He was a warrior on a hunt while she was a damsel on a run.
It all started in a daze. She felt someone pursuing her a moment until she was caught up in the web of the dense forest, lost deep into the heart of it the more she tried to search for an exit. The sun was setting faster than she had keep track of, adding in the tension in her heart. Sakura then stopped by a tree. A hand rested on the bark of the tree while huffing for air after hours of running and escaping.
Tears threatened to spill from the lids of her eyes but she wiped it away stubbornly, refusing to give up her attempt just yet. She wanted to shout out for her friends so badly, in hope of reaching out for them but was refrained from doing so. Sakura might attract unwanted attention from her assailant whom had an upper-hand of understanding the maze of the forest more than she did.
‘Why?’ her mind rang through her head like a chant. ‘Why me?’
Sakura was on her weekly visit to the outskirts of the forest to pick on some herbs when she saw glimpses of dark silhouette approaching her. At first she thought it to be one of her friends until the glint of weapon caught the corner of her eyes. That was when she had started running away. She was alone that morning despite her blonde best friend, Ino’s, advice of searching for the required herbs together. Sakura simply brush it off since the girl was held busy with her own things just for a company. Hence, she ended up sneaking away from Ino, alone.
For the time being, she felt regret to have been here at the first place. If only she could shed off her stubbornness and hear out Ino even for once, things wouldn’t turn out to be such a disaster. Well, she’s not giving up any sooner but the deep hue of orange that paints the sky drown her determination away within seconds.
Suddenly, Sakura heard a loud grunt not far from her position. She crouched down on her knees to hide behind a bush, not minding her now torn-hem of dress. Nothing beats surviving now. Clashes of metal resonated the thin air, sending chills down her spine instantly. As the sound went closer, she spotted two figures, battling. Two men clad in black were glaring off each other as their swords continue to penetrate through the other’s defence. One had his face hidden under a mask while the other wasn’t. What caught her attention the most was the pair of crimson eyes that were focused on his opponent, as if reading his every move.
Those eyes then met hers, making the girl startle despite their distance. As if it was some kind of warning, she felt a swift object moved across her, missing her head only in mere inches in the process. She glanced up only to see it was an arrow aimed at her from the trees. She watched closely as the tip of the arrow melted along with the thick bark. Poison. Another figure in dark stared down at her from the trees. There’s no mistaking it. He caught up with her again in their little fatal game of tag since hours ago.
In the midst of the sound of clashing of swords, Sakura risked herself being spotted by the other two potential enemy in order to hide away from the archer above her. It was one of those do or die time. Sakura ran aimlessly forward only to be stopped at her tips as an overlooking cliff displayed before her. She was about to run towards the other direction when the archer landed in front of her, pulling a long sword. Speaking of masks, the archer was wearing a similar one too.
Her mind had dawned that the archer wasn’t alone as another masked-figure emerged from the shadows. Like a cornered mice, she stepped backwards slowly, one step and another closer to the shaky cliff. Her breath hitched every time she inhaled, eyes brimmed with tears of despair. Hands clutched on her stomach as the cold breeze blew behind her, her pink tresses blew across her pale face.
Both men stopped proceeding when they’re just a few feet away from Sakura while the girl only had a few centimetres until the eternal drop. Her emerald eyes looked at them cautiously, awaiting for their next move.
“Your choice, to surrender and come with us or walk off the cliff by yourself.” The archer spoke, his eyes sparked with cruelty.
Sakura furrowed her brows in deep thoughts. She couldn’t fathom the reason behind all this, what more their need of capturing her alive. She didn’t worth anything as far as she could think of.
“Or we’ll take you away eventually.” The other one taunted.
Her voice betrayed her or maybe the fact that her mind was too loaded with thoughts that it had failed to even mutter a word. An exasperated sigh escaped her lips, hand still clutched to herself tightly.
‘This is it. The end of my tale, my life.’ Her thoughts whispered in a ghostly tone. She has come to a decision that will benefit all. Save herself from being a tool to claim ransom from her friends and family and also to avoid herself from being forced to betray her own kingdom in the case where these masked men were the minions of the enemy kingdom. Yes, this is indeed the best decision she could came out for now.
Gulping hard, she took a large daring step backwards which had startled those men. They passed themselves a knowing look before dashing towards her. She quickened her steps backwards in a futile attempt to throw herself off the cliff and away from those filthy hands that reached out for her.
In just a blink of an eye, an arrow penetrated the archer from behind. Hence, sending him down before he could reach Sakura. The other was startled by that act as he turned back and fought another man. Awe-struck, Sakura recognised her saviour to be the man with crimson eyes earlier. There was something about his look that had carved in her mind even if she had just seen him twice today. And those two moments were a close call to her life.
She tiptoed forward to walk away from the cliff. Unfortunately, the impact from the fight between the two caused the cliff to crumble beneath Sakura’s feet. She managed a forward jump and caught an iron-grip upon the sharp rocky edge with only her right hand. A loud grunt was sounded from the dangling damsel in distress. As much as she hated that idea, she was pretty much literally in distress.
Her grip loosened drastically as gravity takes over her weight that will send her down into those rocks below. She reached for the edge with her other hand, trying to climb up by herself but the pieces on her right hand started to crumble into dust like the ones earlier. Without warning, her right hand dangled beside her helplessly. Her nails were bleeding but that was the least of her concern.
As much as she wanted to grip on the edge with both her hands, the other was still in pain. She was left with nothing but to depend on her left one as her life was bound to it. But it too crushed under pressure and she fell.
Shock overwhelmed her being as she shifted from a free fall and stopped drastically when a pair of strong hands grabbed hers. She looked up with wide eyes as the said saviour pulled her up into solid ground. Sakura landed atop of him wordlessly, still too shocked and dazed to speak. She observed at the onyx orbs that were flashing crimson before. It was the same pair of eyes and yet it held so many unspoken words at different times.
“Stop trying to endanger your own life.” His baritone voice shook Sakura off her train of thoughts as she blinked away harshly.
Finally realising their position, Sakura got up immediately, muttering apologies along with it. “Thank you. For saving my life.” She said in a low voice.
The two looked around, both looking out for different things. He suspected the surrounding to ensure safety while Sakura kept on staring at the two corpses that littered around them. The other that fought with him earlier might be as good as dead too. Being the medic she was, Sakura observed the man before him. Listing one after another wounds on his limbs and body. What caught her attention the most was his left hand.
“You’re poisoned!” she exclaimed as she shifted to sit next to him. The tips of his fingers were bleeding blue and cold as ice. “Two hours since contact. Do you feel anything?” Her confidence caused him to stare at her before shaking his head slightly.
“You’re a medic, aren’t you?” she glanced up at him and nodded.
She suspected his arm carefully to find the source of poison and found one at the lower arm in the form of sword-cut wound. Pulling off the ribbon that held her hair in place, she started to tie it tightly on his upper arm.
“I need a knife.” Sasuke stared at her for a while before passing her his sword only see her cringe. “Um, something smaller?”
Much to her annoyance, he smirked before reaching out for a dagger from the side of his boots. Sighing, Sakura reached out gladly and started to cut the tip of his fingers to release the poison through the flow of blood. Reaching from a pouch at the back of her waist, she pulled out an ointment and started to brush lightly upon it. Sakura kept a wary eye on him as she continued to treat his wound.
“It’s alright to grunt if you’re in pain.” She stated matter-of-factly, keeping herself from giggling at him for resisting the pain.
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Hn.”
Sakura continued to tend his wounds wordlessly, not realising that the warrior himself kept on staring at her. She caught him by her glances awkwardly before she has the urge to break the thickening silence.
“I’m Sakura.” She introduced in hope of starting a conversation.
“Sasuke.” he replied with his usual cool façade. “You don’t simply introduce yourself so easily to strangers.”
Sakura furrowed her brows. “You might be a stranger to me but you’re my saviour, too. So, why can’t we just acknowledge one another?”
There was a short silence between the two. “Because I am the first person you should avoid.” He looked right at her. “Especially someone from the enemy kingdom.”
She understood it immediately, the conflict between the kingdoms of Senju and Uchiha that goes for ages. So, it seemed that Sasuke had noticed where she was from.
Sakura smiled a little. “So, you’re indeed from Uchiha then. Should’ve notice the hilt of your sword and armour.” She shook her head a little. “Still, you’re just another person who needs to be treated from poison immediately.”
“I mean it. You shouldn’t meet me here.” He pointed out further.
She huffed a sigh. “At least let me try my best to heal these wounds before chasing me away, Sasuke. Just take it as my way of gratitude.” She flashed him a smile before turning back to another slashed-wound on the other side of his arm. His name came out easily from her.
“I am corrupted soul, Sa-ku-ra.” He warned, causing a pair of emerald eyes to meet his onyx ones.
She nodded tentatively with a sigh. “Deep inside everyone’s hearts, there lay a restless demon whom waits patiently for the right time to strike at your most vulnerable points in your life. I, myself, included. I don’t think one should judge you based on that.”
Sasuke stared off for a while, a part of him was awed by what Sakura had just stated. A small smile graced his lips. That’s a first for a mere stranger to say something like that towards him along his seventeen years of age. Sakura took the silence as a chance to glance up at him only to be astonished by his rare smile in which made her heart skip a beat in return.
He looked at her, with a more relaxed expression. “Nothing ever drives you away even with me being the soul of all evil, does it?”
“Nope.” She answered spontaneously with an innocent smile.
She only hummed in response with a tinge of satisfaction.
The two walked in the dark towards the outskirts of the forest in means of sending Sakura off, with Sasuke leading the way. She noted that he knew the forest well and seemed to have a good sight judging by him not tripping over branches from time to time like she did. Sasuke would pull her by the arm to keep her from falling. At intervals of time, Sakura would discern the similar crimson glow from his eyes.
They continued to walk in silence when the sound of footsteps approached their hearing. In a quick movement, Sasuke pulled Sakura into hiding behind one of the trees. Peeking sideways, they saw fire torches not far away. Suspense arose until familiar faces greeted Sakura’s sight.
“Sakura!” a deep voice called and she immediately turned to Sasuke who stared back at her in confusion.
“They’re here for me. You better go now.” Sakura stated.
He hesitated for a while. “Are you sure?”
Sakura nodded with a beam. “Thank you. I had no idea how I could survive all that if you hadn’t showed up.”
Their small parting conversation was cut short when another voice calling out for Sakura draws closer. Sasuke suddenly knocked her shoulder hard, render Sakura unconscious. He laid her down with her back against the tree, ensuring her search party to find her.
Sasuke then leant to her ear and whispered. “Thank you, Sakura.”
He stared at her serene features for awhile before disappearing into the woods.
Sakura grunted awake, noticing the blonde next to her. It was Ino.
“Where did you wander off to?” she exclaimed angrily at her, blue eyes flashed with deep concern. Sakura smiled in return. “We were worried sick for the whole day!”
“The usual. I’m sorry.” Sakura’s voice sounded hoarse. “How did I end up here?”
“Naruto found you by a tree. Thankfully you’re alright.” The blonde grasped both her hands tightly. Sakura nodded. “Were you attacked?”
She pondered a while before answering it with a quick nod, earning a wide-eyed Ino. “But I’m alright now.”
Ino heaved a relieved sigh as Sakura smiled in assurance. Her mind was hazy but a part of her kept on wandering back to the incident. She was puzzled by Sasuke’s act but then she figured that he couldn’t risk himself being exposed.
‘Thank you.’ Sakura closed her eyes as those words chimed in her head. His voice sounded crystal clear.
Sakura heaved a deep sigh, no matter how corrupted he is, Sasuke was always her saviour.
A/N: My first attempt on a medieval-themed fiction and I hoped you liked it.
P.S.: For Fanfiction.net readers that were following Saviour, this story will be the same as the one posted in Fanfiction.net under the same author (Callester) but instead of posting there, I will continue the rest of the story here. Sorry for the trouble as well as the long wait and thank you for your patience. :)
- Callester -