that may lead to Scarlet’s condition now. The chief frowned when he looked to Andreas’s serious expression.

“Don’t make any assumption before I finish my story.”

Andreas chuckled and apologized at once. “Why don’t you continue it then?”

“I’ll shorten it. So, when she finally caught up her mother by swinging from branches to branches, she saw that her mother was surrounded by 2 bears. She decided to kill one of the bear with the arrow while she planned to scare the other bear afterwards with another arrow. Unfortunately, everything went differently from her plan. She stepped on a small leaf which made a crack sound. The bear noticed her position and approached the tree she hid behind. She tried to focus her shot to the other bear near her mother. But when she was about to release the arrow, the tree where she hid suddenly shook by the bear’simpact and made her miss her shot.”

There was a moment of silent after the chief decided to not continue his story. Andreas seemed already know about what happen next to her and her mother.

“But chief, this time she needs to overcome it and save her sister.”

“You should make her use her bow again then.”

Andreas started to think what will he did to Scarlet. “There must be some way to make her use her bow again.” He mumbled to himself. “I know!”

Andreas stood up and left the house without saying anything or even told the chief about his plan to overcome Scarlet’s fear. The chief only shook his head and started to meditate again.

*

“Why did you bring me here?”

Scarlet and Andreas were on the shooting practice ground on a school. Andreas able to dragged Scarlet by the help of the big guy who dragged Scarlet before. The shooting practice ground has 10 dummies with different ranges on each dummy from the shooting position,ranging from 100 m to 1000 m.

Andreas gave the bow to Scarlet but Scarlet refuse to take it. Andreas tried to make Scarlet took it but failed. So, he decided to show Scarlet how he did it with his own gun. He took the gun from his right pocket and aimed his gun to a dummy with range of 500 m.

“Watch this.”

He pulled the trigger and a gold bullet went straight through the dummies body.He put his gun back to the pocket afterwards. Scarlet’s eyes were wide opened as she looked at the event.

“Now, it’s your turn. You can use the bow and arrow for practice—Hey, wait up!”

Scarlet suddenly ran leaving the practice ground before she even tried it. Andreas followed her and successfullyheld her hand before she went too far. Scarlet was crying and hid her face from Andreas.

“Why did you cry? I only asked you to shot an arrow with your bow.”

Scarlet didn’t answer at the first call. After Andreas repeated his word, Scarlet gave him a strong gaze and shouted to him.

“You don’t understand how I feel! Why did you push me to use that killing tool again? I don’t want to kill anyone anymore!”

The moment turned silent. Andreas stayed silent for awhile so he could hear Scarlet’s sob. A river of tears flowed more intense than before. She avoided Andreas’s face and tried to get free from Andreas gripped.

“I know it must be hard for you to hold that bow again, Scarlet, but remember that you should save your sister. She’s the only family you have now.”

“But I…I can’t”

“I know you can, Scarlet. You just need another practice.”

Andreas tried to build Scarlet’s self-esteem so that she could have a little courage to use her bow again. Because in his memory, he knew that Scarlet really loved archery in the past and always won against him in every competition, even when he was with a gun. So when he saw Scarlet looked like, it somehow made him sad.

“So, do you want to try practicing with bow again, Scarlet?”

Scarlet stayed silent which seemed that she currently thinking and tried to gather up her courage and time to stand strong.

“I don’t think I can do this again, Andreas. I’m sorry…”

Andreas loosened his grip and let Scarlet went away. After Scarlet disappeared from his sight, Andreas took the bow with him and went to his room to write a small note to Scarlet. Afterward, he put the paper on the bow and put it down in front of Scarlet’s room. He even didn’t let the guard to give it to Scarlet, he wanted Scarlet to take it herself.

To Scarlet,

I’ll help you overcome your fear so you can use your bow again. I give you three days to meet me on the shooting practice ground, after three days I’ll leave the village and march toward enemy to save your sister and other villager. I hope you will think about it if you want to save your sister.

Andreas

*

The next day, Scarlet woke up early in the morning and went to start the day by taking a bath, afterwards she chose a red robe that attracted her. She was planning to explore the village and relieve her stress for awhile. When she opened her room door, her bow fell to the ground and made her shock a little. She took a step from her bow and took it with her although she seemed unsure to take it before. She didn’t realize that there was a note on the bow. So when the bow fell down, it fell away somewhere.

Meanwhile, Andreas was waiting for her with his red and brown uniform at the shooting practice ground. He waited from the sun rise until the sun was at the top.

“Why isn’t she coming? Is she still avoidingme?”

He mumbled to himself and later he left the place in disappointment. The same also happened in the next day and the third day.

At the night of the third day, when Scarlet was asleep, she dreamt the day she shot her arrow to the bear. In her dream, she shot the arrow to the bear successfully and was able to save her mother. But when she climbed down the tree and approached her mother, her mother appearance turned into her sister, Althea.

“Thank you sis,”

Althea looked really cheerful. When Scarlet was about to hug her, she woke up from her dream and greeted by the sun light that went through from the window. She looked around and noticed there was a mannequin dress with blue armor also a bag of iron arrows near it. On the bag, there was a note which looked like from Andreas.

“I’ll lead a big troop to save your acquaintance and you sister. I’m off already, but I’ll be waiting for you on the battlefield.”

“Should I go or not?” She mumbled while thinking her decision. She remembered the dream. It seemed that it was a hint for her to go back to archery to save her sister. But at the same time she also felt scared that she would have the same mistake like what happened to her mother.

While she was thinking, someone knocked her room door and it was the chief. Scarlet let him in and told him about her dream last night.

“It was a sign for you to take a move. Try to take it as an opportunity to rise again, Scarlet.”

He was smiling while talking like that, Scarlet still looked confused and scared.

“Will it be alright for my mother?”

“Of course, she will be really proud of you if you save your sister.”

A moment of silent was passing them by.

“I’ll prepare your food and horse. If you failed to save her, I’ll let you decide your next step.”

The chief slowly walked and went away to prepare Scarlet’s need. On the other hand, Scarlet looked to her bow near the dresser. She walked and took the bow with her shaking hand. A few seconds later, she gripped her bow as tight as she thought of her sister.

“I’ll save you, Althea.”

*

Scarlet moved fast like a blowing wind passing a forest. The bag felt heavier with the iron arrows in it. She stopped at almost the end of the forest, reading the situation and tried to catch up with the atmosphere.

Scarlet arrived at the front of the wall that surrounded the city. The battle had started and it was chaotic. She moved past a lot of bodies while entering the city. She tried to reach the main tower in the center of the city.

When she tried entering the city, several soldiers blocked her way. From her range, she began to shoot her arrows bravely.

“For Althea!”

Her cry was caught Andreas attention which was already in front of the main tower. “She’s back!”

Andreas got excited and began to fire his spirit more. “Charge!” He shouted while

running charge inside the tower with the other troop.

“We’re almost there!”

Scarlet finally gather with Andreas and the other troops. When they were entering the

main room inside the tower, a mass number of troops welcoming them and blood party started. Andreas covered Scarlet from every attack as they searched for Althea. After a while, they able to located Althea but when they tried to get closer the boss was dragging Althea away from them. Several troops blocked their way.

“Althea!”

“Sis!”

“Oh! what a sweet reunion.”

“Let her go or I’ll shoot you!” Scarlet pointed an arrow to him.

The boss laughed hard. “Have you overcome your fear, little girl?” He mocked her.

“Shoot him, sis! I know you can!”

Unlike the past, now she was able to focus pointing the arrow thanks to Andreas and his troops. Scarlet’s arrow blasted into the boss’ head and it burst out his brain. Althea escaped at once and run towards Scarlet. Then she opened tie around Althea and got a hug right afterward. “I’m proud of you, sis.” Althea whispered.

“We won!” Andreas shouted right after the boss fell down. The troops shouted happily with their victory.

*

A few days later, Scarlet and Althea went to their mother’s grave. Althea brought some daisies while Scarlet brought her archery equipment along.

“Mother, I’m sorry I go back to archery again. But I hope that you will understand. From now, I’ll practice hard to prevent any mistake in the future.”

A few minute later, they went away to back to their own village. To help the other villagers build back their village and continue their lives. Scarlet decided to teach some healer about archery so they can attack and defense at the same time.

-End-